You've decided to do it. You are going to lead a life that is totally led by God. Totally. You’ll get your own needs, wants, and desires right out of the way so that you can make room for what God wants and what God needs and what God desires. It’s all about HIM.
So you head over to Whataburger. It’s around 12:15 PM and the place is busy. When you get to the register the guy says, “welcome to Whataburger, may I take your order”? He seems rushed because there are at least 15 people behind you. You look the menu over and you say, “before I can give you my order, I have to pray about what God wants for me because I will only eat what God wants for me, even if it’s something I don’t like, so, just hold on a minute.”
Did you just laugh? I know, that’s going a little too far isn’t it? Well, I don’t know because I have my eye on something right now. As you may know, I totaled my car about 10 days ago and so I am looking around online for my next vehicle. I have my eye on something. It’s a beautiful 2012 Ford F150 with about 17,000 miles on it. It’s pretty. Really, really pretty. I've been watching this thing every day to make sure it’s still there and as of this writing (it’s Wednesday of last week) it is still there. I have to wait until my insurance company lets me know how much I’ll get for the Nissan Pathfinder that I turned into a pile of rubble, but if they give me some good news then F150 just might be it. Since I've been preaching about the “new self” that gets it’s own needs, wants, and desires out of the way and since we made a covenant of sorts at the men’s retreat to do this very thing, I am going to practice it myself. What does God want for me? Red truck or not? What do you want for me God?
Now just hold on a minute! Are you honestly saying that God (1) has any time at all to worry about such things and (2) even cares about what you’ll be driving? You can’t be serious! So, I guess what you’re going to say next is that if you don’t wind up driving the red truck that it wasn't “God’s plan” for your life, right? I guess you’re going to say that God has actually thought this over and that he has already decided what you will do, right?
Check this out. “Ask and you shall receive, knock, and the door will be opened for you; for anyone who asks receives, and anyone who seeks will find.” Who am I quoting? Jesus, that’s who. These words get misrepresented more often than the Astros lose baseball games (sorry fans, it’s the only thing that I could think of that happens a lot). The misrepresentation can sound like this. If you want the truck, and if you have faith that God will give you the truck, then you will get the truck. If you want the job and if you seek the job then the doors will be open for you and you will get the job. If you want the new home and you ask God for the new home then you will get the new home. If you do not get the truck or the job or the home then it’s your fault because you didn't believe in the power of God to give it to you. God is like a Wal Mart with no prices and no cashiers. Just ask for what you want and it will be given to you and it will cost you nothing but the faith that whatever you ask for you will find. I’m sorry to say this, but, this “theology” could not be a more direct contradiction of the Gospels.
So what does it mean? Let’s go back to the whole “getting our own needs and wants out of the way” thing for just a minute. Part of what this new way of thinking entails is, read carefully here, it entails being OK (in time) with whatever is on the other side of the “door” because God is right there in it. Does that make sense? If it doesn't then, let me put it another way.
Listen to the difference in these two prayers:
“God, I really am seeking your guidance here on this thing; from what I can see on the internet I would really like the red truck. So, if that’s what’s supposed to be then I know it will happen but if not, since I am seeking your guidance, I know that I will have something to drive that will be nice and I will know that you were in that somehow.”
“God, I am asking for the red truck so I know that you will give me the red truck. I have faith.”
You see the difference? In both cases I am asking, seeking, and knocking. In the first prayer I am most certainly “letting God know” what I think I want, but, if it’s not to be, if the truck is no longer available or if it’s not a good fit then I am resting in the assurance that whatever it is that I wind up with, that God was in it and that I am OK with that. I am good with whatever happens on the other side because I KNOW that God is in it.
Can I tell you, with assurance, that God has already planned out my life? Can I tell you with certainty that God already knows what I will be driving, that he knew that I’d have the accident, and that he is directing every single thing that happens in my life and in your life? Am I powerless to change the course that God has set for me? Those are questions that cannot be answered in this space. So, since space is short, let’s just go with this for now. I am going to ask God when I need to ask and I am going to assume he is paying attention because he clearly wants me asking and seeking and knocking. Maybe not in the Whataburger, although if that works for you then go for it - just don’t do it out loud or people will stare. I AM going to bring God into my decisions about things that really matter. I am going to seek his will and I am going to trust that it is going to be done (thy will be done). I may not like it, understand it, or agree with it. But God is in it no matter what. And even if it’s life I am seeking and all I get is death, well, even then I know what the other side brings and so, in time, I will get to the point where I rest in the assurance of God’s will, no matter how long it takes or how hard it is. I will see light. I will see life. That is where I can find my rest and my peace.
God is in it. This tells me something. God is here. God cares. God is involved. God is with me. This must mean that I matter to God. I don’t care if my life is all planned out without my knowledge or not. I really don’t care because I won’t know the difference anyway. All I know is that I matter to God and that is enough for me. I matter enough that he is involved in my life so let me just acknowledge it. I matter. It is enough.