It can be so easy to get caught up in trying to see around the bend farther down the road. Somehow, we can have this crazy thought that if I know what is out there ahead, I can prepare for it, be ready, avoid things, or rise above things.
Sometimes the Lord gives us a glimpse of that bend. He certainly did that with the prophets in the Bible when He sometimes looked much farther into the future, but most of the time our steps happen one at a time with enough light for that step, enough grace for each moment.
Our relationship with the Lord is personal and the path He has in mind is as well, but that doesn’t mean that we are called to be an island or walk out this life in isolation. Each path is personal because He is using each of us in a specific way, place, and time for how He is building his kingdom, his church, his bride. We are being fashioned as part of the design and only He can see the “big picture” and the call that is ours.
We might be thinking “but” or “what if, ” without considering that He knows us better than we know ourselves whether we are prone to look more deeply into ourselves or prefer to take life as it comes. And because we do not know ourselves fully, we can operate in our relationships without a deeper awareness of others.
“Most people don’t want to see inside a person’s soul. They judge by what’s on the outside. It’s easier to look on the outside than to really look on the inside.”From The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry
How much we miss as a result of that small view from the outside! But the Lord isn’t like that at all. Even though He clearly sees the outside of each one of us, He (as no one else) looks into the deepest part of us, sees our soul in whatever condition it may be and calls us anyway. He looks down the path we are on and sets a new direction with clarity about the destination and the purpose beyond our limited view.
It’s clear that the Lord chooses those most of us would pass over because we are looking at the outside.
“For it is one of the most extraordinary aspects of the good news that God uses bad men to accomplish his good purposes. The great paradox of judgment is that evil becomes fuel in the furnace of salvation.”From Run with the Horses by Eugene Peterson
Some of those “bad men” (or women) are transformed in the process.
Some of those transformations are obvious like when Saul gets stopped in his tracks on the road to Damascus where he was heading to persecute new Christian believers. He is physically blinded so he can discover he has been spiritually blind all along despite his zeal and study of the Torah.
“Jesus never hesitates when it comes to getting personal with his followers.”From The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg
And that is true before we choose Him as well as after we do. Don’t forget He chooses us first. We are the ones slow on the uptake. And don’t get too much in a twist about what He sees in us. He knows what He is getting from the very beginning.
It is not unusual for us to look out at someone else or pick a biblical hero and see that, but I think He would have us know that it is no different for you and me. He knew us before we were known, before we arrived on the scene we are in. He had the scene set for us.
Those famous disciples of his… Look at how each was unique and so often considered to be the least qualified. Who would have chosen the rough and rowdy Simon (a.k.a Peter)? Yet the moment his brother, Andrew, introduced him to Jesus, Jesus changed his name to Peter, long before He worked on his character. He saw what no one else saw – the rock He would use to establish the church when He ascended into heaven knowing then that Peter would understand the foundational rock was Jesus with whom he had spent three years following after he gave up fishing and became a fisher of men.
And what about Matthew, the tax collector everyone hated, who would have guessed he would be called or be shaped into the man who wrote one of the gospels?
If we look beyond some of the disciples we might hear about the most, have you ever considered what Jesus saw in Nathaniel? He brazenly asked, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” But when Jesus called him as a man whom He sees as not having any guile, He told Nathaniel that He saw him under the fig tree. We have no information about what Jesus saw or what was happening or when that scene took place under the fig tree. Jesus knew him before he was known, before he was called because it’s personal.
“Some of the disciples found Jesus on their faith journey; others discovered Jesus by listening to someone else’s faith journey. In every instance, Jesus was incredibly personal.”From The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg
Don’t you see it is still the same with each of us?
“Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.”Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)
I love that He is personal with me (and you). When we really tune in and listen to his voice, move beyond reading about Him and enter into relationship with Him, the relationship becomes like no other.
“He says things to us that might be meaningless to someone else, but for us they make all the difference. They make God real and remind us that God is near. When a spiritual truth comes alive in my heart, it transforms me.”From The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg
“God does not send us into the dangerous and exciting life of faith because we are qualified; he chooses us in order to qualify us for what he wants us to be and do…”From Run with the Horses by Eugene Peterson