I spent last Monday attempting to prepare for Tuesday morning bible study. My friend and co-leader who had been leading us in a study was out-of-town and I was to fill in. I reviewed the book chapters where she had left off, but didn’t have any real sense that it was what God wanted me to teach. So I turned to my bible and prayer, seeking His lesson plans. Nothing. So I read more and prayed more. Still nothing. My thoughts kept returning to “cancel bible study”, but I dismissed this idea each time because surely that couldn’t be God! I love our home bible study and I’ve made a commitment to these women!
Tuesday morning I woke feeling lousy, day number 4 of having a “crick” in my neck. Again, I am strongly impressed to cancel our study for the week. But now I’ve already sent the email on Monday letting everyone know where we will be meeting. So I pull it together and head out, deciding that if God had not given me a lesson for this day, He had something else planned for our time together – maybe we were to spend the time in prayer, or a member of the group needed to be personally ministered to. I’m over halfway there when my vehicle begins to make this terrible noise. I have to pull over and call my hubby for advice. He needs to see what’s going on, so he instructs me to drive to his workplace. I call my sister-in-law, our hostess for the week, to let her know I will not be there after all (which throws her into a bit of a panic, as she is not prepared to lead a lesson either!). I get to hubby’s work, he drives the vehicle and doesn’t hear a thing. Really?
Too late to turn around and make bible study, I drove home. My body was relieved as I settled into bed once again with an ice pack on my neck, but my mind was bothered. Beyond the fact that I really don’t like when things do not go as planned, I knew that I had missed God. I should have cancelled bible study on Monday. So why didn’t I? Because it didn’t make sense to me. Why would God not want us to have bible study? And what would I tell the ladies? “Bible study is cancelled this week because I’ve got nothing to say?” (Which actually is a pretty good reason to cancel.) But rather than simply obey, I came up with an alternate plan: I could still show up and we could pray or share or whatever God would lead us to do….
I’m laying there talking all this over with God and He made me drill down to get to the real reason I didn’t cancel: I cared more about what the ladies would think of me than obeying Him. ouch. I’m typically not one who worries a great deal about what other people think, but these are not just any ladies – they are my sisters and my friends and I have stepped into a role of leadership with them. I didn’t want them to think I was a slacker.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways… Isaiah 55:8
I know this. Yet I still find myself trying to explain God. The bible is full of God’s ways that did not make sense: a bunch of people marching around a great walled city for seven days and watching it fall when they shouted; a man who had mud smeared on his eyes in order for him to regain his sight; a young man facing a giant with a sling and a stone. What if those marching around Jericho had stopped because the people of the city were mocking them? What if the man had not let Jesus put mud on his eyes because his friends were watching and he couldn’t explain to them why Jesus was doing it this way? What if David had walked out in Saul’s armor because that’s what the soldiers expected? The outcomes would have been dramatically different. Why did God choose these particular ways to accomplish His will? I don’t know.
Cancelling bible study doesn’t seem to be in the same category as these events, but as much as I believe their obedience secured His will in the outcomes, I must trust Him with whatever methods He chooses for me – without feeling that I have to explain Him.
I am grateful once again that He is patient and kind, longsuffering and gracious with me when I am slow to respond. So the outcome of last Tuesday? The ladies that met at my sister-in-law’s home had a time of sharing with each other and I got some much-needed rest, along with a reminder that I can trust Him to lead me even when it doesn’t make sense.