When I graduated seminary – an eight year journey – we went to Maui to celebrate. My wife, kids, and my parents enjoyed over a week in Lahaina and absolutely loved it. We didn’t want to leave. My wife and I were sneaking looks at houses and scoping out churches in the final days of our vacation hoping that God might call us to toil in the torturous mission field of Maui.
What we eventually realized is that, 1) It’s vacation and we do have responsibilities at home to which we know we are called. 2) Those responsibilities aren’t in Maui. If we had to pay bills, hold down jobs, and live normal life (as opposed to vacation life) in Maui, it would become the new normal and the carefree vacation feel would quickly fade. Most importantly, 3) God has other things for us.
Have you ever had an experience where God was moving you in one direction, but you wanted to dig your heels in and cling to your status quo? In Daniel chapter 2, king Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. In his dream he saw a statue with a head of gold, chest of silver, lower body of bronze, and the feet were iron mixed with clay. Each metal represented a different kingdom and Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom was the gold head, given to him by God. In the next chapter, Nebuchadnezzar is building a statue that is solid gold from head to toe. It was his way of defying God’s orchestration and progression of kingdoms. He wanted his kingdom to be the everlasting kingdom, and he got furious when his little plan was challenged by three Hebrew boys.
We too have our plans, hopes, and dreams. We will defend them with vigor and venom if necessary and when God moves us it often comes as an unwelcome intrusion. When we cling to our expectations and desires we set ourselves in opposition to God; we make ourselves his enemy. We may count on the grace of God to cover us if we make a wrong choice, but passive resistance is outright defiance and God will put his child in their place.
Peter wanted to put up shelters and tarry on the mountain top during the Transfiguration. God spoke, put Peter in his place, and Jesus led them down the mountain. The Gerasenate demoniac, when freed from the legion of demons possessing him, wanted to go with Jesus in the boat, but Jesus told him to go to his household and tell everyone what God had done for him. God’s plans are bigger than yours. Apart from surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ you can accomplish nothing of any real, lasting value and may find yourself fighting against God.
Where have you dug your heals in? What hopes, dreams, or expectations are you clinging to that you stubbornly refuse to surrender to God, as if he can’t be trusted? Do you wonder why it’s hard to see God moving in your life? Maybe you’re living in disobedience. Are you experiencing God’s correction through season after season of trial? It may be that the rebellion of your passive resistance is stunting the growth God is working in you and he’s now working to refine you as gold in the fire. Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace yielded nothing. God’s furnace produces holiness. Follow him into whatever he may lead you into, regardless of what it may cost. For it’s better to go through a fiery furnace with God that to be on the mountain top without him.