by Pastor Scott Godinez
One of the things that always gets under my skin quicker, and more consistently than anything else is when I miss a turn while driving. My wife can attest my overreactions haven’t always been quite saintly.
Now I don’t do much more than mutter my grievance and maybe throw my hands up a bit, but nonetheless such a small shift in my plan can make everything feel out of sorts!
Have you ever experienced that before? Maybe you’re trying to get your family ready to leave and right as you get to the car someone says the words you least desire to hear: “Mommy, I have to go potty!”
Like a knife to the heart right?! After you finally get everything together, the way you expected, that’s when it hits, the shift in your plans, the unexpected change.
There are a million more examples I am sure each of us has felt a time or two, but what about those unexpected changes that carry much more weight?
Consider the story of Gideon, who encountered an unexpected change to his military might when God instructed him to reduce the size of his army of 32,000 men, ultimately not being satisfied until Gideon had dwindled his fighting force down to 300 men against more than 100,000 enemies.
A little more at stake here than missing a potty break!
Yet this is what God does, time and time again, an unexpected change that seems designed to eliminate our ability to boast, and instead directs our attention and desperation toward Him.
We must be willing (not necessarily ready—at times that may be too great an ask) to allow God to rewrite the script and follow His plans.
What authority do our opinions bear upon He who speaks galaxies into existence?
Friends, do not be slaves to opinion or circumstance. Both of these rely too heavily on our limited perception. We do not serve a God bound to an empirical perspective.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Scripture makes it clear that the ways of God are at the least, unique from our own ways. Yet how many churches today are being led by the ways of man and not the ways of God? How many ministries have been infected with the secular wisdom of corporate America as though the learnings of man were our only light leading the way?
How many ministries have been infected with the secular wisdom of corporate America as though the learnings of man were our only light leading the way?
Why might any of us resist God’s unexpected changes in our lives?
Perhaps it is because we have elevated our opinions above his truth. Perhaps our faith is no longer blind, but instead, blinded. Where we once followed Jesus with the trust of a child following their parent, we now have become spiritually blind to the leanings of the Holy Spirit in our life and have defaulted to an experience-based approach.
If you have ever jumped into a pool or stepped into a warm bath, then you’re probably accustomed to the physics. You sink. Experience tells us that 100% of the time we place our foot onto water, it will sink to the bottom. 100%. Guaranteed. Every. Time.
Yet, Peter, with all of his watery experience as a fisherman, calls out to Jesus on the sea of Galilee,
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29
THE GUY WALKED ON TOP OF THE WATER Y’ALL!
This makes absolutely no sense! If Peter chose to rely even just a hair more on his experience than his faithful understanding of Jesus he would have never moved past a shallow relationship with Jesus. Instead, Peter experienced a supernatural phenomenon entirely influenced by his faith over his reason.
Earlier this week I heard someone share a difficult situation they were going through and how they had prayed over another difficult choice. After explaining the possible consequences of their choice, they said, “well…God must be in this because it doesn’t make any sense to me!”
“Well…God must be in this, because it doesn’t make any sense to me!”
I love the humility of that statement! It reminds me of the joy I feel when my daughter Tobin, who doesn’t fully understand why she must hold my hand in the parking lot, does so because she trusts me, and I know my instruction could just as easily be interpreted as me stealing her fun; when unbeknownst to her, it’s an extension of my love and desire to protect her from harm, she’s simply too young to understand that right now. There are definitely times when she resists, and her opinion of my action takes precedent over her trust in me.
We must not make the fatal mistake of choosing our opinion over the will of God.
“Your opinion doesn’t matter. And neither does mine. There’s only one opinion that matters. And that’s Jesus’. You may have served in this church for 40 years, but you didn’t buy it with your blood.”Mark Clifton
I am so deeply humbled by Mark Clifton’s words here. I know I will always have my opinions and my preferences about ministry, but I must be willing at a moment’s notice to submit them before the authority of Jesus as the bridegroom, the head of the church, nothing else can ever matter as much as his word.
Friends, is there any unexpected change you might be resisting right now? Is there any place where God has called you to the edge and there is seemingly no logic to press forward? Allow me to encourage you, Gideon won that battle with 300 men.
May I challenge us just one more time? In Acts 3, there’s a story of Peter and John walking toward the temple and they come across a man, a beggar unable to walk who petitions them for gold or silver. Peter replies that they have neither gold nor silver but will instead give him something else.
Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:6-10
He LEAPT! I love this beautiful, unexpected change! The man could walk! How wild is that—he asked for money and unexpectedly received a change that led him to glorify God and sing his praises with such passion that it influenced “all the people” to join him in glorifying God and honoring His name.
I know I have said we must only be willing to follow God into an unexpected change, but how much more joy, how much more of God’s presence can we experience when we LEAP into God’s unexpected changes in our lives!
I hope your shoelaces are tied, we’ve got some leaping to do!