All this week, I’m sharing highlights and insights from our personal journey. Perhaps you’ll find them encouraging. Or maybe a bit challenging. You might even disagree. But however it all goes down, I hope our messiness might help you find your own way home.
In my last post, I confessed our family’s visceral (and sinful) need for approval. The moment our house sold, the voices of other people’s expectations immediately began manipulating like a DC lobbyist. But even after our own version of “campaign finance reform,” there was still something eating at me. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
And then one morning it hit me: I think God is a sadist.
When faced with decisions. Choices. Alternatives. I intuitively assume God’s will is always the least desirable option. The most unappealing. The most painful.
How sick is that?
Does God call us to sacrifice? To lay down our selfish motives? To destroy our idols? Did He warn us there would be suffering, heartache, and pain? Absolutely! But if following Jesus means a life of self-flagellation and the active pursuit of misery, then we need to stop calling it The Good News. Jesus came to bring life, and life more abundantly. (John 10:10).
When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, He gave them the following instructions:
“You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.” (Genesis 2:16-17 MSG)
When it came to finding a new house, we kept asking God for his moral will on the subject. Is it God’s desire for us to live here or there? Big or small? City or suburbs? The conversation went something like this:
“Where do you want us to go, God? Please, tell us.”
“You can eat from any tree in my garden, just stay away from that one.”
“No, no God. Your will. We want to be in your will. Which one do you want?”
“I’m serious, any tree in the garden. Except that good and evil one. Seek wisdom. Seek counsel. Use common sense. Lean into my sovereignty. But choose. Eat freely. Enjoy.”
“Wait God, I can’t be hearing you right. You’ve gotta tell us! We want so desperately to be surrendered. To know that we are smack dab in the middle of your will!”
“Dear Me, Erik – you are! Now please go make the call.”
The reality? We were trying to avoid the responsibility God had given to us. The responsibility to choose. Fear had given way to a false humility. A false servanthood. What we really wanted was inarguable ammo to use against all the internal voices and expectations. A supernatural trump card to justify what we did or did not do. It was about self protection, not self-sacrifice.
And God called our bluff. He set us free, and then laid squarely on our shoulders the responsibility that comes with it. We’re not assembly line machines mindlessly manufacturing the work of the Kingdom. We’re children of the King.
We thought selling our house was about geography. We were wrong.
What lies do you believe about God? Do you struggle with taking responsibility? Do you assume God’s will was the worst possible option?