Jenny recently reminded me of a realization that we had early in the summer of 2015. We realized that God had invited us to play a game that we were not yet equipped to play. We also, foolishly, thought that God had invited us to do a “new thing”, but we were shocked and delighted to find that he had called many, many people to participate in the game, long before us. We were not only ill equipped to play, we were late to the game!
Here is an illustration: Our spiritual life, prior to this adventure, was like playing wiffle ball in your backyard. It is like baseball, but it is not really baseball. We were pretty good at wiffle ball though (See “Confessions of a Recovering Super Christian”). We knew just how to swing the plastic bat and make contact with the plastic ball and hit it over the backyard fence. We had grown very comfortable with our wiffle ball skills and were set to become experts. Then God began to call us to play a new game.
The call made my head spin at first. God started by talking to me all of the time. Not audibly, but somehow I just knew things. I would not have believed it was God, if it were not for the confirmations that would follow. For example, one day I was sitting in my office, in St. Paul, MN and I just knew that I needed to get up and take a walk in the skyway, because someone needed to talk. I went for a walk and came across a man who was struggling with his faith. It turns out he was raised in a pastor’s home and was contemplating a return to faith. That meeting, resulted in many lunch dates and Bible discussions as the man slowly returned to a relationship with God.
These type of things happened all of the time. I remember preaching messages, at my former church, about God speaking all of the time. I was very excited about this newly discovered talking God. He did that type of thing in the Bible, but this was happening in my lifetime and to me!! He talked about people, what they were doing, things they were hiding, and things that had been done to them. I would get frustrated at this, because I knew things that I was powerless to fix. This led to my prayer life being focused on knowing the God of the Bible and a desire to tap into the power that could call things that were not as though they are.
This went on for awhile, then one Sunday night, as I was sitting in church, he said, “I will no longer talk to you about these people”. I remember being horrified and confused. I did not talk to anyone about it, I just prayed. At the same time, Jenny was becoming unsettled and we began to explore what God was telling our family to do next. We have already written extensively about the events that led to our move to Tennessee, so I will not go into that here. I just wanted to capture what God’s invitation looked like for me.
Back to the game! God had invited us to leave the wiffle ball game and join a community baseball team. These guys played with a heavy bat and a solid ball. They also played on huge fields and commanded power that we had only read and studied about. These people heard God tell them things like, “write for me and I will provide”. They were crazy enough to obey and one of the largest book publishers in the country contacted them and asked them to write a book! Others asked God for a nation and now the United Nations contacts this person whenever they need to know where to send humanitarian aid in Mozambique- their nation!
That type of stuff does not happen in wiffle ball games and we came to realize how unprepared we were to play at that level. Thankfully, God has been graciously training us for the game (See God’s Training Plan) and we have been surrounded by those who are more familiar with baseball and they are cheering us on and believe in us. We are called to great things and we will stick with this big league game, because we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!