"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

1/3/09

Going Out

I'm guessing this will be the first in a series of blogs based on insights I get from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest. My Bible-in-a-year plan for 2009 includes this devotional (along with reading through the Message paraphrase using a chronological OT/NT schedule). If I'm already inspired to write with the SECOND one I've read, it's a pretty sure thing at least some of the 363 that follow will do the same.

Friday was a fun day for my family: especially the younger members. My husband and I decided to take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. With only a couple of days until Christmas break is over, we knew they would love it.

So, starting on Tuesday, we told them there would be a surprise for them on Friday. They had a lot of fun guessing what it would be throughout the week, and we did answer a few questions they asked (Yes, we are going somewhere. Yes, you have been there before. No, we're not leaving the country.), but not all. Every time they guessed a specific place, we would say "maybe." We even made a few suggestions. (Maybe we're going to the doctor's office. Perhaps it's a trip to the gas station.) And they made several valid guesses, one of which was our actual destination (by Annika, by the way).

Well, by Friday, we had whipped the kids into a frenzy of anticipation. We couldn't leave early enough. And, when we got there, they were not disappointed. And, of course, my beautiful daughter was so proud to announce that "I knew we were going to Chuck E. Cheese."

The whole incident reminded me of my morning devotional reading from My Utmost for His Highest. The January 2 reading was based on Hebrews 11:8, part of "the hall of faith."
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. NIV
In a very concrete way, that is exactly what my children did on Friday. They went with us with no idea where they were going. They didn't fight us, or fear that we might be taking them, for instance, to their death. They asked questions, sure, but eventually chose to go along for the ride because they trusted the ones who were leading them. And we did not disappoint.

The Lord is ultimately more trustworthy than my husband and I are, of course. While Andrew and Annika had the right to doubt their parents' sincerity and care (Marc and I are selfish humans, after all), we have no right to do so toward our Father. And He often asks us to "go out," just as Abraham (and my children) did, trusting not the location, but the One directing the journey. And trust is certainly the key.
Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is! Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to "go out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to "go out" through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, January 2)
God's plan is always best, and it is often part of his grand scheme that we not know the details, for faith and trust are built from "walking blind," so to speak. It is not trust to for me to follow someone to a familiar location. When I am led on an unfamiliar path, however, my trust is increased, as is my faith. I know He will lead me to the best, no matter where it is.
One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, "What do you expect to do?" You don't know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. (Chambers)
This is truly the key, isn't it? And it is certainly not easy. I am embarrassed to admit how many times I have hesitated, or even avoided, "going out" because I did not know where God wanted me to go, or what He expected me to do. I was afraid of what I might encounter, of the uncomfortable position He might put me in, of having to give up my selfish desires for His perfect ones.

But there is no reason to fear or worry, for it is God we're talking about here. There is no One upon whom it is safer to depend. So "go out" boldly and without fear.
He will never disappoint.
Heavenly Father, help me to trust You completely, even and especially when Your purposes and my destination are unclear. Like my children, help me to remember that You do not give bad gifts, and that You will never lead me down a wrong path. Help me to be willing to "go out" in every area of my life, trusting You completely. Help me, once again, to learn faith from my children, the kind of faith You wish all of us to have. I pray You would guide me, and I would listen, on my "going out" in every aspect of my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

10 comments:

  1. Oh, this is so true, and how many times I hesitate when I should know by now that God has always been my guide, and He is trust-worthy! Good connection to your kids and their faith in you and your hubby, Jo.

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  2. I have been disappointed so many times, but never once has HE disappointed me. I love that.

    This is an incredible post...one that will leave me chewing for a while.

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  3. I'll bet you and Marc had a blast teasing the kids into a frenzy. What a great analogy to following our Father. Going out in faith, trusting where He leads because we trust HIM!

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  4. And a another inspirational daily message! I love reading your thougts, JoAnne! Thanks!

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  5. It must really grieve our Father when we don't trust Him, after He has proven Himself so faithful! May we always trust Him as He deserves to be trusted!

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  6. There was a time in my life when I realized that God was raising the challenges - but also my level of expectation - of what to expect from Him - and I believe He spoke to my heart, "You will not be disappointed." Simply, I am hooked on following, no matter the path! Joanne, this writing is such a great evidence of your own faith and walk with Him. Blessings!

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  7. I just love this post. As I face a new year filled with twists and turns and yet to be realized "and it came to pass"'s...

    I know my Father is trustworthy. He's seen it from beginning to end and is faithful to walk each step of the journey with me. My job?

    Resting in his love and confidence as we go.

    peace to you this week, friend~elaine

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  8. Wonderful analogy, JO! I love "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers and reading again myself. Thank you for your own insights.

    Vonnie

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  9. So very true! Great analogy with the kiddos!

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  10. I'm finally here, reading this--and maybe I wasn't suposed to read it until I'd read through part of Abraham's account in Genesis. This is excellent and soooo well put! I hesitate too, and bellyache that I don't know where and how, but if I knew I'd never go...God is so good. And He NEVER disappoints! Excellent! Thank you, sweetie!!

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