In the world we live in today where so many of us are constantly goal setting have you ever taken the time to wonder what kind of goals guys like Moses, David, and Joseph set?
You hear it all over the place. I certainly did when I worked at the high end of professional sports. "You have to set your goals and go out there and make things happen for yourself," they said. "Those who wait never get anywhere. You can't stand still unless you want to become another statistic" they added.
While I see what many are trying to communicate through the above statements I also realize today how limiting they can be to our lives. You see all of these sayings begin with us and very much depend on what we are able to muster up and accomplish. Yes, there have been many that have indeed made big gains in their lives that subscribe to this approach. However have you ever wondered what would have happened if guys like Joseph, Moses, David, and even Jesus himself would have chosen to go out and make things happen?
Consider Joseph. He could have escaped prison in an attempt to make it happen for himself yet if he did he would have never come in front of Pharaoh, nor would he had been appointed as the Prime Minister of the most powerful nation in the world at the time. In fact, if we carefully trace back through Joseph's life we will find that not long after having his dreams his life is anything but free. In every new situation, he is further limited to what he is able to do apart from what is right in front of him. As he moves along his life with every new opportunity he is forced into he is more restricted and unable to set any personal goals as his circumstantial life is something that he is unable to impact.
Consider David. He would have probably ended up in jail or killed and would have never become King should he had chosen to kill Saul when he had the chance. Consider Moses. He too most probably would have also ended up in much the same way and Jesus himself would have probably blown it all out of the water before it even began. So why is it that while in the world we are told to go out and make it happen, with God often the way to make it happen is to wait and be still?
For a long time, I struggled with this thought until a conversation I had a few years back with a close friend of mine Kevin Devries, who is the Founder of Grace Explorations in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While chatting with him over Skype we began to unpack the Bible verse that says - "many are called but few are chosen". For a long time, I stumbled on this statement not really understanding what it actually meant. Time and time again I struggled with the latter part of it, especially when I took into consideration the unmerited and unconditional grace of God I so passionately love to share with others.
Yet after tossing ideas back and forth we began to realize that guys like Moses, David, Joseph, and even Jesus - who were clearly called and chosen - chose to wait during their years in obscurity instead of trying to make it happen.
Instead of hustling and rushing about they chose to listen to the emerging stillness they carried within that enabled them to understand that in spite of what their restricting circumstances told them, what had been promised and been apportioned to their lives would somehow be delivered in full. But most importantly we see how none of them went after their destinies but instead, their destinies came after them. In other words, they didn't make the choice but instead waited for the appointed time to be led into what they had been chosen for.
You see I am beginning to understand than in our lives when all the doors outside of us are closed it is normally because God desires to open something new within us. If we remain still we begin to see that the apparent limitations outside are designed so that we can begin to slowly unpack the truth of our identity within, which is the place from where we will be able to fulfill the goals God has set for our lives.
Today I also understand that our heart where our true identity resides is a very powerful magnet. This means that like a normal magnet it works best when it is still. This stillness is not something we learn through clever breathing or some transcendent exercise. Though these can help the only thing that will truly cause our hearts to be still is allowing God to heal and set us free, and this normally happens best within a space of obscurity and restriction. A wounded heart on the other hand is incapable of allowing stillness within our lives, as it desperately looks for success outside of it to try and calm the suffering and insecurity that is going on within it. This means that it spends all of its time chasing things outside, unlike a still heart that is able to attract and allow the abundant destiny that God has already assigned to it to find it. I guess this is why God tells David to Be Still in Psalm 46 as it is only then that he will be able to understand that God is God, and what is meant to find him, and us, will.
Moses was found by a burning bush that led him to liberate God's people.
Joseph was found by a Royal Chariot that led him to manage the most powerful nation in the known world.
David was found by having a meeting with the tribes of Israel that led him to assume his place as the greatest and most significant King that Israel has ever had.
Their destinies found them and they will also find us if we stop chasing them away.
How long this will take as we can see with these characters in the Bible is anyone's guess. What matters is that if we choose to undertake the path of awakening and healing we will also be able to wait no matter how obscure our circumstances will be. This is because as we enter into the stillness within our new and healed hearts we will be able to see how insignificant any goal and gain we make outside really is unless it is delivered by the one that created us.
The reality is that if we want to do something great for ourselves we then have to go out and make it happen. However, if we want our lives to be part of something significant that will impact the multitudes and possibly change the course of history then we will have to wait for God to set it all up.
Our role while we wait is to respond to whatever is before us accordingly never knowing what may be the key that leads us to the very place where we are chosen - like Joseph when he revealed the dreams of the cupbearer and baker in prison or David delivering some sandwiches to his brothers.
Finally trust me when I tell you that I am well versed in how gut-wrenching it can be to wait in obscurity, and of course while we do it how easy it is to wonder if this is probably it and there will not be anything better for us. Yet as we do let us not forget that this is exactly what real faith and mystery are all about - and that both of these will always require bigger guts than most of us realize.
Remember - Those that are chosen choose well.
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