As Eleanor and I were filling in our calendars for the year ahead, we realized that we face the prospect of having 5 graduations and one wedding this summer- and that is just our own GRANDkids! Even with the things we put on our calendar, we admit the reality that we are not just sure what this summer of 2014 will bring. Like you, I’m not too sure what the Spring, or next month, or tomorrow, or . . . well you know how close I can get to this moment with that train of thought.
Our devotional reading this morning was from Hebrews 11:8 “and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” The challenge of course, was to walk by faith and trust the Lord for the future. I guess it is rather self-righteous on my part but I feel like that is the way I’ve been living since we set out from Alabama in 1971, without salary, without promised support, without very much encouragement -except from every missionary who had gone on before us. We had no idea where our Lord was going to take us. I did have some aspirations of returning to a tribe somewhere in the jungles of Paraguay or Bolivia that I had visited or seen from a tiny missionary airplane at 1,000 ft. altitude. I have told our Lord and several people that if He had told me then that I would have a life of itinerant ministry among churches in the English speaking world, I would have said, as politely as you can talk back to the Sovereign God, “No Thank You, Lord! I already have a job doing that. It pays a salary and furnishes a nice house.”
Peter tried that in Acts 10:14– “Not so, Lord.” Now that is as much a contradiction of terminology as ‘airline food’ or ‘smart phone’. If He is Lord, you don’t tell Him what to do and what not to do. Peter received a stern warning from the Master on Who decides what was common and what was unclean.
But if you are going to step out like Abraham, you’ll learn that a one-time leap from Ur of the Chaldeans will not take you all the way to hero status in Hebrews is not the whole story. It is a step by step journey. There were obviously times when Abraham knew where he was going next, for example, when he parted company with Lot and went the opposite direction.
But other times he did not have a clue or a direction. Therefore I must conclude that he did have some liberty in choosing the next step. Like Joshua standing before the land of Canaan, the Lord did not give him a road map. He simply told him ‘possess the land” – all of it. And His promise was “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you;” (Joshua 1:3)
The only “direction” God gave him was KEEP YOUR NOSE IN THE BOOK! Or as the Bible puts it “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8
Eleanor and I want to press on in the year (month, day, moments) ahead by seeking our Lord’s directions in every step. And if He does not get any more specific nor detailed than He did with Joshua, we are still determined to walk by faith. We will walk in the direction He has already pointed us. We will keep our nose in His Word and our eyes open for opportunities to serve Him.