Today I was going to write about how when we want to run from calling, it holds us gently by the shoulders with all the firmness of a loving parent. I was going to write about the way it continues to reel us back in.
We are addicted to it.
But I feel like I've already written about that. There comes a time in each Write 31 Days challenge that I've done that I kind of make up a post, because I don't really have anything in my plans that works with what I wanted to say.
So here we are.
And I cannot help but talk about what I am experiencing now.
I don't know about you, but whenever I am afraid, I have a tendency to doubt all the things that have happened before.
Allow me to explain.
I believe that I am called by God to be a singer. I believe this with the full conviction of my heart because I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me in my gut. I felt the deep swoop of motion in my profound places. I felt the swish of angels' wings, the softness of the brush of the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters and the skin on my own face.
And then I said okay.
And then I chose to take a step forward. And then another step. And then another and another and another and here I am, and it is October, and I am going to graduate school, and all glory be to God.
There are, of course, certain things that have to happen before January 8, when classes start.
First of all, I had to get someone to take over my lease here in Lubbock, and glory be, God has provided! That, I believed, was the greatest obstacle I faced to my moving to North Carolina, where I will attend school. I needed to find a place to live in Greensboro. Thanks to the help of some very kind friends, I have been presented with several lovely options for places to live, for which I am so grateful. God has also provided me with a job in the area, which is yet another example of His provision. The crown of all, so far, has been that I get to be in the studio of the teacher I specifically wanted to study with -- something I was nervous to ask about, but that brought me so much joy and sweetness when it was confirmed.
I like to say, and have always liked to say, that God has never not come through for you (somewhere all my friends are cracking a grin and rolling their eyes at the same time: this sentence is part of my vocabulary). And His faithfulness in preparing me for graduate school, in paving my way to get there -- each of these instances has been another seal on the call of God in my life, in my eyes. Of course, I cannot know the mind of God, but these provisions are like little nods from the Holy Spirit, winks from the eye of God. Each one crowns the previous one with a little more joy, another gem, another star in the sky.
And each obstacle makes me a little more terrified.
I had moments, when I was trying to get someone to take over my lease, of fear: what if I couldn't find anyone? And now I have fear again this morning:
What if I can't pay for it?
You will agree with me that this is a pretty big question, a pretty big if. And in some part of my heart, to walk forward and not know the answer to this question feels like the most foolish thing I've ever done.
But I believe in my heart that I am called by God in this direction.
So what is to be done?
Look at the way God has provided for me. Will He stop now?
I do not believe that is in His nature. I do not believe He will provide part of the way and fail me at the end of this part of the Road.
So what is to be done?
Really, my question turns out to be What am I to do?
Because that's what I'm always asking: What can I do, how can I make this happen, how can I make this true for myself.
But the breath of the Holy Spirit is on my hair. I feel it ruffle in the exhale.
I think of Mary: of how nothing was impossible with God. I think of David: how he faced down the giant with nothing but the belief that because God was God, God would give him victory so that God would receive glory.
And it feels crazy, because I am not Mary, and I am not David, and God has not appeared to me out of a cloud the way He did with Moses, and I have not seen Him face-to-face.
I have not heard His voice audibly. I have not receive a specific promise with my name in it, the way Abraham did.
It feels crazy.
But somehow I feel that it is incumbent upon me to pray, and to ask, and then to wait and -- here's the crucial part -- to believe that I will see what I have never seen before.
In recent months I've been reading the story of Israel's journey to the Promised Land. I recall the story of Israel crossing the Jordan. God instructed the Israelites, among other things, not to get ahead of the pillar of cloud that was the presence of God as He led them. The cloud was supposed to go in front of them. God's reason? They had not been this way before, and they did not know where they were going.
Well, I've not been this way before. I have no idea where I'm going. I want everything to happen for me at once, and instead I am left only to wait.
I hear the voice of God tell me to take one step at a time.
I also hear Him tell me to throw myself on His faithfulness like I am impaling myself on my sword -- and to be honest, sometimes it feels like that.
He speaks in my heart, a gentle nudge, a soft smile, telling me, Sara, My darling, trust Me. I have made a way so far. I will continue to make a way.
Honestly, I've wondered if I'm delusional or forcing the issue or just absolutely foolish. I've wondered if by trusting God to provide for me financially I'm making the ruinous mistake of my life.
Sometimes faith feels like that.
In fact, I'd venture to say that faith feels like that most of the time.
If it felt like the sure thing that we want, it wouldn't be faith, though.
And I've been brought this far by leaning on the everlasting arms.
He has given me the dream and He is making it come true.
So I will throw myself on Him again.
You know that part of the New Testament where Jesus says that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can say to the mountain, Go, throw yourself into the heart of the sea, and it will be done?
It's such a famous passage, and I've always disbelieved it a little bit. Not disbelieved it in the way that it sounds: I mean that I've always wondered if that was literally true. What if it doesn't work?
That's my approach to much of faith: What if it doesn't work?
I feel like I've been burned enough times for me to be allowed to feel that way. Or for it at least to be understandable. My hopes have not come true enough times for human beings like me to understand and forgive me if I am wary like a skittish fox.
But God sees me, and He sees my fear, and He raises me.
And He says, Sara, have faith.
As many times as I have let my head fall, God has never let me down. He has never not come through for me.
And I ask Him, What if it doesn't work?
I honestly can't make out the response. It's a lot like silence, and a lot like But what if it does? And a lot like Even if it doesn't, I am still God.
He doesn't guarantee me what I want, and that's the part I don't like.
Suddenly I realize that faith is not about whether or not it works.
But I feel Him asking me to have faith, and I have a strange, sneaking suspicion that my faith will not be disappointed.
That doesn't mean I'm not wrong. That sly little suspicion could be the thing that disappoints me, because I know for sure that my Jesus will not.
But I am intrigued enough by possibility -- because with God possibility is infinite, because so is He -- to say okay.
To fall on my sword and hope that by some miracle something happens other than death. Death feels like what will come to me, but then again, I'm not seeing it the way God does.
Maybe what it means to have faith is to believe that even if we are pierced by the sword, we will not be killed by it -- and that if we are, that it is not the end.
Maybe what it means to have some faith is to believe that even if we do things that look foolish, we are not finished. Or rather, God isn't finished with us.
We are called to die. To fall on our swords. To do what looks a little (or a lot) crazy.
So I will keep dreaming the crazy dream that God has given me and having faith that He will provide for me in a crazy way.
I'm not really sure what would make the well of His provision dry up all of a sudden, but there's always the fear that it will.
But I will believe that the goodness of God is limitless. That His love for me is the same.
And I will let go, and I will not fear, and I will fall down --
And I will believe that He will catch me.
And in the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Even if He does not --
He is still God.
Even if not.
It's the fear, those three words. They are always always always in play.
And I will have faith anyway. I will fall on my sword anyway.
What other way is there? To fear? That is no way to live.
As usual, I do not know how to stop writing. I could spin this post for days and probably not come to its end.
It's the same with faith. It keeps spinning and spooling for our entire lives.
I am Abraham and I am Mary and I am David and I am myself, I am Sara -- I am the strangeness of being asked to do something bonkers crazy and seeing God come through.
Because, secretly, between you and me and Him --
I do believe He will.
He has never not come through for us, friends.
Let's believe He will again.