Why can’t God tell us exactly what he wants us to do? God instructs us through his Word, but recently I’ve wondered whether he tells us enough.
Every night my husband and I make it a point to come together and read the Bible. It’s a time for us to be in the Word daily and to discuss what we’re reading. Sometimes we have an “Ah-ha!” moment, other times we might have to look up a passage or verse to figure out, “HUH?” while scratching our heads. Then, there are those times when I stop and speak out in frustration.
This frustration part happened recently while my husband and I were reading from Exodus. Yes, Exodus, during the second half of the book where all the instruction takes place. As we were reading I was struck with this thought:
“Why can’t God tell us exactly what to do?”
In detail God gave Moses instructions for him to pass along to the Israelites in the desert about what they were to make, how it was to be made (again, in detail) with exact measurements, what metals to use, what materials to use, even down to the minute details of what was to be sewn on the hem of the garments Aaron and his sons were to wear as priests. He even told Moses who should make what. Colors, placements, details, details, details.
And if that weren’t enough, the Bible tells us (in detail) exactly what the Israelites did (and that means re-reading everything we had just read before). No, I’m not going to tell you how boring that was to read. What bothered me at that time was that God. Told. Them. Exactly. What. To. Do. Detail by scrupulous detail. No room for imagination, no room for error.
So then, why can’t, or should I say, doesn’t, he do the same for us?
We seek him and wait for an answer. Sometimes the answer comes in a whisper or a dream. Sometimes it comes from the words of another. But how many times has it been the exact directions of what to do and how? I can’t remember a single instance in my life.
Right now my husband and I are in a sort of waiting game. We have felt for a while now that we need to sell our house and purchase a larger one. The reason for this is because we feel we are being called to take people in, and when you have a 3 bedroom, 1350sqft raised ranch on .18 acres of land with 6 people and a dog already filling the space, it makes it rather difficult. So now we’re looking for a larger home that can easily accommodate at least one extra person (if not a small family of persons). God gave us this heart for others, but God’s not telling us exactly how to do this.
Here’s what I want: I want God to say who to get to fix up our home for selling and what exactly we should fix, how much we should spend on that venture, when we should sell, who should sell our house, how much we should list it for. I want him to tell us exactly what town we should be living in (we have 3 to choose from plus a village so our kids don’t have to change schools), how big of a house, what size land, and what neighborhood, and I want to hear how much we’re supposed to spend on this new house.
It’s not too much to ask, is it? But he’s not telling us. At least, he’s not sitting across from us at the dining room table telling us exactly what we need to do to get our place ready, and what we need to be seeking for our new place. All he’s doing is giving us stirrings in our heart (we call that the Holy Spirit!), and people who have a word to speak over us. But. No. Details!
But…do I want those details? That’s what I started pondering during this “Gah!” with my husband. Do we really want God to tell us exactly how it is to be done, or do we want to look to him every step of the way, relying on him to help us make the next choice, the right decision? There is a joy in the journey, isn’t there? Even if it doesn’t feel very joyful at the time? James tells us to “consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds. And why? “…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2)
Knowing how my life has played out thus far, I know that looking back and seeing how far I’ve come is all part of the fun. Sure, there are tears, frustrations, uneasiness, concerns, and “What Ifs,” but it’s all part of the journey, and we can see how those have actually made us stronger and ready to rely on God even more for our next task. Relying on God. As a human it’s not always easy, but it’s oh so worth it.
And, maybe, just maybe, God enjoys it when we seek him?
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” Lamentations 3:25
Oh Lord, you know my heart, you know the way, and yet you let me find it without spelling it out for me. Thank you for letting me rely on you every step of the way, seeking your counsel and trusting in you. When I seek your way, your will, I know that the end will be the right one. It won’t be my selfishness leading, but you. Thank you, Lord, for all that you do. In your name I pray, Amen.