“My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (John 5:17)
Most of the people who walked with God in the Bible came to an understanding about God’s work. These people found that God was at work before they knew it and would be working after they were gone. When God talked to someone in the Bible, it was always to both reveal Himself and to reveal at least some of what He was doing in the earth at that time.
But we are so self-centered.
Somehow we think that we are primarily (or exclusively?) the ones at work. And we fret over how to get God to support our efforts. Or perhaps it is less obvious and our anxiety is over how to get other people interested in our work.
I remember the season quite a few years back when God helped me see these things more clearly.
He showed me that I will never face a situation or be given an assignment but that He Himself is/was already present and at work there.
What difference did this make for me? It made ALL the difference! It’s like the difference of realizing for the first time that the earth is not the center of the solar system! Everything gets reoriented to a new Center.
Before I felt so much pressure to make something happen with my life, my work, my faith. God was depending on me to do something for Him. Before I felt so responsible for the souls of people and so guilty if they didn’t respond to the gospel or keep going forward with Christ. I didn’t know it at the time, but a couple of huge errors were ruling my mindset:
1. I must help God out of the predicament that the messed up world has gotten Him into.
2. I am heaven’s first responder in whatever circumstance I find myself in.
Just now, while typing the words above, I chuckled. I also felt a twinge of shame (the good kind of shame). Perhaps you also see how ridiculous these mindsets are. But I know that I have not been alone in serving them!
Ask yourself the following questions today:
How much time do I spend fretting over how to fix other people or unsatisfactory circumstances?
How much time do I spend trying to explain God’s activity (or apparent lack of activity) to myself or others?
Why do I often (always?) feel so nervous when an opportunity for sharing Christ with or ministering to others comes up?
Why do I feel depressed when a ministry assignment/opportunity didn’t go as well as I had hoped?
In the next post I’ll explain the important distinctions between the Father’s rest and His ongoing work.