I have a friend who, after a lifetime of unsuccessfully fighting her weight, managed to lose fifty pounds. When I asked her how she did it, she told me, “I finally figured that I knew what to do. I’ve tried nearly every diet on the planet. I knew what foods are problematic for me. I knew I need smaller portions. I knew I need to exercise every day. I didn’t need to be educated. I just needed to do what I knew to do.”
That’s something I think we need to remember when it comes to those blind times in our lives, those times when we just can’t sense God’s presence or direction. We may be waiting to see God, to get more instructions, to be inspired, when what we really need to do is start walking and do what God wants us to do.
And what God wants is no secret. We’ve got a whole book of instructions. We have the witness of thousands of years of believers and the testimonies of others in His Body reminding us to:
• love God with all our hearts and minds and souls and strength (Mark 12:30).
- love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31).
- confess our sins, repent, and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). In my experience, this alone is often enough to give me clearer vision and make it easier for me to see God.
- forgive as we have been forgiven (Matt. 6:12–14).
- feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, care for orphans and widows, visit prisoners (Matt. 25:31–46).
- love, support, and encourage our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ (John 13:34–35; Heb. 10: 24–25).
- trust in God and not lean on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5).
We’ve got our marching orders. So maybe it’s not inappropriate to ask: What are we waiting for? We don’t need to have an epiphany to tell us to do those things. We don’t need a life-changing vision. We just need to … obey. And interestingly enough, the very act of obedience often helps us see God better. . . .
I love the way the Oswald Chambers explains this: “All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience…. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already.”*
Sometimes, in fact, I suspect God goes into hiding to nudge us into actually using what He’s already given us. He lets us go it alone (or we feel like we’re alone) to help us develop confidence and experience in living His way.
I’ve done that as a parent. When my children were little, I would sometimes let them be outside by themselves or walk to a friend’s house without supervision while I’d secretly keep an eye on them. They needed that experience of making their way in the world. They needed to learn to function without my constant direction. So I stayed close, but I tried to stay out of their sight, for a little while at least.
I really believe that God does this with us as well. He gives us the freedom to do things on our own because He wants us to grow. It’s like He’s saying, You’ve got a map (the Bible). You’ve got GPS (the Holy Spirit). You’ve got your cell phone (prayer) and your instructions (see above). You’ve got My promise that I’ll be there if you need Me. So what’s stopping you?
And here’s one other wrinkle. In my experience, at least, God often doesn’t show Himself until I start moving on the path to obedience. It’s the very act of doing what I’ve been told to do that both strengthens my faith and opens my eyes to see more of what God is doing.
I’ve said it many times, and I believe it with all my heart: You never know what’s on the other side of your obedience. With every step, you may well see more of God. . . .
But what if you take a step, or many steps, and nothing seems to change? What if you take step after step, doing what you know to do, and you still feel like you’re walking blind?
If that’s the case, you might consider something radical. Maybe you don’t see because you don’t need to see.
God is your Father. He knows what you need more than you know it. And that means He knows what you don’t need. You may be stronger than you think. Your faith may be more robust, your trust more solid than you realized. You may have the precious ability to walk in faith, not sight.
But you’ll never know that, either, until you take a step.
*Oswald Chambers, “Whereby Shall I Know,” My Utmost for His Highest, October 10, http://www.oswaldchambers.co.uk/Readings.php?day=10&month=10.
Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.
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