And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ “ (Judges 7:2)
At the beginning of this journey, Bonnie and I looked at all the obstacles in the way of God’s direction to go “soon,” and knew it would take Divine intervention to make it all happen. The aviation/mechanic training begins the second full week of September. We had the option of waiting to go in January, but felt that only our fear of not having enough time for the move held us back. We gave that fear to God, and feel more at peace about September.
From that viewpoint, Bonnie and I have taken the steps to ready ourselves for the earlier departure. I gave my notice at work, and will be working my last day on July 29. Bonnie’s getting things together for charity and yard sales. I’ve put all of my energies into working on the yard, the kitchen (tiling project that’s been sitting there for ages), and eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle to rid us of our years of accumulated distractions.
And yet, I find myself drifting away from worship and communion with the One who started all of this. Why? Am I not doing all of this for Him?
I find my struggle lies with idolatry. We were made to worship. We can’t avoid it. We worship 24/7/365. But, what is the object of our worship? What occupies that top slot in our thinking, our actions, our energy? I just told you what has been occupying all of my time and energy. Once again, I have placed the created above the Creator. God has blessed us with a calling to bring the gospel to the unreached, and I’ve turned that calling into my idol.
Can you just imagine the Lord standing there patiently, maybe tapping his foot, saying to me “So....remember that one time when you said I was going to have to do the work here? Are you planning on stepping aside any time soon? Are you going to claim the glory, saying your own hand has saved you?”
I’m already exhausted. I’m grumpy with my family. I fear not being able to accomplish every task that needs accomplishing. My prayers are nearly non-existant, my devotions are suffering, and I feel further from communion with God than when He first called me, and that’s saying something.
Satan is tricky - he’s insidious. His minions know my personality, and how best to get to me. They know I feel unworthy of this calling, and that I want to earn God’s grace through work. But, that’s the funny thing about grace - it’s undeserved favor, so I CAN’T earn it. But, by getting me to focus on the work, rather than the One Who Saves, I am made ineffective for Christ. I keep forgetting my place on the vine: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) In focusing on Christ, I will bear fruit. The reverse does not apply: I cannot hope to grow closer to Christ by trying to bear fruit through my own work.
Lord, turn me from these idols, I want to worship you. However you wish to use me, I want to be used, but only with you as my focus. I know you have a plan for all the rest; don’t let me be distracted by worry, doubt, the timetable, or the insurmountable tasks ahead. Like Peter’s experience in walking to meet you on the water, I know we’ll be just fine as long as we keep our eyes on you. Thank you for your promises, and your unfailing faithfulness in keeping those promises. Amen.