ever feel really asinine while following God? me neither.
especially as i keep setting my face towards law school, all while well-intentioned law student/lawyer friends deter me as though i were about to walk into speeding tractor-trailer.
i find myself simultaneously humbled and comforted when i realize my life’s wavelength bends at a similar frequency with others’. nathan salley — salley, or sal pal, if you’re into nicknames — is one such person whose trajectory thus far gives me solace. surely if i find myself in the company of such a solid, rockstar, missional snapshooting Jesus lover, perhaps i’m not a spiritual dunce after all.
so, read on, reader, and enjoy salley’s simple yet sage thoughts. while the devil’s sometimes in the details, i’m reminded the whole earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. and as one florence welch sings,
“it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back / so shake him off”…and without further ado…
What do you do when it feels like God’s will keeps changing?
What’s God’s will? I’m gonna cut to the chase. You ready?
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sounds pretty cut and dry. Not sure I need a Haley’s Bible Handbook to figure this puppy out.
Step 1: Rejoice
Step 2: Pray
Step 3: Give thanks
Result: This is God’s will for your life.
You feel/hear the call to go abroad and become a missionary. You’re gonna start an NGO; kiss orphan babies and kick traffickers in the balls.
After one year, you’re not so sure you heard right. The rice gives you constant gas. Malaria actually does suck. And your spouse is starting to look like Old Gregg.
Did you hear right? The dream didn’t play out how you imagined. I mean, yeah, you knew it would be hard…but this hard?
Here’s the thing: I don’t think God’s will changes. A call may change, but His will is constant.
I do think our expectations of what we feel God’s will should look like changes. Circumstances arise, we freak out, and immediately forget the promises God made us.
The difference between earthly fathers and our Heavenly Daddy is that His promises don’t fail. We’re just set to a different timeframe on when we think said promise should be out of the microwave.
Like, now. Today. Actually, yesterday would be better.
We live in a time in history that offers us opportunities that in the past were almost inconceivable. You don’t have to live the status quo – you’d don’t have to do what your parents did — if you want to move to Tibet with Brad Pitt for seven years on a whim, there’s probably a way to do it. But often this sense of entitlement sets us up for unrealistic expectations.
Call vs. Will
Shouldn’t a call from the Lord happen more easily, or at least close to how we thought? Isn’t that why we went out of our way to respond when he called out, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
I’ve wondered if Isaiah wasn’t the only one in the room who heard the same call, but rather was the only one to have answered it, “Here I am. Send me.”
Please note: Just because heeding the call turned out to be a hot mess, doesn’t mean that
A) you didn’t hear right
B) you failed
because the call didn’t change.
Do we only believe we’ve heard God’s will when things are going our way? Doubt is usually the enemy’s first attack: “Are you sure you really heard that?”
We often think a shut door means God doesn’t want us there — that what’s behind said door is no longer for us. I asked the head of a business in India that supports women freed from the sex trade what she prays for.
“Sometimes I pray that God would kick the f**king doors down,” she answered.
Be on the Offensive, People
Listening is good. Waiting for confirmation is good; it’s healthy, the Lord uses it. But sometimes we use it as a crutch not to move or even be present.
Sometimes the call does change…but sometimes we try to change it when things don’t go our way. Let’s stop second guessing if the call was right in the first place, based on how well our experience went while heeding the call.
Sounds like if we rejoice, pray, and give thanks, we’re in His will. Also, sounds like much of His will is contingent on us being present and a part of the decision making process.
My opinion is God’s will doesn’t change.