You Can’t Have it Both Ways

Crystal clear is how I like my communication.  I never liked the game of telephone.  (Not the kind in which you whisper a funny phrase with friends around the table.) The other kind, with the string and the tin can.  I always felt like the words being delivered were either so close and obvious, or so muffled that the game was pure bunk.  Just climb down from the treehouse and tell me what you were trying to say!  This tin can game is crap.   Hurray, for ACTUAL telephones that deliver the message–loud and in stereo–even by video at times.  Crystal clear communication please.

Not so with the God of the universe.  With Him and me it feels at times we are playing a game of muffled, old-fashioned tin can telephone.  Anyone else have fuzzy reception?

For the past couple of years we have been traveling on an emotional roller coaster.  (It’s all here.)    And yes, when I say, “years” I recognize I am  rounding up a bit.  Because it feels like a decade.  Recently, we made a conscious decision to ask God for a clear fresh call.  Would we be continuing to work in Uganda?  Or did God have a new assignment for us elsewhere?  We prayed for clarity, with the attitude of, “Whatever you want God we will do.  Wherever you tell us to go we will go.”   While asking for a fresh call, I also read this book:  Anything.  It was excellent, I love her heart and her story.   I read a lot of books during that time, but her  prayer of “anything” was pretty much something we had already been doing for several months–even years.  (Cause we are rounding up.)   The author explained within her own journey that God made things crystal clear–pretty much within the week.  On EVERYTHING.  So I did the ridiculous:  I started wanting God to do the same for me.  Yeah.  Um. Not so much.  We prayed and waited.  And waited. And waited.  And straight up honest, I grew whiney and bitter.    I was anxious and annoyed.  Our fam had endured a lot–(I reminded God of this daily)– so to plow forward with no clear plan felt unfair and like God was asking too much of this weary heart.

Recently, after heading back to Uganda with some direction but nothing completely official– I was reminded how often God asked his people to trust and walk by faith.  I was NOT special.   He might give a simple instruction like, “Go there.”  Or, “Stay here.”  But His people typically were not clued in to the full picture.  Lately I toned down the whining as I was reminded that far less folks said, “anything,” and heard within the week a full out faith-following plan.   Far more of our forefathers went wandering in the desert for 40 years and (true story) the brave leader of that group never actualized the place God had asked him to inhabit.  For the love.

I swing wildly to the other side.  I think about another messenger with whom God was crystal clear.

“Jonah,  ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.'” (Jonah 1:2)  

The kids and I have been studying Assyrian history and this was a tough group.  They were the fiercest fighters at the time.  Infamous for conquering another’s territory, and to make their mark:  gouged out the eyes of their victims, cut out their tongues, or skinned them alive.  Nasty bunch.  I am sure they would have salivated to have a measly prophet pop over, camp out, and start “preaching against it’s wickedness.”   Yet, this one, had been given CRYSTAL CLEAR directives from the Lord.  Unmistakable.   And we all know what he did–and what most of us would do–he hopped in a boat going the opposite direction and ran for his life.  Grace Jonah, grace.  I get it.  So many folks get bad reps in the Bible–but let’s be honest–he was facing some legit persecution–with fierce warriors who had no mercy.  Of course God re-routes Jonah back to the original assignment and miraculously,  the eye-gouging Assyrians (Ninevites) actually respond to his message.   Which brings me to my original quandary–do I really want to know the full plan–because if I did–would I ditch the instructions and run the opposite direction?

Maybe God needs to hold back a bit so I don’t totally freak out.   I am realizing I can’t have it both ways.  I can’t be irritated and bitter when God is slow to reveal what is next…AND be a scaredy cat, tuck tail and run when He does shoot it straight with me.

If you are saying, “anything” and you are getting a clear (yet paralyzing) directive from God, have faith.  Great things are to come–move toward those ends–and yay you, for being trustworthy enough to hear the whole message!   If you are saying, “anything” and God is silent…or His message is kinda muffled take heart.  You are in good company.   And remember the desert wanderers DID finally make it to the Promised Land.

Wandering in the desert is no fun.  Nor is a clear directive that we are fear-stricken to follow.

My wrist reminds me.

Today I needed to be reminded…

“Hold UNSWERVINGLY to the hope you profess for He who promised is faithful.”  

Hebrews 10:23

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,



3 thoughts on “You Can’t Have it Both Ways

  1. Your words are very true. I want the Lord to spell out every detail, but when I see exactly what it is He’s trying to do in my life. I’m like – that doesn’t align with MY plans. Or, when the Lord gives me just enough direction to take the next step. I’m like – I hate not knowing the big picture. I’m slowly learning that I’m not the boss of my life – Jesus is. My life is not my own (1 Cor. 6:19) and I need to live by faith (Heb 10:38).


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