I sat up in the dark the other night. It wasn’t late, but everyone else had gone to bed. I was awake with questions. What’s it going to look like questions. And Where to from here questions.
Trusting the unknown future to the known God is harder than it sounds.
Now here’s the thing. I like to know what I’m getting myself into, if you get my drift. If my name is going to be on the list with X or Y responsibility, then, like most folks, I want to know what that responsibility is going to entail. Are there monthly meetings? How long are the meetings? Am I expected to attend every single one?
And if I’m diving into a significant new project, I typically think long and hard about what the ramifications are, before I ever pick up a pencil, a paintbrush… whatever it calls for.
So I sat before the Lord, asking questions. While on the surface I thought I was saying, What am I supposed to do next?, truthfully I was asking that what is it going to look like question, deep in my soul.
I’m brimming over with ideas, thinking about going in twelve different directions, and this simple answer whispers to my soul:
Just Keep Going.
I’m looking for a road map and instead I get a green light.
I’m hoping for a big picture and instead I see a next step.
Isn’t it a funny thing, that statement-suggestion-commandment Jesus made, that if you want to receive the Kingdom of God, you’re going to have to do it like a child?
We packed ourselves up for a few days in the mountains that week. With colder weather looming, I pulled out tiny gloves, mittens, hats that hadn’t been needed for nearly a year. One suitcase was tightly organized with clothes for all three kiddos for a handful of days. (I was proud of that endeavor.)
On our first walk, the weather was mild. We stood near the lower cascades and dipped our fingers in to taste the cold water that had gushed down from the heights. We were comfortable in light jackets, coats, sweaters, hoodies, not too bundled up, the sun still warming our cheeks.
That evening, we felt the shift — cold weather rolled in. We were on the back porch of the tiny cabin when the leaves started blowing sideways. It was time to come in for dinner and baths and bed.
The next day, I began to pull out those tiny gloves and mittens. The weather changed, and it was time for me to give the children what I had prepared for them – because I knew this was when they needed it.
For our next walk to the upper cascades, coats were on, gloves and mittens covered fingers, tiny hats topped little heads. They had what they needed because I had it to give to them, and I waited until the right time to give it.
And isn’t that what a good Father does? Doesn’t He give His children what they need when they need it?
So when I asked for a road map and got a green light, I remembered my place. I’m not an aunt or mother-in-law or a parent. In the Kingdom of God, I come as a child.
It takes humility to look up, when you don’t get the answer you’re hoping for and to say,
But He caught me at the right place, and gave me the encouragement in the right timing. So I sat up in the dark, wide-eyed and excited about a plan that God has for me that I know so little about. I sat up excited, thinking about what He might want to do with a soul that just wants to say Use me, and really means it.
I sat up, using my iPhone as a flashlight, furiously scribbling excited prayers into a journal. And I saw the light catch a glimpse of my baby girl’s sparkly little tennis shoes, sitting tidy, underneath a table by the wall, and I said,
Yes, Lord! I can reflect your light even in the darkness! Even if I don’t know what you are doing, I can still reflect your goodness here!
And the eldest of my sweet children sighed a peaceful sigh of sleep on the couch, and I remembered he was just there, just those few feet away, and I said,
Yes, Lord! Long have I used my children as an excuse for not being able to do some of the things I believe I am called to do! Now I see that I can do those things with my children, and I must do those things, because of my children!
There in the dark, that Truth hit me hard, and bright, a Light I hadn’t seen before.
We sometimes hold back, because we don’t know the big picture. We don’t see where the ship is headed. We don’t know what the road is going to look like.
But, when I’ve got to get my children somewhere, well, by all means, I take them by the hand and I lead them right to where they need to go. If it’s urgent, there’s not always a stopping and an explaining, either. Sometimes it’s just I’ve got you by the hand, now let’s get moving.
Could we be a people willing to let the Lord take us by the hand and lead us where He wants us to go?
If we think we have to see the big picture before we take the first step, we are missing the point that we are followers and Jesus is the Leader.
If we tentatively consider each act of obedience, wondering if it’s something that could potentially go viral or start a movement, we need to slow down and remember that faithfulness is what the Lord asks of us.
He doesn’t need His children to come up with grandiose schemes, and He doesn’t need us to be famous to be effective.
If we are willing to let Him take us by the hand, He can lead us best to where He wants us to go, and because He is a good Father, we will have what we need when we get there.
It takes humility to just keep swimming, to receive directions with childlike obedience.
But if you ask for a road map and you get a green light, well, by all means, get going. Stretch your hand out to let Him lead you, and know you can trust the future you don’t know to the God you do.
He loves you. So keep going.