Will We Obey?
By Winn Collier
March 31, 2008
Simplistic Christian rhetoric pushes and twists and pours hot acid on my very last nerve. It makes me want to ask for (as my wife likes to say) â€œa pair of scissors so I can gouge my eyes out.â€ Iâ€™d rather hear long fingernails repeatedly scraping a chalkboard than hear another trite attempt to brush one of faithâ€™s thorny issues under the rug.
Knowing this, it won't surprise you to hear that words you are often likely to hear from me are: Itâ€™s not that easy. Truth isnâ€™t always black and white. Itâ€™s complicated.
True enough. However, Iâ€™m noticing the uncomfortable fact that I have used my distaste for Christian clichÃ© as well as my good desire for authentic faith illicitly, as cover for my spiritual passivity. If I imagine everything must be so hard, so complex, so confusing - all the timeâ€¦ If I believe honesty requires me to constantly rehash and rethink and circle round and round and roundâ€¦ If Iâ€™m addicted to angst and uncertainty like Linusâ€™ addiction to his blanket â€“ then I excuse myself from the responsibility of trusting what I do know and from obeying God wherever (and whenever) He has spoken clearly.
God is always open to our questions. God is patient, never put off by sincere wrestling. For sure, many of Godâ€™s truths are mysterious, strange, difficult. But much, much of what God has said is plain, virtually impossible to misconstrue: Trust. Love. Give. Hope. Thereâ€™s a lifetime of living in those words alone.
â€œThe most important question we ask of this text,â€ says Peterson, â€œis not â€˜What does this mean?â€™ but â€˜What can I obey?â€™â€. Abrahamâ€™s only choice was whether or not he would take Isaac up the mountain. Mosesâ€™ only choice was whether or not he would confront Pharaoh in Egypt. Peterâ€™s only choice was whether or not he would step onto the waves after Jesus said, â€œCome.â€ What would happen on the mountain and in Egypt and on the waves was not their concern. Their courageous obedience to the simple, clear instructions was the one test that stood before them.
I know something of this place, as I find myself in a cycle of unhealthy patterns. I want God to wave the magic wand and make me whole again. So far, He hasnâ€™t. Unfortunately, I donâ€™t suspect He will. Iâ€™ve gotten to this place inch by inch, and I believe God plans for me to come out the same way. God will help me. God will guide me. But, as far as I can see, He plans to only tell me the next step, the next truth. The how and the where and the when of my redemption can not be my concern. The question for me is this: when God speaks, will I obey?
My job is simply the next â€œyes.â€ The long healing will be Godâ€™s work.
peace and obedience / winn