Change is exhausting, isn’t it?
Don’t you think there must have been a moment for Lazarus when Jesus came to raise him from the dead when he wanted to say, “Really, Lord? Do I have to? Can’t I stay here? Heaven’s brilliant!”
But Jesus called him forth nonetheless, in all those stinky grave clothes. And there was a community there who waited for him to emerge, longed for him to begin again and continue on with them.
One of the primary challenges of change – in my book anyway – is that it happens so slo-owly. So incrementally. It just goes on and on and on adding one grain of sand at a time while you’re longing to see what the castle will look like.
Of course there is also sudden dramatic change, but these are more straightforward to handle because you can only respond, not initiate change step by step.
You win the Lotto. Well, what are you doing to do?
You lose a loved one. Now what must you do to endure it? To survive it?
Finding your soul mate and getting married is an incremental change. Divorce is an incremental change. Choosing a new job or career/Finding a new place to live/Moving forward after a massive life change – all of these are incremental changes made up of a million seemingly minor decisions. HOWEVER, each ‘minor’ decision or lack thereof (therefore becoming your decision by default) requires putting a grain of sand on one pile or another.
Shall I make that phone call or not?
Should I ask that person for help?
Should I look for somewhere to stay around here – or somewhere else?
Shall I reply to that Ad?
For me, as a Christian in the process of change, I am constantly casting around for signs of God’s favor and direction. What new information is being “added”?
Is an “open door” de facto the one that I should walk through? What if there are going to be several evidently “open doors”? How am I going to choose which one to go through? Should I move ahead with the one in front of me so far, or wait for more to appear? Is God saving me from indecision by only giving me one, or asking me to wait for more?
And what do I truly want to do? As one seeks God the heart starts lining up with His will, so what I want is not about a “should” but my real desire. And God is absolutely interested in me finding that out and pursuing it.
And I have free will, so (unfortunately) God’s not going to light up the next best step for me with a neon sign. I must search my heart and use my brain. Amazingly, God actually cares about what I want to do, and He wants me to choose it.
There’s that fantastic bit in Screwtape isn’t there, where the Devil tells his nephew that their greatest opportunity to steal the Christian away from God comes in moments of decision. Because it is then that God must completely pull away so people can make decisions of their own free will. If a person then chooses to follow God’s way they will have done so freely, birthing true relationship between themselves and their Heavenly Father.
Ugh. I do wish God would tip me the wink right now however. I am not yet sure which path to take.
All I can do is take this change one decision at a time. I can’t see seven decisions ahead, nor can I allow for what all the ramifications of my next decision might be. I can only make it. I can only feel around with my foot for firm ground in front of me from where I’m standing now, and then decide to step out when I find it.
And so my thoughts return to Lazarus. Jesus called him out of death into new/re-newed life. And even though Lazarus would physically die again, Jesus had more for him in the here and now. In this life.
Jesus cleared the way for Lazarus, but He didn’t enter the tomb and carry Lazarus out. He called him out: “Lazarus! COME FORTH!”
Lazarus had to move.
Lazarus had to trust.
And Lazarus knew the Lord.
As do I.
I too need to “come forth”. I need to move, one step at a time with my hands in His, into the new life I’m being called to.
‘Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak but Thou art mighty, Guide me with Thy powerful hand.’