“Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.”- Gen. 26:3
God speaks with Isaac. As a result, Isaac stays in Gerar, following the Lord’s request. So often I’m asking God what his requests are in my life. This past week’s sermon asked the question, “Are we so busy asking God what he wants us to do that we neglect to just be? To exist in the presence of God? Are we so focused on doing that we can’t see who he is shaping us to be? Are we not able to see that his molding is making us better equipped for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to witness and testify to God’s insurmountable glory?”
Frequently I think I’d be a better Christian if something was different, if I was in a different place, spoke a different language, was in a different culture. Maybe that’s why he has placed me here in the U.S. Perhaps I’m not supposed to evangelize elsewhere. I can witness here. I can absorb the wrath of my pained neighbor (thanks Neil for saying with the power of the Holy Spirit we can absorb the wrath of hurt and fatigued people and in that testify to Christ’s love). This does not imply that I need to be a doormat, letting other people hurt me. It does mean that I can refuse to have rage over petty things, like a seemingly nasty letter put through my mail slot. Rather than fume with anger, I can bake cookies, shovel out a car, or give a packet of flower seeds and hopefully sprout reconciliation and camaraderie rather than animosity and bitterness.
I’ve been praying for discernment on where God is leading us. Does he really want us in NJ? I fight him so frequently. However, if I’m honest than I must admit that I’m to remain here a little while longer and a little while can seem like an eternity in my book. I don’t know how long that duration is. Yet as I scrubbed my hands in the the worship pastor’s bathroom last night I prayed that the Holy Spirit would lead us to understand who Frank and I are to be. Rather than questioning where we are supposed to go and wanting that grass to be greener and more comfortable, I asked the Holy Spirit if we should rent or buy a home. I’m scared of the permanency of a home. I still don’t have that answer. It isn’t about renting or buying. However, after saying that prayer last night and reading the passage quoted at the beginning of this post, I think I have an answer, however much I want to argue it.
God wants me to make the grass where I’m standing green. He wants me to fertilize this land by witnessing and testifying to the gospel here. Northwest New Jersey is parched. It needs a cup of everlasting water. I am a vessel by which that can come, if only I am willing. He wants me to be here and tap into his power here. I can access it in this place. I don’t need to go to an impoverished Mexico to find God.
God is present everywhere and when we seek him we will find him, if only we would stay long enough to see him. Then maybe we will find the power to testify to the gospel and spread the fruit of his righteousness, his justice, his peace, and his love rather than our opinions, judgments, and assumptions.