What Does God Really Want Us to Do?

OK, I know this seems like an odd question, particularly given my recent obsession with hurricanes, floods and the like. Is all that past? Is it time to return to our regularly scheduled broadcast? No. Not yet. Bear with me a sec and you’ll see the connection.

There is an old preacher’s yarn that goes something like this: “Do you know what God really wants us to do? I’ll give you a hint, he tells us to do this one thing more than anything else in the Bible.” Most people go straight for “Love,” or “Love God,” or “Love your neighbor.” Most people are wrong. Some will go in the related, but equally wrong direction of “believe.” A few shrewd folks will look at the negative side the equation, “It’s got to be some kind of ‘don’t,” they say. “Don’t lie?” Close, but no cigar.

“Fear Not!” That’s what God really wants us to do. “Don’t be afraid.” The instruction comes forth from the mouths of messengers (angles) and messiahs and even The Almighty Himself, but each time it’s a variation on the theme. Don’t be afraid.

And this where this becomes another “flood-i-cane” post. These last several days have been rough for everyone here in the city. More than rough for lots of them. Unimaginably rough for quite a few. My life has been basically good. My house is dry (so far) and my electricity is on. My family is here with me and we have lots of options.

But we’ve experienced fear. And fear is the problem.

Whether is comes from watching the latest weather report, or reading the stories of friends and neighbors imperiled in the storm, watching the waters creep up the sidewalk toward the house or cowering, for the fifth time tonight in the bathtub waiting for the latest tornado warning to expire, fear has become our daily bread here. And these are just minor inconveniences, I can’t imagine the fear of those exposed more directly to the torrent. It must be down right oppressive.

So, what would God have us do in this situation? Same thing he would have us do in every situation: Fear Not! That’s the whole program. Simple, right? Maybe not so much.

There is a program, though. The way that we stop being afraid, or at least stop being afraid actually has to do with all of those other things that folks think are God’s deepest desire for us. It’s all part and parcel of the plan. It turns out that “Love casts out fear.” (That’s in the Bible). So does trust and faith and belief ad square-dealing ad discipline and piety. These are all steps on the same path, learning not to fear.

So, what would God have us do in the midst of this storm. He’d have us love one another well. Reach out in trust to one another and strive to be worthy of the trust of others. Be disciplined in prayer and relationship so that we can have more confidence that God is, even now, working for us. And try to stop being afraid. Even if just a little. Even if just for a minute.\-

Stay dry out there.

One comment

  1. Another Question:
    Many people accuse Christianity of being “exclusive.” Our way or the highway when it comes to believing that Jesus is the son of God. Will unbelievers be denied heaven?


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