When Your Theology Meets a Woman With Reddish Hair

Sometimes (mostly lately), I struggle with the idea of God’s will and what I think I ought to do versus what I feel I ought to do, and I’m arriving at a conclusion.

This is a conclusion – which is to be held lightly. (Conclusions should always be held lightly, with open hands, realizing humbly that the final say of anything always rests with God, and that knowing Him is of far greater value than being right).

But I have an idea of a conclusion all the same: that it’s no use being scared of what you’re inevitably going to do. 

Because deep, deep down, especially if we’re connected to Love, we know what we’re made to do.

Even the most deeply theological pastors cannot deny this. Somehow, they have come to where they are, they have done the inevitable thing – and maybe they attach this word to it, “called,” because that’s what people understand.

You aren’t born an athlete, or born an artist, or anything else. You have to make choices that get you there, and it makes sense for you to say yes to opportunities – because deep inside of you, you know that this is what you were made for.  There was most likely never a light from heaven, no solemn, booming voice, but you heard it deep inside you, or you read it somewhere, and it resonated with what was in your heart. It seemed clear enough to you at the moment that you decided to have faith and hold onto it.

We have purposes written on our hearts. 

There’s this whole heaping barrier of earth on one side that represents the position of the unalterable sovereignty of God. And yes, we can live every day without worrying about the next (Matthew 6), we can trust the road that we’re on. He says so.

But if I believe His sovereignty in making us for such a time as this, for the time that we’re placed in (Acts 17:26-27), THESE right-here right-nows, then the thing that will glorify Him the very most is if I pursue the passions and talents that He has placed in my heart.

And I would even venture to argue that an active belief in God’s sovereignty would step forward confidently, rather than wait and do nothing, waiting for God to make the first move. I would argue that God has already made the first move, the second move, the third move, and is waiting for us to have courage. He only ever requires our willing yes.

Yes, I’ll be brave.

Yes, I believe that you are faithful.

A woman with wide eyes and reddish hair asked me my name at church this morning, and gave me hers, which I already knew. I knew her from her music, knew the quiet, still trust in Jesus in it.

And there’s a poster up on the wall of the church that is full of words that describe what the church strives to be. I remember two of the words in particular: missional and incarnational. (Please understand: No church is the perfect church. This messy, broken system is His hand in the world, full of messy, broken people – yes.)

I think that it is more important to be incarnational than to be missional. Not that we can embody the person of Jesus, but that we can try to live like Him as much as possible – that is incarnational. I can be as missional as everything and sell all I have and move to Africa, and not live at all like Jesus.

Oh, let’s not ignore Acts 1:8! Let’s not ignore God’s obvious, active love for all peoples, so evident in Scripture.

But – missional living will always stem from incarnational living. 

And at the core is the person of Jesus. THIS we cannot avoid, cannot deny, cannot talk away or disprove how He touches our hearts, how He draws close, how much sense He makes, how often there is a third way –

We cannot make cookie-cutter Christians in other cultures. We can’t make people in our image, that have our desires to go to the next unchurched village. It’s not possible. But what about disciples that love Jesus? That follow Jesus? Can we live incarnationally and know the heart of Jesus, and transfer that to the next person? And if a person becomes like Jesus, he will want to go to the next unchurched village because that is the heart of Jesus.

Let us not get caught up in the pursuit of Jesus and lose sight of Jesus.

Jesus was flesh and blood and made of dust, and yet he glorified God in doing ordinary, human things.

I am inevitably going to do something. And it glorifies God profoundly, just the simple doing of it, and I can’t talk it away. And that woman with the red hair writes her sweet songs to God just because that is what she does – because she has to, that is her task, it’s what she’s been given to do, it’s inevitable – not in a God-is-sovereign-and-thus-I-am-forced way, but because God is incarnational and that is precisely the first step in being missional.

And maybe, just before that, a half-step in the right direction, is trusting that God did make you for such a time as this (Esther 4:14), that you can glorify God in how He reveals His glory in you by doing what He made you to do – this is a premise of incarnational living.

But the foundation is always, always the person of Jesus.

Please understand – this is a new kind of theology for me. God has made it clear to me more than once that I need to hold onto Him before I hold onto my beliefs about Him. I’m willing to give it all up if He leads me to. But right now, this is what my heart understands, and I’m so thankful for it – and I’m ready to be brave and say yes


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