Sunday, February 19, 2017

All the Information You Need

As we’ve been preparing for our move to Korea, we’ve been praying for open minds to absorb all we can. I’ve always been amazed at how children are able to pick up new languages so easily, while adults struggle and strain to say just a few phrases. As Jesus says, the Kingdom of Heaven is given to those who are like little children with open minds and open hearts, humble and eager to learn what they’re taught.  

I recently watched a lecture on learning new languages, and a line that the speaker said really stood out: Be tolerant of ambiguity. 

He was referring to language learners who are picky about every detail of why a word is used, how exactly the grammar works and why there’s no perfect translation for that word. Those people learn the slowest, and often just give up in frustration, believing that either they aren’t smart enough, or the language is too tough. But the flexible ones who don’t demand explanations for everything, who just keep listening, learning, observing, imitating and believing that sooner or later they’ll get it – they’re the ones who learn on a deeper, more instinctive level. They’re not afraid to feel a bit lost and confused because they are certain that eventually it will all make sense. They’re the ones who don’t mind fumbling and bumbling along and sounding funny, because they know it’s all part of the process, and they even laugh at themselves as well, which actually helps them learn from their mistakes. Do you see the spiritual corollary here?

Jesus’ only words to Jairus were, “don’t be afraid, just believe,” when the devastating news of his little daughter’s death came to him. “Leave your father’s household and go to a country that I will show you,” God simply told Abram out of the blue. “Why are you crying out to me, Moses? Stretch out your hand over the water,” God said as Moses and several million Hebrews were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. If God had been speaking to closed-minded men, they would have been full of questions, exasperating questions. “What? How can you say that? Don’t you see what’s going on? Listen God, I need some explanations here...”  

But whoever has a living and active faith focuses on what they do know, and don’t waste time on what they don’t know. If God calls you to sacrifice a job, a friend, a hobby, a habit, a fear – He will provide all you need to make it happen, and then reward you beyond your dreams. Exactly how, when, and where He’ll provide is not always our business to know. Sometimes we only find out these details right before they happen or even as they’re happening! If that means we have to bumble along, laugh at ourselves, wait and do our best with the little that we know, then that’s what He expects of us , and that’s what pleases Him.  Remember, great trials of faith don’t always come in heroic life-or-death moments. They often come in those awkward ambiguous phases. But like children, that’s when we learn the most.   

Maybe you’ve known for a while that God has been calling you to do something, change something, sacrifice something, reach out to someone, or just simply act in faith. Maybe you’ve been resisting because you want all the details charted out for you in advance. So focus on what you do know – He wants you to do it. You also know that His eyes range back and forth throughout the world to strengthen those who are fully devoted to Him. You can’t use the excuse that it’s too hard, because He’s promised to come to your aid. That’s all the information you need. Those truths outweigh all the uncertainties. So, go ahead, act on it. Tolerate the ambiguities, and watch how much easier blessings come your way as you do.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes, who is risen, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  Romans 8:31-34 MEV

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