06 February 2005

"Lord, what do you want me to do?"

Acts 9:3-9 (NKJV)
As he (Saul) journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
And he said, "Who are you Lord?"
Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"
Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

I read this last week, and was in awe of Saul's conversion, but I didn't get it. My pastor taught on this passage this morning and the words just shot into me. The lightbulb went on, I got what God was trying to tell me right now.
I have spoken nearly the same words as Saul-"Lord, what do you want me to do?" And I've gotten nearly the same answer-"Go. I will show you." But I don't like to walk blindly into a situation, so I keep asking God for more and more information. "But what specifically do you want me to do?" And basically he tells me not to worry about it.
This morning, I learned that it isn't just because Jesus wants to keep us all in suspense, but he gives instructions one step at a time, so that we don't freak out. If Saul (who became Paul) knew about all the persecution he would receive, all the walking he would do, and the responsibility that comes along with being a disciple of God, do you think he would have walked into that city that day, and waited for further instructions? God knew how much Saul needed to know at that point, and that's all He told him. It only makes sense that He does the same for me. So, why do I keep pestering Him? Perhaps, if I knew what was to come, I would be less willing. Honestly, that scares me a lot. The unknown. I like to say that I love a surprise, but this type of surprise totally freaks me out.
There is another situation where God didn't show the entire picture to one of His disciples. It's in Acts, Chapter 12. When Peter is imprisoned, and God released the shackles from Peter and he walks right out the front door of the prison. Peter thinks he is dreaming. God allowed him to think that way because, perhaps, if Peter knew it was real, he might say something like, "Lord, are you sure this is a good idea? They already despise us and claim that we are lawbreakers. Maybe I should just stay here. If they caught me again, the punishment would surely be worse." But God, knew that in a dream Peter would be willing to follow the angel and leave the prison, just as He had planned. He didn't know where he was going, or what was next, but he followed. I have to remember that God does this stuff for our own good. So, again, why do I keep asking for more specifics? He has promised to always provide for me. He tells me, "For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11) Why, when He has never forsaken me, do I choose not to trust Him? I don't know. For now, I will make the biggest effort possible to trust in Him, to follow Him, and to stop asking, "But after I do that, then what?"
This morning our pastor asked those who heard God calling them to go, to come to the altar and tell Him (God). I went. I got up there and shoved my head as far down as possible and said, "God, I want to follow you, but I am SO scared. I know that others who followed you, suffered much in this world, but I also know that they have received a gift that we cannot even comprehend, by your grace, and your body, and your blood." And I kept saying, "I'm scared. I want to follow you. Help me. Give me strength." I was literally sobbing. I don't think I have ever cried like that when talking to God. I truly am scared, but I'm willing.
Lord God, I AM SCARED. But more importantly, I am willing. I KNOW that you will protect me. And even if I don't know the destination, you will guide me. PLEASE show me where you want me to be. And keep my tongue from asking more than I need to know. Strengthen me, so that I might be strong enough to go and go and go until you tell me to go somewhere else. I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth. I love you Lord.

Footnote: I'd like to remind whoever is in charge of tissues, to remember that the altars should ALWAYS be fully stocked. Thank You.

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