Wednesday, September 3, 2008

God Is Not Obligated

God is not obligated to anything for anybody. Including me.

I find that concept difficult to stomach. I want to be rewarded for my work. I want God to pull His “fair share.” When I step off a cliff because He asks me to, I want to be guaranteed He will catch me.

Like in my writing. I didn’t want to become a novelist, at least not full-time necessarily. I wanted a safe job with a steady paycheck. Not a career where only a handful of the best of the best can make a living at it. What if I remain single for the rest of my life?

But God asked.

I said yes.

And seven years later I am still without a contract, without even an agent. I can’t help but lift my face toward heaven and ask, “Why? I agreed to take this leap of faith. Why haven’t You opened the doors for me?”

His answer is simple: “Because I am not obligated to.

“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself read, and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:7-10)

Hard words. I don’t like them very much. But that doesn’t make them unture.

Yes, God is faithful and will do all He has said and promised. And yes, often that means God will reward the hard work. Yes, often He will perform the impossible when we can do no more. Yes, often He will catch us if we take that leap of faith.

But He is not obligated to.

Sometimes He will refuse to provide—especially in the way we want Him to. Sometimes He will ask of us the impossible…and then let us fail. Sometimes He will let us fall and hurt ourselves.

It’s ultimately His choice. He is Master and He knows what He’s doing.

My job is to obey—do my duty—no matter what, placing no “obligations” on God to fill. Of course, knowing that and living it are two different beasts.

Lord, grant me the strength to persevere.

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