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The Good and the Perfect
1 August 2010
Now that I am entering my eighth month of unemployment, you may be wondering about what's happening with me finding my next job. Well, actually, I've been wondering too!
"My soul waits for Yahweh more than watchmen wait for the morning" (Psalm 130:6). Photo: Sunrise from Mt. Hood, Oregon, by Brian Byrd, July 2010.
Ever since I was dumped by the ElijahList (see The Agony and the Ecstasy), I have had a strong sense that God has something specific for me to do, and that I need to wait until He reveals what that is. And I keep feeling like this country, or even the entire world, is on the verge of big changes, which will have a profound effect on my employment possibilities. Well, we will see.
Right now I feel in such a limbo. The professional work I have the training and experience to do is computer programming, database development, and Web site creation. But I'm feeling pretty burned out with that kind of work. I would like to do something else, but I don't know what. And who would want to hire me for a job that I have never done? I'm bored and fed up with the computer work I know how to do, but that's the only thing I'm qualified for. What a pickle!
I do have a strange sense that God has something else for me, but I have no idea what. And this waiting is driving my crazy! I also feel the unspoken expectation from family, friends, and society to be a responsible husband and father by hurrying up and finding a good paying job as soon as possible so I can provide for my family. Of course, with the current state of the economy, finding any kind of decent job is a whole other issue! Actually, we are in good financial shape right now, so it is not urgent that I find a job ASAP.
Recently I received a newsletter from a ministry that I really respect (and support financially on a monthly basis) — Emmaus Way in Israel. There were a number of passages in the letter that seemed to speak into my current circumstances. At the beginning of the letter, reference is made to the story in the Bible about the Israelites being led out of Egypt into the Promised Land. And then the story of the twelve spies, ten of which end up encouraging the people in their unbelief, while only two, Joshua and Caleb, continued to trust in God. Now I will share with you parts of the letter that spoke to me:
Can we get our minds around the fact that only two out of several hundred thousand adults, Joshua and Caleb, were wholeheartedly following the Lord? This stands to give some encouragement to those who think there must be something wrong with them because they seem to be moving in the opposite direction of most everyone else around them.Then they share about a friend of theirs who was sensing things along the same line of thought:
As Israel then stood poised to enter a land flowing with milk and honey, the Body of Messiah (in Israel and the nations) stands today at the precipice of a spiritual quantum leap that will cause a shift in our perception of reality akin to going from bondage to freedom. Does that sound strange? Paul wrote to the gentile believers in Romans 11 that when Israel comes to faith it will be life from the dead. In other words, looking back, where we are presently will appear as if we were dead....
When was the last time we stepped out of the boat not knowing what the next step would be?...Yeshua [Jesus] Himself said and did nothing on His own authority. Even though He undoubtedly knew His father's heart and will, He waited until He saw or heard it from above. Is this our orientation?...Do we know what it means to wait or hope on God, being bound together with Him such that unless or until He moves it is nigh unto impossible for us to take a step or utter a word? Do we hunger for such dependence?...
Is everything just fine? Or do you sense that we are in line for a radical shift? So...what might "God's ways are not our ways" look like?...If we are motivated by how much we are accomplishing, we are living before men, not God. If we know God wants to do more, how can we continue to settle for less?...Has there ever been a revival or an awakening apart from people stepping out of the norm in a moment of desperation?... God wants to take us to a new place (spiritually speaking) and is asking us to stop, wait, and listen.... Let us consider that the difference between the good and the perfect is oh so subtle, yet they are worlds apart.
She was impressed that God was sad because we believers don't come to Him to just sit and listen.... She sensed a driving need to stop all her speaking and religious activities and simply come and listen. It struck her that in all we do for Him, we rarely wait long enough to discern His presence. She sensed the Holy Spirit asking her to let Him breathe. Can you imagine... our inability or unwillingness to relinquish control actually leaves God feeling suffocated? We cry out to God... "Set me free." And God answers back, "Would you set Me free?"In light of all that, if I want to stay true to God, if I want to walk in the light I have been given, then I need to continue to stop, wait, and listen... to wait on God and hope in Him, and trust that when the time is right He will clearly show me what my next step is regarding what I am supposed to be doing in life.
In the Bible, the life of Abraham is an example — and also a warning — for us. Although he was an old man, God promised that he would have a son. But after quite a few years, Abraham ran out of patience waiting for God to fulfill His promise. So he took matters into his own hands, and fathered a child, Ishmael, outside of God's will and plan. (You can read more about the unfortunate consequences of this decision in my article Enmity and Reconciliation). But more than 10 years after that mistake, God finally fulfilled His promise to Abraham in His own way and timing.
I definitely don't want to follow Abraham's bad example of not trusting in God completely, and being too impatient to wait for His way and timing. I for sure don't want to create an Ishmael, and experience unfortunate consequences for the rest of my life. So if I truly want to be a follower of Yeshua, then there is only one way for me to proceed: in faith and trust, and not in doubt and unbelief. I must wait.
In the natural realm, as children progress through their 13 or 17 or more years of school, it is obvious that their lessons get harder as they become more mature. Learning about physics at university is a far cry from learning the days of the week in kindergarten!
So it is with us pilgrims as we journey in the spiritual realm. Our lessons of faith, and our tests of faith, get harder and harder as we go on. This is only to be expected. What kind of progress would we make if, after many years of following Yeshua, we still had only the easy tests from spiritual kindergarten? The only thing that makes our faith stretch and grow and strengthen is for our faith to be tested by more and more difficult and challenging situations.
A number of times now since we moved to Albany about four years ago, I have sensed God saying to my inner being: "You've graduated from the previous level. The old tests are too easy for you. Now you will have new tests that will be more difficult." In one sense that is discouraging, because the new tests are much harder and more painful. But in another sense I guess it is encouraging, because it shows that I AM making progress, even though I often feel like I'm not making any at all (or that I'm even regressing). Apparently Yeshua has my spiritual training firmly in hand.
So, please pray for me, that I will stay in tune with the Holy Spirit, and be ready when He finally reveals to me what He has planned for me to do. Until then, I will be actively waiting on Him.
I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. I keep looking to Yahweh my God for His mercy, just as a servant keeps his eyes on his master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal. (Psalm 123:1-2)
Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.... For Yahweh is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for Him. (Isaiah 30:21,18b)
This article is 2nd a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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