Last week I got watching Evan Almighty. Not my usual type of movie but Sarah wanted to watch it so what’s a good fiance to do? Somewhat surprisingly it started raising questions in my mind about following God, knowing its God that’s commanding you and how do you explain it to others?
In the movie, Evan is called by God to build an ark for an impending flood. He gets some pretty blatant signs what he is to do with everything pointing him to Genesis 6:14 then God himself appearing before him (and if God looks like Morgan Freeman, that would be very cool) Naturally Evan is asking how he can be sure it is God. Inevitably he gets signs from birds following him to him losing all his clothes except the robe God gives him; the unshavable beard seemed to clinch it though. It’s all well and good in the movies but in the real world it doesn’t work that way. I’ve spent my week off just putting everything to one side and just spending time with Sarah and whilst I think I have a handle on where God is leading me, he has a habit of sending me off in other directions, or I have a habit of going off in other directions. Which it is, is actually part of the problem; thinking I’m following God when I’m not and vice versa. My current job is in digital forensics and I’m currently taking an exam (well, waiting for the results of it*) and I’m pretty sure God has something planned for me in this field, but I can’t be sure. I ask him, but Morgan Freeman doesn’t come, it just feels like that’s where I’m heading. I’m not sure I have a definite task yet though, I have this site and causes that I try to publicize but I feel I want to do more. Maybe it’s all linked.
How do you explain it to others though? Not even Evan’s family, who talked about praying at the beginning, believed him to start with. The town thought he was just plain nuts, to be fair if someone started building an ark because they thought a flood was coming, I’d think they were nuts. Or if they’re going to build a giant cross within which to bury people in . If Christians are going to be skeptical, how do you explain it to someone who doesn’t even believe God exists? If they’re your friend, they’ll probably accept that you think God is calling you because you believe it. If they’re not your friend, be ready for ridicule, but the Bible is full of stories such as this and Jesus never said you’d have an easy ride. The other aspect though is what you think God is calling you do. Many atrocities have, and continue to be “justified” by saying “God called me to do it!” If I say “God is calling me to fight slavery” then many people will probably be with you and accept it. If you say “God is calling me to kill these people”, that would be questioned and rightly so. These atrocities do mean that when people say God is calling them, it makes people nervous. Trying to explain that you’re doing something because God is calling you will raise eyebrows regardless. Sarah and I postponed our wedding by 2 years because we believe God is calling her to be a youth worker and train in Birmingham, approx 80 miles from where I live. Explaining this to my parents was interesting.
The phrase “you have to follow your heart” is an easy one when people agree with where your heart is going. Same for following God. It’s easy to do when people agree with where he’s leading you. Filtering out all the influences and trying to get to what God has planned and what you’re supposed to do with it seems to be the hardest part of being a Christian. Faith affects every part of your life, it’s going to drive decisions and it’s going to get people curious. I just do the best I can and pray God does the rest.
I just hope he doesn’t get me building arks.
*Since writing this, I have passed both sections of the exam
First published 18th August 2013