Yesterday, I heard a young minister tell the story of when he acted on what he felt the Lord say to him, in his heart: “Buy tickets to Hawaii for you and your wife, for this period of time.”
It didn’t make sense; no reason to be there, no speaking engagements planned. And no vacation on the books. But he did it. And a couple of days later he got a call from Hawaii. “Can you come to speak on these (same) dates?”
I don’t know why the Lord wanted him to buy the tickets himself, when a couple of days later he would receive the invitation anyway. Probably he didn’t know, either. Maybe it was just part of the training most of us need. Training to hear and obey. But what a great addition to his life’s story. What an instructive testimony he can share with his children. Or us.
I wonder if the same sort of thing happened in the stories we read in the scriptures. The woman with the issue of blood, Peter on a boat in the middle of high winds and tossing waves, Caleb and Joshua in the face of naysayers, the boy David in front of the giant Goliath…and, maybe, you?
All of the Bible characters above stepped out with faith and hope, in spite of circumstances that had to have screamed, “Don’t do it!”, and people who might have given great reasons for staying put. But they didn’t listen. They acted.
I’ve come to realize that stepping out on what you know to be a direction from God, whether from his Word or from that still small voice or even the feeling that resonates, is quite often accompanied by negative circumstances. There isn’t enough money; you’re too old, too young, not strong enough; everyone thinks it would be foolish.
All which would make reasonable people think twice.
But, is it ever foolish to act on what God says? As if he can’t be trusted? As if he can’t possibly overcome those circumstances?
From what I can see, it is foolish not to act. There have been times I’ve acted, and times I haven’t. When I have, the result most often has been beyond what I could have imagined. When I haven’t, or when (like Peter walking on water) I’ve caved halfway through, God’s mercy and grace have not left me without a hand to grasp. But the immediate results have been less than what his Word tells me is his best.
Trust and obey is still the best advice I could give anyone.