Wind Against Wings and The Will of God

If you’re going to be in the Antwerp area on Halloween Sunday and want to hear a sermon on the Priesthood of Believers, I will be preaching following singing at the Antwerp Community Church, which not so promptly starts at 10:30.


I don’t know where some beliefs in American Christianity originally come from, but one belief struck me on my way to work last Saturday. It was extremely windy. And I saw a hawk trying to fly. He wanted to head somewhere that was in the direction of where the wind was blowing from. I assumed it was his home. He would hop up into the air, flap his wings with all of his might and fly backwards. As I was driving I saw him try this a few times; each time causing him to be further and further away from where he was trying to go. I felt sorry for him as I drove on by.

I hate (at least that is what I tell myself) to always be always be contrarian, but every belief is in contrast to another belief. And one in particularly struck me as being wrong when I saw that hawk flapping its wings. American Christianity tells us to find where God is working and join him. We are told to find the wave of God’s will and ride it. Imagery that seems to make doing God’s will seem easy and enjoyable. Like normal, it seems like I disagree with one of the cornerstone beliefs of American Christianity, but in an effort to not misrepresent something, I am going to try to share what I believe.

Sometimes God calls people to do things that are rough. Sometimes people are forerunners into living out God’s will in a way that will make them be looked down upon by others, even by others who also claim to be following the will of God. Maybe God is calling you to do something that wouldn’t be popular. Maybe you see a teaching of Scripture that isn’t being lived out and you would be unpopular if you began to live it out. How can that be if God’s will should be what the American Christian culture says it should be. I think I have been lied to by people who are themselves deceived. Take for instance one part of the story of Ezekiel.

(Ezek 4:4-17 NASB) ""As for you, lie down on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; you shall bear their iniquity for the number of days that you lie on it. {5} "For I have assigned you a number of days corresponding to the years of their iniquity, three hundred and ninety days; thus you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. {6} "When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; I have assigned it to you for forty days, a day for each year. {7} "Then you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared, and prophesy against it. {8} "Now behold, I will put ropes on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other, until you have completed the days of your siege. {9} "But as for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt, put them in one vessel and make them into bread for yourself; you shall eat it according to the number of the days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days. {10} "And your food which you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; you shall eat it from time to time. {11} "And the water you drink will be the sixth part of a hin by measure; you shall drink it from time to time. {12} "And you shall eat it as a barley cake, having baked it in their sight over human dung." {13} Then the LORD said, "Thus shall the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations where I shall banish them." {14} But I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I have never been defiled; for from my youth until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has any unclean meat ever entered my mouth." {15} Then He said to me, "See, I shall give you cow's dung in place of human dung over which you will prepare your bread." {16} Moreover, He said to me, "Son of man, behold, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and they will eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and drink water by measure and in horror, {17} because bread and water will be scarce; and they will be appalled with one another and waste away in their iniquity."

Here we have a guy who wants to be faithful to God and is one of the lucky ones who has a visible calling by God to do his work. What does God tell him to do? He’s supposed to go and lie down on his left side for 390 days. Then after that he is supposed to lay down on his right side for forty days. He is supposed to cook his food over a fire that is made by burning human dung as fuel. Then after a little pleading from Ezekiel, God changes his mind and allows Ezekiel to use cow dung instead of human dung.

I’m sure that if I walked up town and saw a man who had been laying on his side for 390 days eating food prepared over roasting cow dung I wouldn’t be envious of his calling. I probably wouldn’t even think that what he was doing was the will of God. I would label him a crazy man.

I expect God’s calling to be something grand. I want to be used for great things. Then I realize that I am deceiving myself. That isn’t what following Christ is about. Sometimes I might be called to be that man laying in the town square eating food prepared over cow dung.

I am reminded of the people at the end Hebrew 11.

(Heb 11:35-40 NASB) "Others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; {36} and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. {37} They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated {38} (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. {39} And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, {40} because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect."

These were the great people of faith. There calling was much more humbling than the great and extraordinary calling I have longed for. I would love to be famous. I would love to have the world listen to what I feel God has laid on my heart. All my dreams and aspirations are useless. They are like the cow dung Ezekiel was supposed to cook his food on.

God might call me into obscurity. If so, I need to be happy with that. God might call me into something I might not particularly enjoy. If so, I need to find joy in that. God might call me to do something that would lead to my death. If so, I hope we would all be able to praise him in that.

God’s calling isn’t always a wave to be joined. It is sometimes lonely, embarrassing, and/or deadly. It isn’t always glorious. It isn’t always fun. Sometimes it takes sacrifice, sweat, and tears. I hope that I can be content with whatever God calls me to. If God is calling me into the wind where my wings can’t even reach, I pray that I will have the patience and endurance to be like that hawk and keep trying. Because if it is God’s will, then the wind will let up and my wings will soar like never before.

Watch out for the potholes.