Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Should We Even Bother?

Whenever my dad is in the car, Gypsy is always with him, talking to him as he drives. Gypsy is a GPS unit and my dad refers to it as a ‘her’ – I suppose because of the female voice. For someone who has always been directionally challenged (I get that from my mother) the introduction of a GPS system is great, although I still navigate the old school way - Google maps. For my dad though, it seems to have made him dumber less smart about directions. He used to be able to navigate well (except when we were travelling through Europe but that’s another story). Now it seems that he can’t get anywhere without hearing from Gypsy.

Gypsy is always talking. First she gives warning, such as, “In 300ft, turn right onto McDonald Avenue,” and then when you get to McDonald Avenue Gypsy says, “Turn right here.” You’d think it would be difficult to get off course; you’d think that, but you would be wrong. When I’ve been with my dad, sometimes we choose to make a detour – grab a bit to eat, stop at a road side attraction or get gas. Sometimes, even though the way was clearly described, we make mistakes; we turn too soon or are in the wrong lane when we needed to make the turn. When we go off course Gypsy says, “Off-course, recalculating...” and then she tells us the new route.

On Friday, I wrote a post, Messy Church; it must have struck a chord with readers because within 24 hours it had already generated the most comments (for my blog) and was in 3rd place in the Top 5 most popular posts (2 days later it was 2nd place). Lots of people have experienced a church split, having the pastor leave or faced a scandal in their church. It’s not pleasant. One reader had a lot to say in the comments; one of her questions made me think a lot and I knew it was worth exploring in a post.

If we (and I’m speaking at an individual level, although it could also apply corporately) seek God’s will and direction for our lives and follow it for a while but then quit when it gets hard, and then ask the God’s directional assistance again, is that paramount to saying we were disobedient the whole time and just not bother moving forward if we can’t stick to the plan?

I can’t think of a single example in the Bible where God didn’t answer when the people called. Judges is a great example of the people doing what is right in their own eyes, undergoing purifying discipline, crying out to God and him answering them. Again and again. Every time.

Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

2 Chronicles 7:14-16 says that if we seek his face, he will hear us. Hebrews 4:16 says we can boldly approach the throne and receive grace (new direction) and mercy (forgiveness for not following through previously) in our time of need. There is no disclaimer saying that we’ll receive a new revelation only if we’ve successfully fulfilled the last revelation. God is delighted to give us chance after chance to know him and his will.

The Holy Spirit is like Gypsy, the GPS system. The Holy Spirit gives warning of the change in direction before it happens to allow us to prepare. If we go off route, the Holy Spirit is recalculating a new way to bring us back to the final destination.  The only time we’re in real trouble is when we stop seeking his face and desiring to know his will. Our faithlessness never dissuades his faithfulness.

What say you? Have you experienced his re-direction? Do you ever stop seeking his face, his direction and his will?

3 comments:

  1. Great thoughts. You mention a re-direction and I'm reminded of detour signs. Often we get upset at detours, but at least they have arrows on them telling us which way to go. What if they didn't have directional arrows? When we seek the Kingdom, we might get some detours on what we thought was the right route, but those detour signs will have different route pointed for us. Thanks for a great post.

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  2. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways ackowledge Him and He will make your path straight. If we don't follow His leading, if we don't trust His answer but turn to our own understanding we can't always expect Him to put us back on the straight path

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  3. Weird things are happening with my comments - need to figure out how to remedy that. In the meantime:

    @Ryan - thanks for joining the conversation. It's a big one. The thing about detours, are they from God, or are they self-created? That's another big question, one I'll be writing about on Friday.

    @Lyn - Great verse, but I disagree that if we go off track, God won't correct us. God is infinitely patient with us.

    Have you read The Shack? One of the main thoughts that I still think about from that book is when the Jesus character (I forgot his name) says to Mack, that if God knows that it will take 876 times before you get something right and you make a mistake, the Lord is not angry and will turn away from you but will say, "875 more times to go".

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