In the Christian world, we sometimes talk about God’s inherent will and God’s permissive will. As an example, God’s inherent will was for the Israelites to settle in Israel. However, the generation led out of Egypt chose to disobey a number of times. All except Joshua and Caleb didn’t believe God about the inheritance of the “land of milk and honey.” The Israelites were reticent to go and claim this land because they feared men over God. This generation that followed God in a fiery cloud out of Egypt did not inherit Israel because they did not have faith in God and they did not follow His will. But God’s inherent will was still that the Israelites populate the land God had chosen. The children of the generation that led the people out did inherit the land. The disobedient parent generation paid a price for not obeying, but they were permitted to disobey. Their reward was passed to their children and missed by them.
I often think about this story when I am asking God what I am supposed to do. God revealed this lesson to me around the time I was in association with someone at my church who was interested in starting a Baptist Student Ministry at the University I worked at. I had joined Clear Lake Baptist Church because when I had moved to Houston I prayed that God would help me find a church that was in the area I lived (and worked), so I could serve the community I lived in. I decided I would start by going to the closest church and work my way out. CLBC was the closest, so I started there. I tried five other churches, I think, but I kept coming back to this one even though I wasn’t fond of the musical worship (very traditional, whereas I had grown up with Zionistic worship) and there were no women visible in leadership. But after reading the Baptist creed and realizing it lined up with my core interpretations of the Bible (even though I had grown up in a Pentecostal church), I soon became certain this was where I was called to be. It was an amazing journey where God taught me new things about worship in music and outside of music, put me in fellowship with fun and accountable friends, and eventually brought to its doorstep the man I would marry under its roof. But pushing me into the Baptist Student Ministry, eventually into leadership in that ministry, and seeing one young woman from Vietnam accept Jesus (when I was not present, but to see her sustaining relationship through the years since), was the great prize. I know absolutely God could have done that without me, but all the lessons that I talk about on this site grew out of my experience of following God down a path that I was less than unenthusiastic about. I am blessed that God worked through my resistance, and I sometimes wonder how much greater the experience would have been if I had been less reluctant to follow where it had quickly become clear I was supposed to go.
Commitment–that was all God asked at the time. Jesus is not a bully. It was this gentle, but consistent, prodding that led me down that path. Commitment was the first thing he asked. In some respects, wasn’t that so easy? He pointed and said, “Be committed to that.” If you are not a Christian and you are still reading this, I am not sure how you find out what to be committed to. You could certainly make a list and qualify and grade each item until you have an ordered answer. But I really recommend that the most important thing we do is “seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness.” If you do that, I think you will find Jesus and He will gently, but consistently, point you to what you should be committed to.
So right now, I’m looking for ways to seek Jesus. After having a baby who is now a turbulent toddler, my focus shifted and for my turbulent toddler’s sake and my husband’s and my own, my first commitment now must re-shift and I must dedicate time every day to seeking Jesus by reading His word (the Bible) and listening in prayer. Without that, I am wondering in a desert and do not know where to go really.
Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.