I've been reading Tim Tebow's book, Through My Eyes, for most of the evening ... really good so far ... I just finished chapter 8, and Tim brings up some really interesting thoughts about God's will and God's work in our lives that I'd like to hash out here a bit.
In this particular chapter, Tim is telling us, his readers, about his recruiting process. Dozens of colleges tried to recruit him during his senior year of high school, and once he finally narrowed it down to two schools, he had a really tough time deciding which school to go to - Alabama or Florida. He really liked both schools and their football programs ... but he also really liked both of their coaches. In the book, he describes his inner turmoil over the decision. Weeks before he was supposed to announce his decision, he didn't know which school he would pick. Days before, he still didn't know. Hours before he got up on the podium to announce his decision, he still didn't know. Walking up to the podium, he STILL didn't know! Ahh!
But in this chapter, Tim talks about how he sought God through this decision. This is what he said ...
"I had been praying about it regularly, and my family was praying as well. I had no doubt that the Lord was leading throughout this whole process, but what was unclear was determining where He was leading. ... People often seem to think that when you're following the Lord and trying to do His will, your path will always be clear, the decisions smooth and easy, and life will be lived happily ever after and all that. Sometimes that may be true, but I've found that more often, it's not. The muddled decisions still seem muddled, bad things still happen to believers, and great things can happen to nonbelievers. When it comes to making our decisions, the key that God is concerned with is that we are trusting and seeking Him. God's desire is for us to align our lives with His Word and His will. ... But that's part of faith, what the writer of the book of Hebrews describes as a belief in things that we cannot see" (Tebow, 85-6).
I love this because I totally agree. God promises to never leave us or forsake us ... He's always with us, no matter what. But He never said that He'd give us all the answers when we need 'em. Sure, He gives us answers when we need 'em sometimes ... He shows us many things, teaches us many lessons, guides and directs us through various circumstances in our lives ... but is He ALWAYS clear? I don't know about you, but I'm with Tim ... God is not always clear. It would be great if God spoke audibly, or like Tim goes on to say in this chapter, it would be nice if God would write messages for us in the clouds. But for reasons only God knows, He doesn't work that way. And it's probably because of that little "f" word - FAITH. God wants us to exercise our faith so that we will grow in Him, and ultimately, become more like Jesus. Cool, huh? :)
I want to share one more cool thought with you ... the thought behind this post.
After I got done reading chapter 8 in Tim's book, I started journaling a prayer to God, talking to Him about this specific part of Tim's book. I immediately thought, "Read your next chapter in Psalms." (I've been reading through the Psalms for quite some time). "It doesn't matter what the next Psalm is, just read it." That's what came to my mind as I asked God some questions in my journal. So I picked up my Bible and turned to Psalm 96.
Verse 8 says ...
"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts!"
That word "offering" is key here, I think. Just like faith is believing in something we cannot see ... an offering is putting our trust in something we cannot see. ... Think about it. Have you ever given an "offering" at church? A tithe is setting aside a certain amount of money each month for God's purposes - usually giving money to your church. And an offering is giving more than your tithe. I like to think of an offering as giving God more than you think you have to give. Maybe some months, you're really tight on money, but you decide to give God your tithe money and then some ... trusting that He will bless it, bless you, multiply it, use it for great things, maybe even reward you for your faith. When we give God an offering, we are giving Him our trust, no matter what the situation and whether or not we know what the outcome is.
I hope I'm not taking this verse out of context or making something up that doesn't align with God's Word. But for me ... I asked God how we can know His will when He doesn't give us His guidance ... or doesn't give it clearly ... and then I went to His Word to find the answer ... and this is what I found - "Mical, no matter what your situation, give Me all the glory; seek My face; and give Me your offering - your worship, a sacrifice - believe without seeing. That's all you really need to know and do."
So no. God doesn't speak audibly. No, He doesn't always give clear direction. He wants to teach us to believe without seeing. He wants us to give Him a sacrifice of praise, an offering of trust ... no matter what happens.
And that's that. My ponderings for the evening. :)