I’d like to tell you a story about my friend Miah because I think there’s a little bit—or a lot bit—of Miah in all of us. See what you think.
Miah is satisfied with her life, for the most part, but disequilibrium is building. It feels like longing mixed with frustration.
We join Miah’s ponderings, an intimate glimpse into her wrestling with God and with herself.
I wish these chaotic thoughts would go away. I don’t want to step out into something new.
Life is just how I like it. Each day is pretty much the same, and that suits me! I enjoy the comforts of home and family, showing up for work each day to do a job I’m good at.
One of the most powerful people in the world considers me an indispensable member of his inner circle. He trusts me with his life. I’m worthy of his trust, and he compensates me generously.
Predictable. (I love that word.)
Secure. (My second favorite.)
Don’t ask me to change this, Lord. I’m here in obedience to you. I’m doing this job because I said yes to your call, and I sense your blessing in my life. My family benefits from the stable income. I don’t want change. Please . . . let me be.
Oh, for goodness sake! The still, small voice won’t leave me, like a steady drip, drip, dripping of thoughts tearing a hole into my cranium, driving me crazy. The premonition of upheaval wears me down.
I need a vacation, a distraction, a new hobby. Maybe this is a mid-life crisis. God, I want my peace back!
But I know I won’t regain my peace until I obey. So I go for a walk and ask him questions.
OK, God, what is it? What’s this frustration in my spirit? What are you trying to tell me? I’m listening.
After days of chatting with the Lord, I slowly piece it together. God is asking me to accept the call to help his people. I argue a bit: God, you know I’m unqualified for that. But the more time I spend listening, I know that He is leading me. He will equip me.
I’m going to do the hard thing. As I yield, my heart rises with excitement.
Of course, why couldn’t I see it before? This is going to be amazing!
Thank you, Miah, for your honesty, for sharing with us your struggle to let go of the familiar, to move forward with confidence despite frightening uncertainties.
I can relate! How about you?
I imagine you’d like to know how it turned out for Miah. What was she being asked to do?
What if I told you this is a Bible story?
It’s familiar, yes? But you don’t quite recognize it.
So who is Miah? Change the gender, add a few letters, and . . . .
As I read the book of Nehemiah recently with my boys, his story lit up my mind with a fresh view of how his struggle is our struggle.
Don’t you love it when Bible stories become pages in the story of your life? The Word becomes flesh, made alive in you, incarnated as a modern-day gospel, allowing you to experience Jesus afresh at this moment in history.
Opening the Word with Holy Spirit inspiration, I’m there with Nehemiah. I imagine his work as a cupbearer to the king, comfortable and satisfied with his life. I feel him reel with the unexpected news that Jerusalem is in ruins. The Jewish remnant who survived the exile is vulnerable and exposed. Nehemiah cries out to God for his people, heartbroken by their plight.
We don’t know from the Biblical text how much he struggled to accept God’s call to leave Persia, but as I read his story in the Old Testament, I feel a kinship with him, remembering turbulent times in my life when the Lord asked me to step out into a new season.
Don’t most of us feel a mixture of thrill and dread when we leave the familiar and venture into the unknown?
The longing is mixed with frustration, and we need to set aside intentional time with the Lord to find clarity. When we wait upon the Lord, listening, looking, questioning, we likely will not receive the full picture spelled out in detail, but we will see the next small step. In yielding, we find peace.
Mind you, this is the peace that surpasses all understanding, for the circumstances are rarely peaceful in times of transition. Upheaval accompanies change. At least it does for me.
Maybe you sail through life on clear seas, sunny skies overhead, making gentle course corrections with God as your captain.
Maybe I’m stubborn, but my little vessel rarely changes course without strong winds and churning seas. Even then, hand on the tiller, white-knuckle grip fighting against the elements, I try to maintain my direction, taking on water and bailing frantically, until I relent to prevent sinking to the ocean floor.
What sweet bliss when I yield and Jesus calms my storm.
Peace, be still.
What’s your story right now? Do you feel the rumblings of change in the air, distant thunder, streaks of lightning rending the peaceful skies overhead as sharp flurries of biting wind sting your face?
OK, our southern hemisphere and tropical friends are like, “Whaaaa?” Your scene can break after the thunder and lightning. You don’t get the freezing winds at this time of year, but the message holds for you too.
Whatever the climatic (or climactic) conditions in your life today, I bless you with a strong anchor tied to your Savior. If the winds are shifting, and it looks like some weather is coming, draw into your safe harbor and linger with your Captain. He has a good plan, and He is faithful to guide you.