Today I read Genesis 21. It is so easy to skim over these chapters of Genesis, because for the most part, I've heard these stories more times than I can count. But God has been incredibly good to me lately, in giving me a fresh perspective and new eyes when it comes to Genesis and you guys... it is rocking my world. So I'm sharing it because I hope that maybe it can change something for you too. And if it doesn't, at least know you know what God is doing in my life and can call me out if/when you see me failing to live up to this.
So in Genesis 21:22 says, "At that time it came to pass that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his forces, said to Abraham: 'God is with you in everything you do.' "
You guys. This ONE verse blew me and my faith to pieces today and here's why: nobody is saying this about me.
I mean think about how amazing it would be if someone walked up to you and said, "Hey, I just want you to know that it's clear that God is with you in everything you do." As a Christian, I can think of nothing better than for someone to see GOD in my life, and not just in part of it, but in ALL of it. Like, this is our ultimate goal, isn't it? For our lives to be living and breathing reflections of Jesus Christ? For HIM to be seen in our lives instead of just ourselves? But what's sad is that I can honestly say that this has never happened to me, not even on my "best" and "most Christian" of days or weeks. But this wasn't even necessarily a mountain top time of faith in Abraham's life. From what we can tell, it was just a random day for him. We don't know what was going on or why this was said about him. Obviously, he had some amazing moments of faith, but we're not sure exactly what led to this being said about him. But we do know that a KING and the COMMANDER OF HIS ARMIES saw something in Abraham that made them stop and ask themselves, "What is it about that guy that's different?" And then they realized that it was God. So they call Abraham in and they say: "We can tell that God is at work in everything you do." I can only imagine this moment for Abraham! But guess what? When I say "I can only imagine", I'm being serious. Because this is not my reality. I don't know what this is like, I can quite seriously only imagine because people aren't saying this to me. It's sad, but this is not happening in my life. And if you're reading this, there's chance that it's not happening in your life either. But here is what God showed me today: nobody is going to look at your life and say that God is with you in everything you do if you don't
I mean it's crazy how simple that is, right? Maybe. But it is so difficult to live out, you guys. Because this deals with control, which is something that most type-a educators like myself L O V E. In fact, love it too much. It is a life-long struggle in my faith to give God control. And not only that, but I am I N D E P E N D E N T (do you know what that means? No? Still not a rap fan? smh..) I love feeling like I don't need anyone for anything ever. And I mean obviously, this is a straight-up lie. I need like a million people every day. Just ask anyone that I work with. Or my parents. Or my roommates. But, I mean, I'm single, so in some ways, I have learned to provide for myself, which has led to this "I don't need NO body", girl-power mentality that I have. And here's the problem with that: I also don't need God.
Man. That one really hurts to say. But it's true. I claim to be a follower of Jesus, yet I can honestly say that 9 days out of 10, I don't actually need God. Oh, sure, I say I do. And sometimes I actually do. But truly needing God? Well, that would mean that I admit that I can't do something on my own. And I HATE that. So I'm doing this awesome little dance with God where I'm like, "GOD! I want more of you! Where are you? Why don't I feel you? Where is this part-the-red-seas power I'm hearing about? Come on!" all the while, I go to great lengths to prevent myself from being in situations that I can't handle, thus removing my need for God's power.
Let me break this down: most of us claim to Christians, followers of JESUS, who want to see and live by His power, yet we go to great lengths in our lives to ensure that we never find ourselves in situations that actually require Jesus's power. Still too wordy for you? Forgive me, I'm an english teacher and love the words. How's this: we are not experiencing the POWER of Christ because we arrange our lives in such a way that prevents us from needing the POWER of Christ. And as a result, nobody is looking at our lives saying "God is in EVERYTHING they do." We are living safe, American lives. We are not taking risks for God. And we will never live and walk and dwell in the power of Jesus Christ if we never allow ourselves to be in situations that are impossible without the power of Jesus Christ. This is the difference between me and Abraham. Abraham was not afraid to step out and let go. He consistently allowed God to call Him to places and to situations that literally had zero chance of working out if God did not work. And guess what? GOD WORKED. And people saw God in Abraham.
If we want for others to really see GOD at work in us, then we've got to let God WORK in us and stop doing this comfortable thing we're doing where we pray for Him to work but all the while we work tirelessly to control the outcomes ourselves.
For me, I'm still wrapping my head around this idea. I don't know exactly what this looks like. But I do know this, it's time for me to stop half-heartedly giving my life and my days to Jesus. Because I really suck at controlling the outcomes. And I'm learning in my study of the scriptures that that is ok. In fact, God made it that way. I am not MADE to control my life. And you are not MADE to control yours. We are hard-wired by God to need Him, to rely on Him, to literally depend on Him for our very survival, and when we buy into that-when we really NEED Him- big things happen. Like, Abraham things. So my challenge for myself and for you is to let go. It's scary but we can do it, you guys. Imagine what would happen if every single one of us truly surrendered the control of our lives and our independence to God? Imagine how many people would be introduced to God through us. Let's figure out what it is going to take for you and for I to live our lives in a such way that causes those around us to say, "God is with you in everything you do." And lets. do. it.