My floors have been especially clean lately. I know that’s not exactly the thing you came here to read about but hang on. I have a point.
See, I like control. I like to know what’s going on, what’s coming my way, how exactly it’s all going to shake down and what time it’ll all be over so I can crawl into bed. Turns out, when life is a bit out of my control – I turn to the things I can absolutely control.
Like the cleanliness of my floors.
Timothy Keller said, “If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what He gives.”
Yeah, read that again. I did at least 17 times when it rolled across my instagram feed this morning. (Thanks to the lovely, Jen!)
Turns out, I want clean floors. And control. Also turns out that the things I’m asking for look different in my mind then the way God is giving them.
Here’s what I never ask for. I never ask to go through things which make me feel really scared. I never ask that I would encounter moments I would have to be especially brave for. I never plead to have feelings of complete and total lack of control.
Here’s what I do pray for. I ask for complete reliance on God – though in my mind that looks all happy and cozy. I do ask for more faith and more trust for whatever He brings our way – though in my mind what He brings is lovely and, if I’m honest, quite easy. I do ask that He stretch me, but what I really mean is make me feel like I’m doing things for Him in big ways but that don’t really require much of me because life is full enough – amiright?!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m praying honest prayers. I do want more faith and more trust and more reliance and more Jesus. It’s just when He gives me moments, days, weeks of putting these to the test – well, I tend to get all, “where did this come from?” and I go hardcore into floor cleaning mode. (aka control freak syndrome)
It kind of boils down to this fact – I want to know what God knows – and in an instant I find myself naked in the garden being seduced by a serpent and reaching for an apple.
It’s so easy to say we want more of Jesus but it’s downright terrifying when He decides to hand us Himself. When He comes into our lives and holds out His hands and shows us that more of Him looks like loving deeper, broadening our circle and inviting others especially near.
It’s so easy to say we want to have more faith and feel like that means super powers to walk forward doing bold things with a big red J on our chest (Jesus, duh!) and our cape flapping in the wind. But I’m learning in increasing measure that more Jesus looks like a pounding heart and trembling fingers and moving forward completely scared. I’m finding out that courage doesn’t come with a cape but with a whispered yes. I’m seeing that faith doesn’t come with ferocity it comes in the quiet with questions, “Really Lord? Me? Are you sure someone else isn’t more suited for the task?” and walking forward anyway – knowing we are completely inadequate to accomplish what He’s called us to.
We don’t know what God knows and so all we can do here on earth is trust that what He knows is best even when to us it seems – ridiculous, terrifying, disheartening, too big, too hard, too…. – you fill in the blank.
Time after time in scripture we see completely unqualified people stepping forward in obedience to do things too large for them. Time after time in scripture we see armies defeated, walls crumbled, babies born, dead raised, crowds fed, fish caught, wine overflowing, bodies healed, storms calmed and then there was the fish with a coin in its mouth!
Yet after all of that we look at our pitiful little selves and say, me? Not me. You couldn’t possibly mean me.
But He does mean us. He means those of us who are frail and weak and just plain scared. He means those of us who think we don’t possibly have anything to offer and He means those of us who have tons but just don’t want to share.
Shannan Martin, in her book Falling Free said this, “There’s a difference between being too scared to do hard things and doing hard things scared.”
It’s scary to take God at His word. It’s scary to not know the things He knows and yet move forward in the ways He commands. It’s downright terrifying to feel unqualified and yet do it anyway. But isn’t that precisely the way? So that we can never take the glory for the things that are accomplished, rather point straight to the Great Accomplisher and thank Him for all the ways HE is enough.
Today I don’t know Gods ways, I don’t understand them and I can’t even say I like the way He’s operating very much. Today I wish I knew His thoughts and His plans and how it would all turn out in the end. But apparently it’s time for me to learn what faith is and what trust means.
Today I’m turning off the vacuum because the Christmas Tree just fell over (again) and it means the floors, just cleaned, are all messed up again. Turns out my perceived ways of garnering some control are also an illusion. Nicely played, God. Nicely played.