“God believes in me? I thought that was supposed to be the other way around. I can believe in God but I, require no belief… how could he believe in me?”
This is just an excerpt from the conversation that took place inside my head the way home from work today. Truly I have found myself in one of the busiest seasons I have ever had. I am expecting a child any day now, my wife and I just started a new business, I am a few days away from leading my ministry to a camp with over 1200 high school students and I am grateful enough to be part of another ministry that is thriving and growing daily. These are all great things, things to be celebrated, and yet I reach the end of each day exhausted, drained, and ready for it to be over.
One of the greatest privileges of my life is that God has gifted me with the ability and platform to be able to recklessly tell young people that living their life after Jesus is the best possible way to live their life. This task is such a joy and yet sometimes I feel alone doing it. I fee like no body listens, no body cares, no body is hearing, and I wonder if it is even worth it to speak up at all. Sometimes it seems like it would be easy to throw in the towel, admit that maybe things didn’t work our how I had wanted, and move on.
It’s easy to hide. When we hit conflict, pain, discomfort, it is easier to hide that face it. Life offers us distraction, good and bad. Life offers us other comforts. Life offers us a way out. I will never forget when I sat down with two of my mentors, two people I looked up to greatly. They told me on separate occasions during my senior year in high school that they thought God was calling me into ministry. I politely said I might consider it but I thought that they didn’t make all that much money and I was going to go run track at a Big Ten school and get a major in business. (Yeah, it wasn’t that polite)
When I arrived at school I felt a prompting in my spirit that was hard to describe. I should’ve been excited, I was on my path. I was ready. But it didn’t feel right. I told the track coach the day before practice started that I wouldn’t be running. I wanted to see what else I could devote my time to. I got very depressed, I felt like I had no direction, no goals, and thought that everything I had planned for my life, Big school, great job, lots of money, etc. just was not going to happen. I submitted my plan to God but apparently he was busy. I started to wonder if maybe I should have gone to study ministry. But it would cause me to change schools, move home, have different aspirations, and explain to everyone that I now wanted to be a pastor (not the easiest explanation).
Then it hit me, If God had a plan for my life, I don’t need a back up plan. If God was calling me to ministry, I didn’t need to major in business, If Go called me to the school down the road, I didn’t need to travel along the way… God believed in me, but did I believe in God?
God calls us to something bigger than the places we run to. Elijah was a prophet called by God; one of the greatest prophets. Elijah one time called down fire from heaven to prove to those around him how real God was (try it sometime). It was stuff like that, which got him in trouble. People who hated God also hated Elijah because he stood for God. They vowed to kill him. They chased him, killed his friends, and did everything they could to discourage people from following God. So Elijah ran. It was easier to run, than to risk pain, to face those who hated him, he wanted to be done with his calling. Maybe he could become a businessman, maybe a doctor, maybe a salesperson… but not a prophet any more.
But we read in 1 Kings 19 that God met with Elijah. As Elijah was hiding in a cave he heard a huge wind, he saw a blazing fire, and yet God was not in them… and then God met with Elijah, in a small whisper. He reminded him that he was not alone. Other people believed what he did. He reminded him of his calling. God reminded him that believing in God wasn’t enough, that he must believe that God believes in him! So Elijah came out of hiding.
God doesn’t give us what we can’t handle. He trusts us with things that he could do himself. God doesn’t need me to tell young people about Jesus, but he lets me, because he believes in me. In the midst of this season of my life I just needed to hear that message from God. It didn’t show in a blazing fire, not on a fancy billboard, not in some miraculous way… it showed up in a small whisper. Perhaps you need to hear that to. Whether or not you believe in God, don’t know God, hate God, or Google just accidentally directed you to this page, God loves you; God believes in you! I believe in God but what is even more important to remember is that God believes in me.