Monday, May 24, 2010

Missing the Forest for the Trees by John Paul Jackson

Some followers of Christ can get so wrapped up in pursuing the details of His direction that they ignore the “road signs” He has put right in front of them. They don’t realize that in many cases, He has already prepared them for the journey, and all they need to do is move forward.

Take a look at some of the heroes of the faith. Gideon was told he would defeat the Midianites. He was told to kill the second calf, tear down the altars of Baal, send home anyone who was afraid — and 22,000 men left, which dwindled his army to a mere 10,000. Then, to prove a point, God separated out the remaining men and sent home 9,700 more. Gideon now had an army of 300, and apparently, the only instruction God gave him was to sneak down to the Midianite camp to be strengthened “if” he needed it. That was it; that was all the direction Gideon received. Yet he and his small group of soldiers attacked the eastern tribes who had come against Israel and killed 120,000 men.

Before Gideon, there was Abraham, who was told to go to a land promised him by God. But he was never told how to get there. Then there is the case of Elijah, who, during a harsh drought, was sent by God to a woman in Zarephath — a woman God had prepared to take care of him. But when Elijah got there, the woman had no clue what was going on. She had one meal of flour and oil left for her and her son; then they were going to die. God said He had prepared her, but she had no idea Elijah was coming. What kind of “preparation” is that?

My point is this: Too many times we expect God to tell us more than He plans to tell us. As the days and years pass, we often find ourselves wondering when He is going to give us clearer direction. I will do what You want me to do, God — I just need to know how. You have told me to take these steps, but I don’t know how to start. Could You give me specifics? Details would be great. I’ll go forward the moment You tell me what to do.

Frequently, it seems to me that God tells us what to do in the beginning (He gives us His vision), then He places within our hearts everything else we need for the choices we will have to make in the journey, even down to the way we sling our sword in the midst of the battle. Conversely, if we wait until we have all the answers before we take any action, we won’t get very far, and we’ll eventually find ourselves sitting down and doing nothing. There, in that place of spiritual paralysis, we quickly atrophy and wonder why the prophecy never came to pass. We are waiting on God, and all the while, God is waiting on us.

Can we move forward presumptuously? Yes — but only if we do more than God said or add to what He said. Admittedly it is a fine line, but those sensitive to God’s voice will not cross it. They will feel the check or nudge of the Spirit before they go too far.

God wants us to reach what we were meant to reach, to be the people He created us to be. Just as He gives a way out of temptation every time (1 Corinthians 10:13), so He will prepare us to do what He has for us to do, whatever that is, every time.

We live in a day and age when we must be sensitive to God’s immediate plan. If we wait to start the journey until we have all the answers, we may find that we are full of potential but never achieve that potential. It is sad to see a life wasted for lack of movement. I have seen that far too often.

What is the difference between a mediocre life and that of a champion? One significant difference is this: When they know God has spoken, leaders and champions go toward the sound of His voice. Not all of them know how to get there. For some, not even the next step is visible. But they know what has stirred their hearts — the draw of the Holy Spirit that directs them toward a goal — and they fully believe that what God has said, He will do.

Sometimes it is good to wait for God to give us details. But often, He is waiting for us to trust Him and make the next move.


  1. Marianne BennettJune 1, 2010 at 7:19 AM

    It's amazing when you are seeking God's heart on a matter how He confirms His voice to you! This article was so on time!

    MB-Eastern NC

  2. I'm working on a crusade project(B.Graham style in a football field) I'm the publicity captain, and I'm trying to be focused on what God wants me to do. But its amazing how my friends are so negative, and complain I'm too radical-trying to do too much. We can't please everyone, but hopefully we are listening for Gods guidance. Ralph from Texas


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