Will God Move for You?
I call people on the phone. I’m 36, and most of my friends prefer to text, but I like to hear the inflection in someone’s voice. I was driving back from lunch a few months ago when I suddenly thought out of the blue that I needed to call a specific person.
I called, and the voice on the other end of the phone said, “You have got to be kidding me. I was typing you an email this morning, and I didn’t have time to finish. I cannot believe you called me?!” I could tell she was smiling ear to ear as she continued, “I can’t believe how God works. I’m having a hard time with several things, and I needed to talk.”
As a reader, I want you to evaluate this story for a second: was this call a coincidence, or was God moving for her?
Do you believe that God still moves? When I ask this question, the answer is usually quick and in the affirmative. But if I ask, “Do you believe that God still moves for you?” There is a delay long enough to drive a truck through. Why?
For some reason, the “for you” makes us waiver in our conviction of God’s actions.
It is easier to believe in a God that acts somewhere else. (Missionaries always seem to be closer to God’s power than we do.) It is nearly effortless to imagine God working in some distant land. It is simple to believe that God will move for someone else. It is a breeze to trust that God was powerfully advancing his causes long ago.
Try this phrase on for size: “I believe that God moves here, now, and for me.”
What was your first reaction as that phrase passed through your lips? Did you wince at the phrase? Did you doubt it when it came out of your mouth? Did you feel naive when you said it? Your response isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but it may reveal what you truly believe about God’s power.
I want to challenge your doubt and lay my cards on the table: I am convinced that God moves here, now, and for you!
There is a bundle of verses in the book of John that has been significant to me. John 5:1-14 (take the time to read it if you are unfamiliar) tells a story titled “The Healing at the Pool.” There is a man who had been crippled or paralyzed for 38 years, and he is lying by a pool that was rumored to have healing powers. The man explains to Jesus that even if the waters were stirred with healing powers, it wouldn’t work for him because he is far too slow to be the first in the water. It is a hopeless situation.
It is fascinating to me that this lame man has the faith to believe that God moves for others, but not for him. He doesn’t doubt God’s power; he doubts God’s power for him.
Do you find it easier to believe that God could move powerfully for someone else?
Jesus tells the man to take up his mat and go home, but he doesn’t get far before the Pharisees turn on the lights and siren of their religious squad-car and command him to come to an immediate stop. The formerly lame man explains that someone healed him.
How do the Pharisees respond? Shouts of joy? A parade through the streets? A trip to the temple? No. They are far too concerned that someone broke the Law. (Really, in carrying a mat on the Sabbath, the man was only disobeying a rabbinic rule, not God’s Law).
The Pharisees believed that God moved long ago for Moses and Abraham, but not in their time. They didn’t have their eyes open to God’s power in their everyday surroundings. No one in this story expected God to do anything!
Do you believe God moved long ago, but not now?
The Pharisees catch up with Jesus and question him about healing on the Sabbath. He tells them something very significant:
“My Father is always at work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17).
God is always at work! God is at work today! God is at work even when it doesn’t feel like it! God is at work in every corner of our planet!
Therefore, our eyes should be open and expecting God to work. We need to work on our doubt.
Jesus explains more to them:
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19).
Jesus doesn’t act on his own; he works where God is working. What Jesus sees is what God is already doing. I wonder what Jesus saw that the rest of us don’t.
What would it be like to peer behind the curtain of our world to witness God pulling all the strings?
It is as if when Jesus walked by the pool, God tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I’m working with this lame man.” God showed Jesus everything. God showed him what each ounce of power was doing and where he should get to work.
We don’t see all that God does today. God shows us glimpses of where he is working. The phone call I made out of the blue was one of those moments. I am not great at noticing everything and I still miss more than I should, but God wants us to see what he is doing and join him in his work.
A disciple believes that God still moves, here, now, and for me. A disciple discerns and follows God’s move.
If you want to be an uncommon follower of an extraordinary God, pray for God to reveal to you where he is moving and move with him.
(For more from Joel, check out uncommonfollower.com. Used with permission.)