God’s view of ends and means is reverse of ours. When we think that God is taking us to a specific end (except the eternal one), and that what is happening now is training or preparation, we are not thinking God’s thoughts.
Mark 6:45-5. “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, … Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, … But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
The beloved Christian thinker Oswald Chambers has a comment of that passage. “What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process – that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is alright because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, that is glorifying to God.”
I’d be very arrogant if I thought I could say it any better that that. Yet, that is upside-down to how I almost always think. I am always focused on a goal or an end-game that I think God has directed me to. I see the storms and waves as obstacles and obstructions to be overcome. Jesus sees them as tools in His end game of getting me to trust Him and simply rely on Him in the moment.
I enjoy canoeing on big lakes. The stronger the headwinds and higher the waves the better I like it. Trusting the boat and paddle and my partner and challenging the waves is exhilarating. And it requires focusing on the right-now, while we keep things headed generally in the direction of the next landing. There’s a metaphor for life in that.
I’m usually busy praying that God will quiet the waves and stop the wind so I can get to my goal. His goal is the process of getting me to simply trust him, in the chaos, and charge Him with getting me to the place He told me to go. His glory, not my comfort, is the end game.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s very hard to hang onto in the usual swirl of life. I must trust Him in-the-now and make “reaching the goal” totally a God thing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I almost always have things totally backwards. I commit myself to Your process of making me trust you, in the moment, and leave the driving to You.