A Consumed Vision

 

Pursuing God can be an incredibly difficult thing, especially when we are alone. That is what adds so much power to passages like Daniel 3 with the fiery furnace and the stories of the martyrs throughout church history: the fact that they not only stood—but stood alone with so many people pushing against them. The costs for going against the status quo was high which makes it resonate with us on a level that can not be expressed in words: only through chills running down our spines and moments of awed silence.

We know what it is like to be under that kind of pressure. To be called by God to do something that is totally contrary to what everyone else is doing, and frankly, might even be totally contrary to what we are currently doing. In a lot of ways, putting our faith in God like He calls us to means putting all of our eggs in one basket. An invisible basket. That we can’t see. Or touch. Or sense. That is hanging three hundred feet above a rocky gorge. It is something that takes a lot of courage and is by no means easy to do, especially when we are the only ones doing it.

That is part of what makes Christian community and fellowship so vital to our walks with Christ. Having that support means that when God calls us to do something that seems difficult, impossible, or just outright illogical, we have people to turn to who can encourage us and remind us of His faithfulness.

But what if we don’t have that and God calls us anyways? That is the place I found myself this summer. God was consistently calling me to step out towards Him in ways that did not make a bit of sense to me at the time, and I had very few people to turn to. And it was in that moment, under that pressure, that I ran into the 2 Timothy 2 passage: “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (ESV) I cried out to God asking Him where these people were that I was supposed to be pursuing Him alongside, and He answered.

I woke up the following morning, opened my devotional, and found this passage tucked away inside the pages of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest:

“The very thing we look for, we shall find when we concentrate on Him…the casting about in our minds as to what we should do this summer, or tomorrow, all vanish when we look at God.”

That worked beautifully with the verse that accompanied it:

“Look unto me and be ye saved…”

Isaiah 45:22a

God spoonfed me Scripture and wisdom like that for the entirety of the day, from sun up to sun down, and it took me until about ten o’clock that night to put two and two together and realize something was going on here. When God spoonfeeds someone, it is for one of two reasons: 1) they are refusing to eat and so that is the only way He can get the message across to them, or 2) they are just totally oblivious to what is going on in the world around them. In that moment, I was a little bit of both. But God managed to get the message through.

I am very much a verbal processor, just talk to my RA Tory. I need to talk to someone if I am ever going to get my thoughts sorted out. So even though I knew there was something going on, I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I called my dad down to my room which, at this point, looked like one of those cork boards, covered in paper and evidence bags, all connected by lines of string like you see in murder mystery movies. I had Bibles and devotionals and handouts and notebooks and pens all strewn across my bed where I was slowly pulling the story together. I saw five things: friends, sight, faith, God, and me.

I walked both my dad and myself through the entirety of my day from start to finish, and, by the end, I understood what God was trying to tell me. “Let me fill your full vision. Fixate on me. Walk towards where I am, and I will give you all that you need.” Where was I going to find others “who call on the Lord our of a pure heart?” I was going to find them in the process of calling on the Lord out of a pure heart. All I needed to do was walk towards God, and He would guide me towards others. I did not need to go on a hunt for friendship. I needed to move in the direction that I saw God and let Him bring up others beside me.

In the words, I wrote to myself in my notebook on May 5th of this year: “The path of righteousness is straight and narrow, and so I am bound to run into somebody.” And that statement has proved itself over and over more times than I could count. So to those of you who find yourselves with needs for community and companionship still lacking—or, for that matter, anything lacking at all—fixate on God. Let Him consume your vision, and through your pursuit of Him, all things that are actually needed will be fulfilled and all things that were never really needed at all will fade from view in the light of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.

As always, with the love that comes only from Christ,

Jon Hastings

“Turn to me and be saved,
    all the ends of the earth!
    For I am God, and there is no other.”

Isaiah 45:22 ESV


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