Sunday, January 19, 2014

I Will Follow

Our church is currently doing a year-long series of reading through the Bible, called Recalculating. This series has already had such a deep impact on my life, on my understanding of scripture, as well as on my understanding of how God is working in every little piece toward His plan of redemption. 

Today in church, our lead pastor, gave an incredibly challenging message titled, "View from Here". We walked through the story of Joseph in scriptures and all that that man encountered in his life. (If you're not sure about the entirety of this story, read Genesis 37-50). I really reflected quite a bit on the truth found in this story.

Here is a man that was honest, upright, and had incredible integrity in situations that most men would run into to. Yet, how many times in his life did he look at his situations and think, "God, what the heck? What are you doing here? Where are you?" He told the truth of his dreams to his brothers and was thrown into a dirt pit, with no water, and then they sold him into slavery. He ran from Potipher's lustrous wife and was imprisoned for years for something he didn't do.  Yet God blesses him and those who are around Joseph in his broken situations. 

Joseph's life was messy and full of a lot of pain...

and yet God had a plan.

Joseph's messy story was essential to God's redemptive plan for humanity. Yet...Joseph did not see this. He didn't understand his circumstances when he was in them. He didn't have the joy of just 'reading ahead' like we can do to see why all of this was happening. Instead, he waited years to see just a part of the plan that God had for his life.

One thought that our pastor posed today was a challenge to look at these tales that you encounter in scripture, not just as stories. Instead, these are stories of real people experiencing real pain

But amidst these awful and frustrating situations, God has a plan. Regardless of the view that Joseph had of his own life, God had a plan. Joseph's view didn't matter. God's did.

Sometimes we don't ... and we won't ... understand the situations of our life. We might never get to see the 'why' behind the pain that we experience. BUT we can trust our God when we don't understand. We can't always trust our view but we can trust the One that has the whole plan in view. 

Today I've been contemplating what this looks like in my life. Can I follow when I don't see what's ahead? Can I trust that, no matter how little what's going on matches my plans, that God's got a plan in place? Can I ...No, will I ... choose to find peace and rest in that fact?

The Lord's been laying these thoughts subtly on my heart over the past week. Through all my devotions and in all my conversations, God's just been laying on my heart: "Amanda, just wait. My plan is bigger and greater than what is in your view. Just wait my child. Just wait for my big finale."

Although those gentle words that He is speaking to me are slightly unsettling because I have to choose to surrender, I find peace there. 

Today this all came together for me as I heard a song tonight that captured it all. The beautiful lyrics say this: (Check out the video for this song below).

When the sea is calm and all is right
When I feel Your favor flood my life

Even in the good, I'll follow You
Even in the good, I'll follow You

When the boat is tossed upon the waves
When I wonder if You'll keep me safe
Even in the storms, I'll follow You
Even in the storms, I'll follow You

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

When I see the wicked prospering
When I feel I have no voice to sing
Even in the want, I'll follow You
Even in the want, I'll follow You

When I find myself so far from home
And You lead me somewhere I don't wanna go
Even in my death, I'll follow You
Even in my death, I'll follow You

When I come to end this race I've run
And I receive the prize that Christ has won
I will be with You in Paradise
I will be with You in Paradise

Are these words not beautiful? Yet, they are impossible to sing (maybe even speak) if you do not believe what you are saying

Following someone is a complete act of trust. Following means that there's no leading involved. Seems simple enough right? And yet so many times, I have tried to take the reigns from God and ask Him to follow me and just work all my ways for the good. You cannot lead and follow.

Tonight I have to step back and I have to surrender. I have to lay it down and commit every aspect of my life to my leader. I have to become only a follower. 

God, would you make me a follower? Would you help me let you lead in everything - the good and the bad?

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