What if it were all true, every word of it? What if it wasn’t a hoax, then how would you respond and what would you do?
The Juvenile Crisis
An angel appeared to Jeremiah and told him that he was called to be a prophet of God. Jeremiah was not in any delusion about what the task required and as far as he was concerned he didn’t have what it took. Jeremiah was from a lineage of priests, so I am sure that if the calling was to the priesthood, he would have jumped at the opportunity. But to be a prophet? No, not him!
The calling to prophecy for Yahweh in Jeremiah’s day was nothing to be elated about. I chuckle at the thought that a person’s reaction to being anointed as a prophet of God was similar to the way people feel when they are called for jury duty, gracious repudiation. The objective is to avoid it at all costs. After all, Jonah took the first ship in the opposite direction of Nineveh.
So it is no surprise that Jeremiah began to posture excuses about his inability to perform the task. This was not a calling to popularity but persecution.
But what if? What if the words that were first spoken to Jeremiah in his vision were words that he received and believed about himself? How differently would his response have been? The Lord presented a clear message that before he (Jeremiah) was even a thought or a zygote, he was set apart to be a prophet, so why wasn’t that enough?
The Case of the Lisp
Moses’s life's purpose didn’t begin when his mother swaddled him in a basket and sent him floating down a river. It was God’s plan before the foundation of the earth to not just use Moses to free the Israelites from the Egyptian’s bondage but as a shadow of God's plan to free the world from sin and death, through Jesus Christ.
The blueprint for mankind’s freedom was already written when Moses received the call. What if Moses understood the ground-breaking, history-making, and evolutionary impact that he would have on the world, would he have tried to shy away from his call? What if he understood the power and might of God to enable and sustain him throughout the call, would he think that a stammer or lisp could disrupt God's plan to use him?
What if Moses saw himself leading a huge following through the red sea and water gushing from a rock, would he still have cowered in fear? The Bible recounts that when Moses left the presence of God that his face shone with the glory of God. Imagine a lisp potentially standing in the way of that.
The Biological Impossibility
Jesus’s mother Mary was told that God will defy science; the same parameters and construct that He put in place for childbearing would be irrelevant, and the young virgin would birth the Messiah whom she should name Jesus. So while Mary processed and explained this biological impossibility she was merely pointing out the obvious.
We can’t understand God’s mind and thoughts, they are too high. We can’t fathom what tomorrow will hold, but shouldn’t it make all the difference when God actually speaks to us?
The Bible says that His sheep hear His voice and that they will listen to no other. So what if when we hear the Good Shepherd say ‘come’, ‘this is where I am sending you’, ‘this is what I have for you to do’, ‘these are the people I need you to reach’, what if we respond in obedience like Mary and say “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true”?
Committed, Yet Empty
If you haven’t contemplated at least one time that Zechariah losing the ability to speak was a bit unfair in reasonable circumstances, then I am proud of you. This is a paraphrasing of the story: an angel approaches old Zechariah, and basically says ‘hey buddy, your old and barren wife Elizabeth will conceive and birth a son’. The angel extensively explained to Zechariah that his child will turn Israelites to God and even gave Zechariah a name for the child. Do you know what Zechariah did? He questioned the authenticity of the words spoken to him, asking the angel how he could be sure that it will happen.
What if Zechariah believed and didn’t doubt? Well, to start, he would have been able to speak for the 9 months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, but Zechariah, though a priest and serving in the Lord’s temple, couldn’t see the possibility.
What if we see our presence and calling on this earth as God sees it? How much braver and resolute we would be in the tasks before us. Wouldn’t we continue to dream of and strive for every possibility connected to our calling? When the Holy Spirit speaks to you and asks you to do something, do you question his intention, do you ask for 100 confirmations and affirmations, or do you pull out your sack of excuses?
What if we were eager and excited to do as God asks, regardless of the popularity of the call? How much easier our decision-making could be if we stopped questioning God and His plans for us.
If we truly accepted and believed that God knows all things, is all-powerful, and will equip us with the tools to be and do what He has called us to do, how differently we would perceive every God-ordained calling in life?
What is so interesting about all these biblical accounts is that God spoke first. He gave the appointment and assurances, and still, doubt rolled right in. They all pretty much asked, “how”? Jeremiah said that he was too young, Moses postured that he couldn’t speak well, Mary was a virgin and Zechariah was old. Still, they were used by God, because this is a simple truth … the “how” of your calling is God’s business, not yours.
Our concern must be to trust that He knows what He is doing because He has never made a mistake.
When you surrender every “what if” and “I can’t” to God, you open the door for Him to do great things in you and through you.
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