God’s ways, when necessary, lead us into a state of “uncertainty” within our journey of faith. Uncertainty in this setting is a positive condition! God at times “shakes” up His faithful saints to keep them from getting into a spiritual “rut.” All quotations are from Oswald Chamber’s devotional April 29 “Gracious Uncertainty” https://utmost.org/gracious-uncertainty/
Why we get set into “certain” ways and patterns? Why God will disrupt this tendency?
The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is one long account of how that God graciously reaches out to lost humanity. God’s grace, mercy, and unmerited choosing of Noah, Abraham, the Judges, later King David and his descendants, the Prophets, etc. reveal much about God’s ways. In reading through the Old Testament, it’s obvious that when a person encounters God there is change. Abraham is a good example. First, God calls him then later establishes a covenant with him. Abraham’s faith grows as he walks with God and his understanding of God’s ways also change. Toward the end of his journey, God gives him the ultimate test: his son Isaac the promised child. Will Abraham trust God and obey?
God brought about this “test” or trial in order to move Abraham forward in his journey. God will likewise surprise us in how He works and moves within our lives! Oswald Chambers talks about the journey of faith and warns us about getting too certain with God. He rightly points out that we tend to apply common sense to our relationship/understanding of God instead of letting faith guide us.
Chambers tells us:
“Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation.”
God doesn’t leave us in one place in our journey of faith. A journey of faith is dynamic not static! Our ideas about God aren’t big enough to describe or understand Him! Our journey of faith involves an element of unknown. We never know what tomorrow will bring! He desires that we move closer to Him ultimately becoming more like Jesus our Perfect Example. Each insert below is a direct quotation.
Modern Americans tend to be good at setting goals! Not that it’s inherently wrong to make goals and plans to achieve them in life, but in the spiritual journey it’s not wise. Why is this true? We as finite creatures can’t see the big picture or completely understand God. We tend to set goals based on a.) what others are doing or b.) what we want to do ourselves. What if our ways aren’t God’s ways?
We set ourselves up for failure, disappointment, and anger with God because we want something that is inherently good, but not the right time according to God’s Perfect Timing. What if we want the right things, but desire these things more than the Giver of All Good Gifts? Do we love the blessings more than our Heavenly Father who gives them abundantly?
Our sinful, selfish nature is always at work trying to lead us astray! The journey with God must be directed by God, His Living Word, and Holy Spirit. God will guide the desires of our hearts, but it’s up to Him to fulfill them–not our plans or goal strategies!
Consider how God’s promises can impact a person. Abram becomes Abraham. He has to leave his comfortable city and become a nomad in his old age! Consider young David when the Prophet Samuel comes and anoints him. He is no longer just a shepherd boy! There are numerous examples in God’s Living Word in both Old and New Testaments. The one common thing is that things don’t go as the recipients expected! Abram faced famine and multiple challenges. Saul viciously pursues David. The Disciples were disappointed and discouraged on Good Friday and confused on Sunday!
What is certain? God’s faithfulness. Even when we can’t understand the whys and hows we know that God’s nature is consistent. God doesn’t need to learn anything or “figure” something out. He already knows and acts according to His plans set from eternity! That’s the essence of faith, trusting and obeying when we can’t see with our frail human eyes.
God is our Refuge and Rock. He is the firm foundation that we can build our lives upon. Unlike the sinking sand of this world and it’s passing foolishness, we can be assured that God will accomplish His purposes/will. Faith is a journey of small steps! God graciously directs our path! Here’s a good reading on what God is my rock means:
Evaluate the phrase “as soon as we abandon ourselves to God.” It’s vitally important that we give ourselves to God. Think about the individuals in scripture whom God works His miracles. David, the servant girl, and the little boy with fish and bread all surrendered themselves to God. It wasn’t about them but what God does for His glory through them! They were available and willing for God to have His way in their situations. Have you surrendered yourself to His glory and purposes?
Walking with God is a journey that involves working on certain tasks He assigns to us. Notice the phrase “do the tasks closest to us.” We often come up with big plans that tend to be complicated and sometimes attention getting. God gives us simple things before entrusting us on bigger tasks. You can see this clearly in reading through Joshua. First, God has the Hebrews “consecrate” themselves. This is vitally important! God has them first cross the Jordan River during flood season before sending them to attack Jericho.
God wants His people to understand that the conquest of the Promised Land isn’t about them but about His purposes. It’s God’s power that defeats the inhabitants not the righteousness or military might of the Hebrews. The entire purpose of marching around the walls of Jericho numerous times is to prove that deliverance and victory comes through God!
What simple things have God entrusted to you? It’s surprising how simple acts of kindness can make a big difference. Before starting a grand plan, consider that God may have something simple before you! When we are faithful in the small things then we are ready for the bigger things.
Consider David, specifically how that God sends him against Goliath with his simple stones. David was faithful to honor God’s name and strike down the blasphemous beast man. This was all before he was ever in the army or a recognized leader. God works through young men and women in mighty ways!
For a young lady, consider Naaman’s servant girl who “remembered her God’s power.” She was the one who shared the knowledge that God and His Prophet (Elisha) could heal him.
The servant girl living as a captive in a foreign land (Syria) remembered her God and showed compassion and grace that led to a miraculous healing! Even in captivity, she knew who was the True Source of Healing.
Recall the little boy with a few small fish and bread for lunch! He willingly gave it to Jesus and thousands were fed. He was present with Jesus and his little lunch fed thousands from Jesus’ hands! Doubt he was expecting that when he first arrived to hear Jesus teach! Let us be aware of the simple things and trust God to work in them for His glory and ministry to others! A surrender according to God’s call is the start of something much greater!
The key to this wonderful truth is “right relationship with God.” David kills Goliath because Goliath is insulting God’s Holy Name. David is the one who clearly perceives God’s plan and thus acts accordingly. We have to be in the right relationship to discern God and His movements in our lives. Romans 12:1-2 links the 2 previous Chambers’ quotes together:
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
First, we are the living sacrifice acceptable to God, then God transforms our minds (renewal). This renewal is God’s Word as we offer ourselves to Him. This is part of repentance in the sense that we are turning away from the world’s ways (including our own ways to “prove” God’s will. We will be surprised in how that God will work and move in our circumstances when we walk in trust and obedience! For additional study in what mind renewal means:
Ed Elliot writes an excellent commentary exploring knowing God’s will:
There is a sense of joy and surprise in our relationship with Jesus. We never know when He will show up! Holy Spirit guides and empowers us to live with Christ. Every day God graciously gives us in a new opportunity to walk with Him in love and service. We can joyfully anticipate God working in and through us!
The concluding quote reminds us that when leaving things to Christ we can be certain that He will come! We don’t know for certain how, when, or where, but we can rest in faith! We serve a Risen, Resurrected Savior who is working to bring all of history to a close! We have the honor of showing others His love, grace, mercy, and kindness! God isn’t finished with you if you trust and walk with Him! He is working to redeem the lost around us!
Come rejoice now, O my soul
For His love is my reward
Fear is gone and hope is sure
Christ is mine forevermore
Refrain from Christ is Mine Forevermore, CityAlight
For God’s glory and to encourage you in your walk of faith with Him, I write these words!