|Following God Sucks
I mean let’s face it, it would be far easier to live for myself, be completely selfish and self-serving (not that I’m not those things) and give up this whole faith in God thing. It’s hard. I read something recently that struck a chord with me. Dying for something is easy. When you die for something or someone you get a highway named after you, or a football field at a high school named after you. But living for something, living for something is the harder thing to do. Living for something means living out daily what it is you are living for. So using this whole “faith” thing, living for my faith means actually having to LIVE out my faith. It means that when the shit hits the fan, knowing that God STILL has a plan. (That’s Genesis 50:20 by the way. Look it up.) It means that when God is being silent, that I have to listen harder, perhaps on a different frequency. It means that when everyone else is telling me one thing, but I know that God is clearly telling me something different, that I have to listen to God and suffer the stares and whispers of people who think I’m off my rocker and irresponsible. It means that when I tell someone that they should do this or that, that I better have damn well done it myself, or be willing to do so. It means that when EVERYTHING inside of me tells me that I should turn and run from my problems, or solve them in the way that the world would be ok with, I STILL have to be obedient and respond in the way I know is right. It means that in the face of adversity I have to KNOW that my God is bigger than any problem that may come. It’s getting to the point that where if I were to lose everything I hold dear, from all of my possessions to my family, that I would still be ok because I know God is truly the only thing I need.
See, I took a job back in January. It’s my dream job. God provided it for me. God is using me there. Lives are being changed. I am being changed. I am in my element. God is revealing things to me in ways he never has before. I made friends there who are now more like close family than they are friends. I am a blessing to others there. Others are a blessing to me. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that this job isn’t the job that God divinely lined up for me. There have been far too many miracles, revelations, affirmations, etc, that have spoken to that fact.
It’s a weird thing the movie making business though. A fella could find himself working 6 days a week, 11 hours a day, harder than he’s ever worked in his life, having more fun at a “job” than he ever has or thought possible, and still not earn a paycheck. Yet. You see, in the movie-making industry (at least up here in not-Hollywood) they don’t just throw you (and really, who is “they” anyway) a ton of money up front and lay down the red carpet. If you need to find a good definition of the word “earn”, talk to me and I’ll give it to you. Nothing comes easy in this industry in terms of financing and security. It’d be worse if we all didn’t feel like God was calling us to do this. It’d be worse if we were just making this movie on a wing. (Without the prayer) See? Following God sucks. Following God, sucks. You have to LIVE out and CARRY ON through the tough times. There are moments where you want to give up, where everyone telling you “you’re crazy and irresponsible” and you “better get something in writing” and “how could you put your family through that?” make sense. How could they not? They’re RIGHT! I AM crazy and irresponsible! I SHOULD get something in writing! How COULD I put my family through this?! Then God says “THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN MY WILL! I never called my followers to play it safe! My son didn’t play it safe when he was there for 33 years. He was an anarchist. People called HIM crazy. People said HE was irresponsible. He confounded the ways of the wise and drove the people who “knew best” nuts because he was unwilling to conform or play it safe. And then he went to the cross. For you. So have some faith, nut up, and do what I’ve called, asked and provided for you to do.” And then I say “Ok God. But can you lay everything out before me so I can know that I know that I know, and also so everyone else can see so they’ll stop worrying about me?” And God says “No. Get back to work. I’ll do it when it’s the right time. Not when you think you need it. And did I mention you need get back to work? Sweet. Get back to work then. P.S. I love you.”
I heard something last week that I’ll take to the grave. “Sometimes those that love you have your best interests in mind. But they don’t have your destiny in mind.” I appreciate that people love me. I appreciate that they offer advice and sincerely believe that what they are suggesting is the right thing for me to do. I am thankful for these people and for their wisdom. My best interests would be to take their advice and “provide” for my family in the way the world defines provision. But God has more than my best interests in mind. He has my destiny. He wants to provide for much more than just my immediate needs. He wants to provide for my childrens, children, children through what he will bless me with. The wealth that God has in store for me is far different than any wealth I could imagine or define.
But getting to that point sucks. Because getting to that point means following God. And following God sucks. He isn’t a miracle pill that allows you to drop 50 pounds overnight. God is the lifestyle change in diet and exercise that exceeds far beyond any “get skinny fast” or “get rich quick” formula out there. God is all about intention. He’s all about follow through, checks and balances, making sure things are done right. Give a dog a bone he’ll eat for the day. But teach him how to kill then he’ll never go hungry. God is teaching me how to kill.
When I look back on this time of hardship in my life, this time of not knowing where or how we’re going to live, not knowing when my next paycheck is going to come, or in what amount, and I want to look back and say “I did that well. I may have had my moments of frustration, doubt, anger, despair and hurt. But they were just that. Moments. They weren’t hours, or days, or weeks. They didn’t define me. My faith defined me. My trust in God, that he would do the things he promised me, defined me.” I want to look back on this time in my life and say that like labor before birth, it was the most difficult thing I’ve been through, but now I have the joy of this new birth, this new creation, a new me, a different set of circumstances and had I not gone through those labor pains, it wouldn’t mean as much now. I want to use this as part of my testimony. I want my family and friends to come to me and say “I’m going through the storm. How did you get through it?”, and I want to be able to answer them with conviction and experience, not with a bible verse or a wise thought from someone smarter than me. I wouldn’t trade this for anything. I’m getting to know God in ways I never thought I would. As my provider, as my rock, as my all. At any point in the last 33 years I could have said those things, things like “god is my provider”, but I wouldn’t have known what the hell I was talking about. You can’t know God as a healer until something is truly wrong with you. You can’t know God as a provider until you have nothing else left to offer. You can’t know God as a lover and comforter until you feel like everyone and everything around you is pressing down on you, and God is one that comes by and shoulders the load. You can’t know God until you know you need him.
Following God sucks. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To end, I want to quote C.S. Lewis, who in 3 sentences said what I took 1500 words to do so, and said it better. “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel real comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity”.