Sunday, July 29, 2007

Being Simple is Complicated

I did it again. And again. And again. And again.

Get the picture?

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my travels with God is that He delights in simplicity. Oh, trust me. HE is complicated. But He calls us to the simple. Don't believe me? Well, think about it for a second. When was the last time you remember God giving somebody a complicated assignment in the bible? (Remember, I did not say "hard." I said, "complicated." Big difference.)

God told Adam and Eve to enjoy the garden and everything in it except for this one tree. Under no circumstance were they to eat from it. Are those directions complicated? No. Are they simple? Yes. Still, they could not manage it and they succumbed to the temptation of the yummy looking tree.

Abraham was told to sacrifice his only son on an altar with a knife. Unimaginably difficult? Yes. Complicated? No. The direction was simple.

Noah was told to make an ark. Moses was told to talk to the Pharaoh. Jonah was told to preach in Nineveh. Nehemiah was told to build a wall. The disciples were told to "follow me." Paul was told to tell the gentiles. Anything complicated about any of that? (Grant it, I could not build an ark but Noah was given specific instructions and evidently he had some carpentry skills.) All of those things were difficult. None of those things were complicated.

Jesus was told to go to the cross. Difficult? You betcha. Complicated. Not at all.

So why do I keep falling for the lie that it is different for me? Why do I convince myself that it is so stinken hard to get past the barriers that keep me from knowing what God wants me to do? Do you notice anybody in the bible begging and pleading for God to reveal His will to them and God bobbing and weaving in order to keep them guessing? Uhhhhh. I cannot think of any. Correct me if I am missing something but it seems to me that the problem was in the obeying not the knowing. Is it not true that when God does not reveal anything new to you it means you should either keep doing what He last told you to do ... or simply wait on Him? You might reference Paul again on that. After God knocked him off of his horse on the way to Damascus he was told to go on into town and ... wait. Jesus told His disciples many times that He was going to be killed but that He would be back and they should ... wait. I can picture Paul between holy assignments working at his day job making tents. That part does not get much press in the bible but it is clearly what he did.

Every morning I get up and I think about my day. I do not consciously say, "Hey, I think I will beat myself up today. I think I will worry so much about missing my next God assignment that I will lose my appetite, work my way through a bottle of Tylenol and pay a Christian counselor to help me figure it out." And yet those are exactly the kind of things I have done. Over and over, ad nauseaum.

Then The Whisper comes. You know what? In the entire reality of my life only one-person whispers to me. The Holy Spirit. Everybody else has a volume button and knows how to use it. And the enemy? He shouts. He yells. He screams warnings that I am going to screw up and miss God entirely.

Then The Whisper comes. I only hear it when I have cultivated a quiet inner heart. I have to learn and relearn to be still and trust. I have to put away the fear, the false fronts, and the disbelief. Those things all make my heart noisy. The noise always drowns out The Whisper.

Then The Whisper comes. The Whisper says, "It's alright." The Whisper says, "I've got you." The Whisper says, "You can rely on me." The Whisper says, "I love you." The Whisper says, "I've got your back." The Whisper says, "My yoke is easy." The Whisper says, "My burden is light." And then I realize I have not been listening to the right voice. Because I have been living complicated. I have forgotten about the simple. You know what is amazing? When I hear The Whisper all I have to do is take a deep breath, listen, and obey the simplicity of His Voice. And the moment that I do I find myself right back on track as though I had never stepped off of it.

You know what I love the best? I love it when I hear The Whisper say, "Follow Me." I have no earthly idea where we are going. But I know it is going to be one amazing ride.