I would like to have the mindset that I am excited to see what God is going to do. That he has been planning great works, and I will be amazed when I see Him work.
This has happened so much in the past. We have been amazed to see how God has worked here in Auburn, the number of people who have studied the Bible and gotten baptized. I have been amazed to see how God has worked in the lives of my loved ones.
Often, though I feel that I am in a rut where I just expect God to conform to the pattern I am used to. I invite people and reach out to people, but they don’t come. This becomes my unconcious expectation, my way of thinking, my definition of life. I really want to get out of my rut, find a new way of doing things, a new pattern of thinking.
I have been studying the prophets in chronological order, and just finished Zephaniah. Since Jeremiah preached for many years, I have been going back and forth with this book, and haven’t finished it. Today I read Jeremiah 36, where Jeremiah has his prophesies written on a scroll and taken to be read to the king. The officials seem to take the prophesies seriously, but the king burns the scroll in the fire, bit by bit, after he reads it. Jeremiah writes the same words on a scroll again.
I want to say that I would never be like that, that I would never ignore the Lord’s words. But if I am stuck in a rut, do I not become unbelieving of God’s promises, insensitive to what He is doing? Jehoiakim does not believe bad things will happen. I do not believe good things will happen.
Yet the word is constant. Jeremiah writes it again. The truth is not going away. No matter what my feelings say, God is going to act, and He is going to act in a great way. But it could be somewhere else that He acts. It could be that He can’t do many miracles around me because of my unbelief.
Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told
I am moving on to Habakkuk. What a perfect verse this is, that I just read in Chapter 1. I started writing this entry about amazement, and I hadn’t read this verse!
Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish. (Isa 29:14)
God’s works will always be more than I can plan for. I want to plan the future, put it order myself. But in the process, I become entrenched in the limitations of my plans. I am only carrying out things in my way, and I am hampered by my weaknesses, which define the paramaters of my efforts. But when I look to God, there are no limits. My wisdom is my handicap. My reliance on having to be the organizer is the thing that keeps me in the rut, keeps me in the realm of feeble attempts.
Jesus constantly amazed people. They were amazed at his teaching, and at his deeds, All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” (Luke 4:36)
Some of it has to do with perspective. I should be more amazed at the daily ways God is working in my life, by each Bible study I have with someone, each person in my life, each victory, each thing that works out. I should be amazed as I remember what He has done in the past.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken (Luke 5)
This story is such a great illustration of what I am studying today. Simon hadn’t caught anything in his nets. He was in a rut of believing that there were no fish to be caught. Jesus told him to cast his nets in a different way, on the other side. Perhaps it is that I carry things out in the same ways, and have no success, and I think it is useless. But Jesus just wants me to try something a little different, to try again in a different way. That means I will constantly be getting uncomfortable.
The key is that Peter fell at Jesus’s feet when he astonished by how Jesus had worked. I need to stay at Jesus’s feet. I need to stay utterly humble. Peter went on to follow Jesus. I need to follow Jesus, and I will be amazed at the things that happpen in unexpected ways. But if I lead the way, it will be like I have fished all night and haven’t caught a thing.