I have been thinking a lot of Kevin’s talk at Keystone. You know the one where he showed the video about the father who preformed a triathlon carrying his paraplegic son. Kevin’s point of God carrying us has really made me look again at several passages of the promises of His presence that goes hand-in-hand with His call.
One of these accounts is in Exodus 3:11, 12. Moses asks who he is that God should call him to this task of going before Pharaoh and leading the Israelites out of Egypt. God doesn't response by telling him how skilled he was as a leader after leading sheep for 40 years nor by mentioning his pedigree of being raised in Pharaoh's house. He doesn’t mention his Myers-Briggs type or what cool gadgets He will give him (though a stick that turns into a snake might qualify as a really cool gadget). He just says, “I will be with you.” It’s like God says, “Bro, that’s all you really need. If I called you and I am with you, this is gonna work.”
The Lord says similar stuff to Joshua (Deut 31:23, Josh 1:5, 9). Here’s Joshua faced with replacing a legend, crossing the Jordan, leading this mob into the occupied promised land, taking the hill country, etc. What does God say? “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life (i.e. this will work), as I was with Mosses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The bible often couples victory / success / influence with God’s presence. For extra credit, you might want to read: Gene 39:2, 3; Num 23:21; Josh 6:27; Judges 1:19; 1 Sam 3:19; 18:14; 2 Sam 5:10; 7:9; 2 Chr 1:1; Is 8:8-10; 41:10-16; 43:2; Jer 1:19; 30:10, 11; Haggai 2:4-6; & Rom 8:31.
One of my favorite passages is in Luke 5 about the account of the miraculous catch. Before: professional fishermen fish all night and catch zilch. Afterwards: they catch so much fish that their nets begin to break, need help and the boats begin to sink under the weight of all the fish they catch. What’s different? It’s the same fishermen, same boats, same nets (though now washed), same lake, and maybe same spot on the lake. But this time Jesus got in their boat. Yeah, maybe we need from time to time to change nets or go to a different place on the lake or even a different lake. But it seems to me that the real critical mass is making sure Jesus shows up and then we go where He tells us to go and when He tells us to go. (Same with Book of Acts and the Holy Spirit.)
The one caveat with this correlation of God’s powerful, awesome, holy, presence and things working out is faith. Mark records that Jesus didn’t do many miracles in his hometown because of their lack of faith. He showed up, but not much happened because they didn’t believe.
I think there are about sixteen passages where the Lord says, “don’t be afraid because I am with you.” Lately, I have found myself during a midnight feeding feeling a little overwlemed with the thought of being a dad to three little boys wondering if I have what it takes (or will have enough money). Maybe you have felt (or will feel) a little overwhelmed by the task before you. Leading often brings about a healthy sense of fear. In the night I am reassured by the promise of His presence. He has what it takes even if we don’t.
Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4