Sunday, June 30, 2013

The noise and commotion of the world around us is a constant roar, drowning out the still, small voice of the Spirit. We can’t even hear ourselves think.

We’re admonished by Scripture to not neglect the small things, but everyday life can be either a wilderness in drought, where our efforts are swallowed immediately by the dry, cracked ground of our circumstances, or the crest of a tsunami, where even the strongest structures might be swept away. How can anything we do really matter?

And just when I’ve given up—or at least am contemplating it seriously—God sends a breath of cool wind, or tosses a lifeline to pull me out of the maelstrom.

God did not call you to an outcome, our associate pastor reminded us this last Sunday. He calls us to a task.

To obedience, I remember.

“Has God ever asked you to do something crazy?” he asked us, and proceeded to share how his moving halfway across country to help with the planting of what would be our church was not his vision, but someone else’s—but God called him to be a part of supporting it.

I think of some of the crazy things I’ve felt called to over the years. Attending college a thousand miles from home. Moving to that same town a few years later, again from halfway across country, after getting married. Having our first baby. My husband’s enlistment in the military. More babies, the later ones born at home. Decisions about schooling and life and ministry.

Some seemed to have turned out pretty well, but others ... not so much. In fact, I’ve wondered over the past few years whether anything I do ministry-wise will ever be successful. Reminding myself that God doesn’t see success as we do doesn’t always help.

But this—this time—tugged me back, made me stop and consider.

God does not call us to an outcome.

God calls us to a task.

Just one task at a time. Well, sometimes several. But the point is, although I may be called to be the best wife and mother I can, it isn’t up to me to see that my husband and children are following the Lord. It isn’t up to me to guarantee that my kids never fail a class, or make bad decisions, or struggle with their faith.

I’m called to be a writer, which means I should be the best writer I know how to be (or artist, or musician, or whatever trade or profession others are called to) ... but I am not responsible for how my stories are received. My winning a contest, or getting published, is not necessarily a marker of my success—or lack of it, if those things fail to happen.

God never promised me I’d be published. He never promised that my husband would never get tired of being faithful. He never promised that my children would never behave badly.

It’s up to us to carry out a task, yes, but—the outcome is solely in His hands.

And you know what? That takes the pressure for “success” off of me.

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17, both NKJV)


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