When God’s people are faced with a black and white choice between siding with God or with men, the choice is clear. We might lack the strength of character or conviction to do what is right, but it’s not hard to know what is right when confronted with a clear choice between God and anything else. However, thankfully, the alternatives are usually not that stark. We are rarely forced to choose between God and not-God, but between two or more options where the rightness – the righteousness – of the options is not so obvious.
And the sad truth is that we prefer this ambiguity because it allows us to go with the flow and convince ourselves that we aren’t doing anything wrong.
See, if we can’t say conclusively that the status quo is wrong, then we can keep doing what we’ve been doing and not have to deal with all the unpleasant consequences of fighting against the current. And of course – or so we tell ourselves – if God were to show up and tell us plainly that we needed to do something different, then we wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever He required. But since it’s not really certain that He wants something different from us, we’re content – relieved even – to keep on going the way we’ve been going, the way everyone else is going.
DOUBT AND HESITATION
The great problem with this kind of thinking, of course, is that it means that when we begin to suspect that God might be moving us to something different, we have a powerful motivation to ignore that suspicion.
“Nah,” we say to ourselves, “that was nothing,” like the child in the dark trying to convince herself that there are no monsters under the bed, working hard to ignore every sound or write it off as branches in the wind or the house settling.
Or how about this: have you ever awakened in the night with a suspicion that you need to pee? I know, it’s a crass analogy, but bear with me for a second. Maybe you wake up in the darkest hours of the night, not with a burning need to relieve yourself but just a little, nagging suspicion that if you don’t get out of bed and make your way through the dark to the bathroom, you’re probably not going to be able to go back to sleep.
But of course, that’s going to be a lot of trouble. The bed is warm and the night is cold. Your room is full of hidden obstacles to bonk your shins and stub your toes. Maybe you have a dog waiting at the foot of the bed for some sign that you’re awake so she can greet you with joyful slobber. So maybe, lying there, you tell yourself that you don’t really need to pee. Maybe you misread the signs. Maybe it was all in your imagination.
A COLLISION WITH COMFORT
You see what I’m saying: when we’re comfortable where we are, we’re not anxious to find out that we need to move. When we’re comfortable with the way we’ve been going, we’re not anxious to find out that we need to change directions.
Ironically, we will often remain in situations we aren’t even happy about simply because we’re more comfortable staying than going. Comfort doesn’t necessarily mean happy. Many people are comfortably unhappy. We often find ourselves in situations that we don’t really enjoy –we’re just reluctant to pay the price that might be required to change things, so we don’t. We do our best to ignore the little signs that tell us we have a choice to make, and the clearer those signs get, the more uncomfortable we become.
And yet, here is a basic, though uncomfortable truth: when God moves, kingdoms collide and when kingdoms collide, we have to choose sides.
Which kingdom are you choosing today?
This is an excerpt from the book, How (Not) To Miss God Moving, by Craig Smith.