It's never a good idea to wake up and read your email first thing. I find more often than not there's AT LEAST one message that will just start my day off wrong.
There are so many things in this life that can frustrate. I'm sure that's no surprise to you.
One of the major things is people.
We are all so very complex. I heard someone say once that with all the millions (trillions?) of different background experiences that shape who we are, how we think, and how we perceive things--which becomes our reality--it's amazing that we have any successful relationships in our lives.
And it explains very well why we struggle in our personal relationships.
And it also explains why it's so dangerous to compare ourselves to others; whether it's our strengths, our weaknesses, our abilities, our priorities, etc.
We are all so stinking different.
But in some basic ways, I think we are all the same.
I think about Moses. God wanted him to go to the Pharoah and demand he set the Israelites free. Moses gave a few convincing (if only to himself) reasons why God shouldn't rely on Moses.
And I think...are you kidding me? You HEARD God speak. He TOLD YOU to go to Pharoah. And you argued with Him?
But then of course, I climb down off my high horse and I realize there have been a number of times I have argued with the Big Guy myself.
"No, I don't want to wait until I'm married."
"No, I don't want to stay in this marriage."
"No, I don't want to get to know this person before jumping in."
"No, I don't want to walk away from this life that I've chosen because it's contrary to You."
"No, I don't want to STAY here just because I've made a commitment."
"No, I don't want to share that part of my life with anyone because I'm embarrassed."
"No, I don't want to make sure I'm in the Word every day. I have so many things on my to-do list."
"No, I don't want to give them the benefit of the doubt. They annoyed/hurt/angered me."
"No, I don't want to forgive that person."
"No, I don't want to re-prioritize my life."
"No, I don't want to apologize."
"No, I don't want to respect my husband when he makes decisions that I disagree with."
And on and on and on.
As part of our lessons, the boys and I have been reading through their children's Bible. It's a nice, kid-friendly, condensed version of the Bible. We just read the part in the Old testament about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. The time came (after MUCH time wandering) to spy out the Promised Land.
12 spies were sent to check on the land and the people.
The spies reported back to Joshua that the land was terrific and lush. But the people were big and strong. They were afraid. They didn't believe that they could take these people on and succeed.
And I couldn't help but think, these are the same people who saw 10 plagues in Egypt every time Pharoah wouldn't let the Israelites leave. They saw the angel of death pass over and take the first-born son of every family who didn't have the blood above the doorway (as they were instructed to save their first-born son), they saw a cloud by day and a column of fire by night every single day and night as God led them through the desert.
They miraculously had manna and quail to eat and fresh water to drink every single day and every single night. In the desert.
They watched the Red Sea part. The walked between enormous walls of water, safely to the shore on the other side. They watched those same walls come crashing down on the Egyptian army as they pursued the Israelites.
But this...THIS...they just didn't believe God would come through on???
They told Joshua, we're afraid. These people are too strong.
It didn't matter that Joshua reminded them that God was with them. Not sure that they could have forgotten all that God had already delivered them from.
It makes me wonder what it was about THIS that made them put their foot down.
So as a result, God said they couldn't enter the Promised Land.
Wasn't that THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THEIR LENGTHY TRAVELS?
Wasn't that the outcome they were all anticipating? The Promised Land?
And then of course, I have to start looking inward.
And I hate that part.
I KNOW there are many things I have seen God do in my life.
So many ways I have seen Him deliver me.
And yet I tend to doubt or down right refuse His prompting in certain areas of my life.
Well, sometimes I'm lazy. Sometimes it's fear holding me down. Sometimes I lack faith to know He'll give me whatever it is I need to get through. Sometimes I'm too busy listening to that liar whispering in my ear.
And I wonder...how many times have I short-changed myself from the Promised Land?
Or blessings? Or wonderful experiences that lend themselves to other blessings and other wonderful experiences?
And I get sad.
I don't want to be like the 12 spies.
I also don't want to be like Moses.
I don't want to be so busy arguing with God about why he was silly for choosing me to do XYZ.
I don't want to hear the One who I believe created the world and everything in it from the tallest dinosaur to the smallest, microscopic bug, in 7 days--created outer space and all the solar systems it's made up of--created human beings with all their complicated intricacies both physical and emotional--sent a flood that covered the earth--parted the Red Sea--destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah--turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt--fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and a few fish--turned water into wine--brought people back to life--and most importantly, raised His Son from the dead and saved the world--And believe He can't be right about me.
How many more opportunities will I miss out on--opportunities to be fulfilled and more importantly, to fulfill His purpose, aid in winning a soul, aid in comforting someone else, aid in completing what needs to be completed so that we can leave this wretched, depraved world behind--all because I don't have faith that God will take care of the details?
Moses couldn't speak well and lacked faith at a critical time. Jonah ran away. Jeremiah whined. Saul refused to follow directives and went crazy. Paul was a Christian killer. David had an affair and had a man murdered to cover it up. Peter swore an allegiance to Christ and then denied Him 3 times. Rahab was a prostitute. Joshua caved and created a golden calf for the stiff-necked Israelites to worship when Moses took too long to get back from speaking with God. Samson had an affair with a prostitute and told her the secret to his strength and she used it against him. And Mandy told God she couldn't because she wasn't good enough.
We all have reasons why we "can't". God says that's where He comes in.
He'll take care of the details. He'll fill in the blanks.
If we had all the answers and everything was mapped out perfectly, every I dotted and every T crossed...we may confuse ourselves and others that we did it.
Gideon had 30,000 men willing to go to battle with him.
God said that was too many.
So, 300 men ended up going to battle with Gideon against so many enemies that they "couldn't be counted."
God said He didn't want there to be any confusion about WHO actually won the battle.
So, I am praying that I will believe that for myself.
I pray that I won't pass up amazing opportunities when I feel God put them in my path or place them on my heart. I pray for discernment to tell when it's God's idea and when it's my own.
And I pray that I will choose the front row of life.