Anything and Anywhere
“Hast thou considered my servant Job?” (Job 1: 8, KJV)
Here’s something we tend to say in such a cavalier way: “Anything you want me to do, Lord, I’ll do. Anywhere you want me to go, Lord, I’ll go.” Do we really mean that? I think we really want to mean that, but are we committed to the infinite possibilities of “anything” and “anywhere?” Are we sure that if Jesus came knocking we’d leave our homes, give away our possessions, or pick up our crosses?
Consider this: What if the very thing God wants you to do (the anything or the anywhere you profess almost robotically) is exactly what you are ignoring, complaining about, or downright refusing to do at this present time in your life? Believe me, I am not asking this with the haughtiness of one who has mastered submission to the will of God. I’m asking humbly and prayerfully for us both. What if God is saying, “I don’t want you to ____ (insert whatever fantasy you have about God’s plan for you). Right now, I just want you to be endlessly kind to _____ even when s/he acts like a jerk to you?” What if He is saying, “I want you to steward well over the blessing of the job you have right now, not beg for a new one?”
Peter told Jesus, “I will lay down my life for thy sake” (John 13: 37, KJV). I believe that Peter really meant it at the time, too. After all, don’t forget that just a short while later, he’s cutting off ears for Jesus in the garden, but when fear overtakes him after Jesus’ arrest, he denies even being a disciple. He wasn’t yet ready for the “anything” and “anywhere.”
The loneliness, loss, and confusion that sets in after having their teacher and friend murdered on the cross sends the remaining eleven disciples into panic and paralysis. We, too, can be so stunned by change that we become immobile, futile, and fruitless. But we serve a risen Savior! And like the energizing that comes upon the disciples at the realization that Jesus lives and the deliverance of the promised Holy Spirit, we too are emboldened and convicted, not only professing our love and loyalty, but also living out the confession of our faith with the recognition of Jesus’ ever presence and our heartfelt acceptance of his Great Commission!
There is not a doubt in my mind that God has personally chosen me to be exactly where I am right now for a reason. I don’t always understand His choice. I don’t even always like His choice, but I cannot say that He is the sovereign God and Lord of all in one breath then bemoan His headship and permissive will in the next. That is not acknowledging Him, and it definitely isn’t glorifying Him. I will argue that regardless of my circumstances and suffering, God has a way of turning it all to His glory, and while He doesn’t need me to do it, He chose me! And guess what? He chose you, too.
Chances are that few of us reading this have suffered the unfathomable tragedies that Job faced as a result of God choosing him for Satan to tempt. Remember, Satan didn’t bring Job up in the conversation. God did. But I am humbled by Job’s first mind when news of loss after loss filtered in to him that first day of tribulation:
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped [emphasis mine] and said, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord'” (Job 1: 20-21, KJV).
We will not all be called to do the exact same things in the exact same ways in the body of the Christ, but if we are Christians, we are all called. Our individually assigned “anything” and “anywhere” challenges us, stretches us, and makes us learn to rely on Him with everything we have in us. Paul, the great New Testament heavyweight, reminds us of this when he talks about the unnamed thorn in his side. Whatever it was, it plagued him all of his Jesus-walking days, and we also have weaknesses that prevent us from walking as straight as we should. But Jesus told Paul (and tells us), “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9, KJV).
Today, I pray that we act like we believe Jesus when He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15: 1-2, NIV). I pray that we acknowledge His choice to choose us and that we submit gleefully to His will, even when those pruning sheers are working overtime. Lord, let not our feelings, fears, or failures (both real and perceived) prevent us from doing the anything and going the anywhere You ask! We want to stay connected to the vine!
Have a blessed day in the Lord, Friend!