Some thoughts on things I’ve overheard, discussed with others or read about in the last couple of days … and mainly on what seems to be a very common problem … being unhappy/discontented with where you are and why you’re there.
Now, far be it from me to suppose that my take on any of this is the right one … and I’m not claiming it to be. Only, instead, to be, as always, the perspective of a (blessed) 35-year old man with a (wonderful) wife, two (healthy) young boys, a tough job (that he enjoys) and a growing faith.
The wrong questions/statements regarding where we are, why we’re there:
- Why do I have to be here? I want to be over there (somewhere, anywhere, else).
- There’s nothing for me here … I like it where I was. I was more comfortable there. i.e. – Growth doesn’t interest me if I have to come by it via hardships or trials … or if it requires my having You and ONLY You to turn to.
- I refuse to look at what’s right in front of me. I only want to look at where I’ve been and where I want to go. Not at Him or where He wants me to go.
The right questions/statements, regarding where we are, why we’re there:
- Why does He have me here? What is it I’m supposed to see/learn about Him here?
- What opportunities has God for me here? It’s not the most comfortable place, but here, I can place my trust solely on Him and really watch my faith grow as He works. And besides, my comfort level is not what stretches and grows me/my faith.
- There’s something about this specific place and this specific season … He wants me to learn something about Him … about myself. What is it that He wants to show me here/with these people?
This all, of course, has everything to do with walking in faith (what doesn’t?). The best picture of which, for me, came as a kid, walking through the woods with my father. He always told me to watch where I was walking, to look carefully in front of me, at every step. I had to watch my foot land and, if I could, I would land it within HIS footprint, as he always took the lead. I knew if I stepped in the footprint of my father, that it was a safe. If I didn’t, if I ventured off the path, looking only down the road at where I wanted to (hurry up and) be, I may well step in a hole, or worse … on a snake. Pretty cool analogy, I think. And a pretty good picture of what I’m getting at as the answers to “why am I here? why can’t I be somewhere else? how do I get there?, etc.”
I think, as cliche as it may sound, it really boils down to this: as we walk with THE Father … we take one careful step at a time and as best we can, follow in His footsteps. Our ultimate destination isn’t something we can sneak a peek at. Not something we can know. We get there by FAITH. You have faith that, despite not sneaking a peek or navigating the road myself, I’ll end up, eventually and one step at a time, EXACTLY where God intended for me to be.
“Thy word is a lantern to my feet”
This is not to say I don’t stop, occasionally, to take account of where I am. Oftentimes, I think it’s not only, OK, but really, really healthy. You stop, look around, appreciate the beauty of where you are. Heck, look back and appreciate how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned along the way. It’s all good – as long as, when it’s time to carry on, having appreciated the place you’re in at that very moment, you’re willing to put your head back down, again measure each step and, by faith, again … end up where you end up. When I was following Dad through the woods, did I tell him he didn’t know where he was going? Of course not. Because, I didn’t know, either. Those woods all looked the same to my untrained eyes. But, Dad had been there before. And, I knew, as long as I followed him … I’d return safely home.
Can I can pick out a destination and decide it’s ultimately where I’d like to be? Sure. But, all you’ll ever see, if you never take your eyes off that point on the horizon (if you get there, at all), is what you started out seeing. You’ve missed everything along the way. You don’t know how you’ve gotten there. You’ve learned nothing. You have no experience to draw upon in the days ahead. And what fun is that? How rewarding is that? Isn’t it even more rewarding to get somewhere, almost, by surprise?
The point, I think, is, that He’s taking us all somewhere wonderful. There’s a plan, a roadmap, a destination. I just have to stop wondering when I’m gonna get there … when I’ve “arrived”, if you will.
Because, I think it’s fair to say, that when you find yourself moving forward, pushing through discomfort and doubt, following in His footsteps and really walking in faith … you will have.
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So much of what my wife and I have gone through (what we’ve all gone through … including many who’ve had it much worse than we) , in terms of being tired, hopeless, stripped bare … is all right there in that sermon. And it gives me hope that I’m figuring some things out … that maybe, sometimes … I “get it”.
Another great sermon from Bryan. Enjoy it, if you have 45 minutes. If not, a great place to jump in is the 39:21 mark. The point I’ve tried to make in this blog post – and made so much better by Bryan – is made at the 49:00 mark.