For someone who likes (and prefers) to be in control, that is quite something. I've often said if you don't know what you're looking for, how will you recognize it? So last night I was telling God the same thing. "Lord, please show me what I'm looking for, or otherwise, how would I recognize it?" I feel like I'm looking over a sea of faces and I'm supposed to recognize someone that I don't know.
A dear friend of mine has just recently joined the world of Skype. In the chat facility it has, what is known in cyber world as, 'emoticons'. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is the little face pictures (and sometimes other kinds of pictures too), that expresses all kinds of moods and emotions. So when you write, you can make it more visual in order to express yourself more vividly. This feature is a new discovery for my friend, and this morning I indicated to him where he can find it to explore it a little, and next time he would know how to use it, should he choose to. I make use of it very often, because I think in pictures, and this provide me with quite a bit of entertainment from time to time, as I attempt to express myself very theatrically in writing.
He did venture there and then send me a message, using one of the pics. He added that he wasn't quite sure what the particular image was, but that I should see what I could make of it. I recognized it and replied, explaining it to him. He replied telling me all the possibilities of what he thought it was, while he didn't have a clue. I realized that, while he did not know what it was supposed to be, his imagination ran wild and the possibilities were endless. Some was rather entertaining.
I also realized then that, very often, as soon as your mind has made a decision on what something is supposed to be, it almost 'robs' you of the imaginary possibilities. His mind was not pre-conditioned. To him the picture could be whatever he wanted to. His possibilities were endless.
Here I was, asking God to show me something that my mind would recognize, but not realizing, that while I'm in the state of not knowing any details, it could take on any shape or size; the possibilities are endless, and my mind is open to anything God wants to do. I can't limit Him to the familiarity of my mind, even if I wanted to. But now God is free to do something new, dynamic and exciting. Isn't that precisely what I'm trusting God for?
I think my mind becomes confused at times. On the one hand I'm asking God for something fresh and different, yet, on the other hand my mind searches for familiarity. I sigh with relief, smiling to myself. At least God is not confused.
I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined myself in this place. All the time that I was crying out to God for something new, a way out, I don't think I realized what I was crying out for.
I remind myself of all the people who have done, and are doing great things for God. Could they imagine the life that they now live and the things they are doing? Surely there was a time in their lives when they also made courageous choices, having had no idea what was awaiting them on the other side of their faith step.
It makes me think of Peter who asked Jesus to let him walk on the water to meet Him. What he asked Jesus is a very far fetched idea to my mind. He basically defied gravity by stepping over the side in faith. He decided to let it take on any shape it could be; to not limit the possibilities with the familiar way of thinking. He stepped out in faith, not knowing the detail of how it would work out. I think often in life we are challenged to choose between staying in the safety of the boat - the familiar - or stepping out onto the water and walking towards Greater Things.
I heard someone say once that they would rather be a wet water walker than a dry boat sitter. Peter's mentality was "go big, or go home", and this willingness to open his mind to the extraordinary is what made him a powerful instrument for God's kingdom. Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter (meaning "rock") and said that His church would be built on it. I want to have a heart like Peter.
Not knowing the detail sometimes make me nervous, but maybe that is God's idea of adventure; when you don't have everything planned to the last detail; unpredictable. When you say, "God, where are we going?" and He says, "Wait, you'll see; it's a surprise!"
When I think back on the work experience that I've had for the past two years, my mouth becomes dry and my stomach turn. I have no desire for another experience like it. I am hungry for something new; something that I have not seen or experienced before. Right now it is unpredictable, the possibilities endless. I don't want to limit God with the possibilities that my mind/imagination can conjure. I don't want some 'second hand' adventure.
Peter stepped out of the boat by faith and asked questions later. By that I don't mean that we should be reckless and think that God will see to it, but if we never step out, we may never know what it is like to 'walk on the water'.
A few steps later, his mind started realizing the reality of what he'd done. In those moments his fear was fueled by looking everywhere but at Jesus, and it was when he took His eyes off the goal, that he started sinking. God said that He stirs up the hearts of His chosen ones for a purpose, and I too have stepped out of the boat. What is important now is to keep my eyes on the Goal. It is not a time to look around in fear. What is encouraging about Peter, though, is that he did not attempt to go back to the boat when he started sinking. He called out to Jesus, who reached out and saved him. I think Peter put that in his bag of 'things to remember for next time': do not look around. You'll sink!
Even though Peter did doubt Jesus there for a bit, the experience still made him stronger for that which he was going to do for God later on. It makes me think that is all worth the while, even if you do get a little wet sometimes. It still beats sitting in the boat.
By wanting to know everything - not having to trust God - we might just stand in our own way for having the greatest adventure ever with Him. One thing should make us rest assured: God says that the plans He has for us (for me) are good ones to give us a hope and a future (Jer 29:11).
So Lord, I'll have some of your special recipe 'anything' after all...