So I took to facebook to post a life update which was as follows:
LIFE UPDATE: We’re moving on April 29. A lot of people ask me where to and what my new job is. I don’t know. yet. I believe it’s God’s will for us to move. So it’s God’s responsibility to provide us with these things. So stop asking me! Ask God! In prayer! Thanks.
A bunch of my friends commented with a great deal of encouragement. And some also gave sales pitches for their own cities. (I just want everyone to know that I’ll only move my family to a Red State.) Each of these friends live lives of faith, so they commiserate with our situation.
God purposefully leads his faithful into life pickles that confound our expectations and challenge our faith.
Kierstin reminded me to think of Abraham who was told about the promised land, but he had no idea how any of it would work out. You know, Abraham’s life pickle is a good example for us. When I read his story, I get the impression that God is a maniacal Willie Wonka. And Abraham is a haplessly frustrated Charlie.
You guys know what I’m saying about pickles, right? I’m talking about baseball. It’s like I was at first base. I looked into the dug out and I thought I saw the sign to steal. And I was like, “Uh, okay. It doesn’t make sense. But if that’s what Skip wants…” And I took a break for it.
The crowd was all like, “Nooo! Don’t do it, Jimmy! How could you be so stupid. Stop! Stop! Go back.” Can you imagine the hometown crowd yelling at you to not steal. I can. Ortiz can too.
I look up and I see the second baseman just caught the ball and is running toward me. I look back at first and think I’ll take the crowd’s advice, but welp, the first baseman just got the ball lobbed to him. They’re trotting along the baseline closing in. And I’m wondering what Skip was thinking.
It’s a pickle. There ain’t no easy way out. Save a miracle. Worst of all you feel like an idiot for getting into a pickle in the first place. I mean I’m a power hitter. Not a base stealer.
The Next Level
The Bible says the righteous shall live by faith. When we obey God, we prove our faithfulness to him.
When a man begins walking with Jesus, he’s not so mature in his faith. It’s a great challenge to him just to obey. The most elementary of the rules for holy living become a big step. For example he first struggles with admitting that God wants him to stop reading pornography and masturbating. Then he struggles with obeying that command. Some other guys struggle with not murdering.
For the mature, obedience is no longer the question. And that’s what makes a Christian mature. (That’s what makes a dog mature too.) Obedience. When a Christian proves himself faithful, God brings him to the Next Level. There, the challenge is not the elementary rules of holy living. It’s struggling to just know the will of God specifically for your life.
God, I want to obey you. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here.
Faith vs. Folly
God doesn’t make the Next Level easier. He makes the Next Level more difficult. God makes obedience at the Next Level so preposterous that the whole world will consider you a fool for the decisions you make. (Think of all Fenway yelling at me to not steal second.) You will think you’re a fool for what you set out to do in obedience.
And that’s the agony of Christian maturity. Where do my own impulses end and the Holy Spirit’s compulsion begin? Am I committing a foolhardy action or a leap of faith? Is this voice I hear a delusion of my own mind or the prompting of God?
I don’t know the answer. That’s why it’s an agonizing struggle. But where there’s doubt, bold faith abounds.
It’s just like a runner at first base looking into the dugout at Skip and seeing his earlobe tugging and brim swiping and shoulder pointing. Who can keep track of that? Certainly the runner must doubt at least a little if he read the signals correctly. I struggle to know God’s will because it seems that the way he communicates is more cryptic than earlobe tugging.
The Bible says, “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Matthew 11:9) The reason God leads you into life pickles is so that only he can work you out of them. God will vindicate you, when he calls you to extreme idiocy. But first you got to do the idiotic.
Some of you are shaking your head no. Okay, you dumb dumbs. Look at Moses. He lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Right? And in a short time, following that pillar of fire provided by God, they were right up against the Red Sea. Mountains pinned them in on either side and Pharaoh’s army was right there behind them.
Moses raised his staff and an East wind divided the waters. The Hebrews walked across on dry ground. The Egyptians’ pursued, and the waters drowned them. Read for yourself in Exodus 14.
The Next Level Christian in a Life Pickle gets a miracle.
Life Application Study Question: Will you run into a Life Pickle?
Some of you feel inspired, like these words were superimposed over a picture of a lake at sunset and posted on tumblr. You might be thinking of leading off at first. Warning: It’s not thrilling like hitting a home run. It’s pretty miserable.
When you run into a life pickle you must wrestle with your own doubt. Then you must maintain your resolve as all Fenway calls you an idiot and everyone watching on the YES Network laughs. Finally, you have the enemy who attacks you, trying to make you fail. Plus all the exhausting running back and forth.
Is that really what you want? It might be better to play it safe and not enter Next Level Christianity. Just stick to jumping on Goombas in World 1-1.
I ran into a Life Pickle. It’s had a terrible effect on my career, my finances, my life, and made me feel wicked stupid about myself.
You see, I feel God called me to preach and teach his Word. The best way I’ve been able to answer that call is to work on feedingjimmy.com and my youtube. It hasn’t really worked out well, though.
Then my wife and I feel like it’s God’s will to sell our house and move out of Massachusetts. But the whole process has been a disaster. And if we can finally get to closing, I still don’t know where to move or what I’ll do for a living there.
It would be nice to concentrate on preaching and teaching if that’s what God has called me to do. And that’s where I feel wicked stupid about myself. What guy wouldn’t want to blog for a living? I don’t want to be among those guys chasing foolish fantasies.
In the life pickle is where the folly of my decisions transform into the faith I have in God’s calling. At the Next Level, the difference between folly and faith is God.
You want to see if God vindicates me? Do you want to watch me live blog the train wreck of my life? Keep in touch on feedingjimmy.com. You can follow along on facebook.com/feedingjimmy or jimmykinkade.tumblr.com. Might as well plug my twitter, too. twitter.com/jimmykinkade.