Towards the end of the comedic classic Dumb and Dumber, Harry is on his way to see Lloyd. They had just traveled cross country with a briefcase full of money. They didn’t realize they had interfered with a ransom situation. However, the feds did. Harry, on his way up to the hotel room to see Lloyd, didn’t realize that Lloyd was tied up by the kidnappers. The FBI pulled Harry aside, put a bulletproof vest on him, and gave him a gun. Harry goes upstairs, shoots, and misses then gets shot in the chest. FBI rushes in. Harry comes to and explains to Lloyd that the FBI had snagged him downstairs and set him up. Lloyd’s response is classic, “What if they shot you in the face?” Harry looks dumbfounded like he hadn’t thought of that. The FBI on the other hand says, “Well, that was a risk we were willing to take.” Classic scene.
I was thinking about this movie today because I caught myself saying, “What if…” Sometimes we need to ask “what if” and sometimes we need to stop asking “what if.” Some of us ask “what if” not often enough and others are stuck in a pool of “what ifs.”
I personally find myself in this space: I feel I have an idea of where God is leading in the future, I feel I know where He’s leading in the present, but I am getting lost in the intermediate space. That is a confusing sentence, let me break it down. I have felt God’s direction in a general sense on where I am leading our church in the coming years. I also feel God’s leading over the next four months. It’s that in-between where I felt paralyzed. It’s the in-between I felt like I had no answers as I got caught in a cycle of “what ifs.”
Sometimes there is a burning bush moment where we have clear direction over the next few months; lead people out of slavery. Moses didn’t get lost in the future beyond the exodus; he got lost in the present giving God a bunch of excuses why He had the wrong guy for the moment. Ok, cool. I don’t want to be like that. I want to embrace the moment by attacking the moment.
Then there is Jonah; he had clear direction from God to go to Nineveh. He knew his marching orders. He didn’t like them, so he ran. What Jonah treated as optional, God didn’t. So there was this fish, the fish barfing, Jonah reluctantly listening and being miserable the whole time. Oh, and we hear little to nothing of Jonah ever again. Ok, cool. Don’t run. Take joy and attack.
I could go on with examples from Paul which led to jail which led to praise which led to books of the Bible, to other disciples, to Noah, Samson, etc. But for the sake of the situation I described at the beginning, let me highlight one last person: Abraham. Here is what is said of him in Genesis 12:
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Genesis 12:1-4
For real? Yup. God told him to go; pack it all up and GO. Where? I'll show you. Huh? Wouldn’t you have some follow-up questions? Wouldn’t you have some “what if” questions? Wouldn’t you get lost in what is to come?
Five times God says, “I will…” Here is the thing with all our “what ifs”, our indecisions, our lack of action, and moments of apathy: we get lost in what when we should get lost in the WHO. This is about the what, this is about the WHO. The who being God! We want to get lost in the what, all the details, all the knowledge, all the info. God wants us to get lost in HIM, the Who! Why? That is faith!
As I journaled about my current crossroads, I realized I wasn’t at a crossroads. I created a crossroads when God really had me on a straight path. My thinking put me in the middle of an intersection that God didn’t create, my sin did. I had clarity, my indecision created a lack of clarity. My ignorance in the future was creating avoidance in the present. It was time to get moving not knowing where the plane would land. How can one do that? We aren’t flying the plane, ultimately God is and we can trust Him. God is saying “now boarding.” He wants you to board the plane. You may not know where it is going. You may know there will be turbulence. But if God tells you to board the plane, you do it! For me, I know clearly what God is calling me into for the next four months. How is it going to turn out? I don’t know. What is it going to lead to? I don’t know. But I know who is in control and that is good enough for me. Delayed obedience is disobedience. It’s time to get moving. What about you?
Keep Praying for One,
As many people in God’s kingdom as quickly as possible.
Pastor Jason Coache,
Lead Pastor of Wellspring Church