Following God When You're Struggling with Purpose.
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
But I don’t know what is next, God?
Have you asked yourself this question recently? This is a question I hear so often. What do I do with my job? Should I move? Is this the right choice? What do I next?
I have so often just wanted a step-by-step guide of how to live my life or a road map that shows me all the right choices to make. It is often not because I need to know the right choice, but I am scared of making the wrong choice. I fear wasting time and money, or fear damaging relationships or getting hurt. I fear getting it ‘wrong’ and the potential setbacks I may experience.
But God is not afraid of our choices. He sees beginning to the end and everything in between, and he knows the outcome of every choice we make. We often replace faith in God with our own human reasoning or logic. But our “faith [must] not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)
A road to nowhere
In the book of Acts, a man name Philip was preaching the Gospel to people in Samaria, not long after Jesus had gone back up to Heaven. He was preaching to crowds of people and seeing lives being transformed by the Gospel. His ministry was thriving.
But then God asks something strange of him. He says, “go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (Acts 8:26). Now the desert road was not an evangelist’s ideal location. In fact, it is the complete opposite. This desert road was a long, connecting road between cities. It was not a destination; it was a thoroughfare from one place to another.
God’s instructions here seem limited. He didn’t explain what, or how or why. He simply said go.
Philip’s response reveals we wasn’t just listening to hear God, but he was listening and ready to respond to God. He was eager pay attention, to focus and to respond to what God was going to do out there in the middle of nowhere.
Listen to see Jesus
Do you ever feel that you haven’t heard God right?
That you’re waiting for the rest of the instructions?
Philip’s next instruction wasn’t much clearer either. He only was given two instructions that day, to go to the desert road and the other to walk beside an approaching carriage. God did not tell him who or what, he just positioned him for a miracle.
You see, in that carriage was an Ethiopian eunuch. Philip overheard him reading the scriptures and was able to help him understand them. He leads this man to Christ and even baptises him that day. However neither of his two instructions explained what was to come.
Philip was obedient to God’s instructions, even without the full picture. He didn’t ask for a step-by-step guide of what was going to happen first. Instead he obedient to the instructions he had and looked for where God was at work.
He didn’t just hear God, he responded to what God was doing.
Sometimes we limit ourselves by not being obedient to the instructions we do have. We question God about the next ten steps, when he wants us to be obedient to the first one step.
Our human bodies have limits. I can’t fly or be in two places at once. I can’t read people’s mind or walk on water. I can’t even go out into the sun for too long without getting burnt. I am reminded daily of my body’s limits. Limitations are part of being human, but God is not human.
God is not limited by anything. He has unlimited ability and power, and nothing holds him back. Yet when we pray, how often do we pray through the lenses of our humanity rather than God’s sovereignty?
We may be limited by our humanity, but God gives us power through his Holy Spirit. Jesus even promises this power to us in John 14:13, that whoever believes in him will do the works he has been doing and even greater.
Philip didn’t have limitations to his listening. He didn’t ask for reason or logic, he didn’t wait for all the details, he didn’t limit what was possible by what he could see. He just listened without limits and responded.
So what’s next?
You may not fully understand what is ahead, but you might know your next step.
So take it.
Do not let fear be the dictator of our decisions, but make your decisions out of faith that God sees the full picture and that his plans will always prevail.
So what is your next step?