"..Yet in My Flesh I Will See GOD" [Job. 19.26]

Saturday, October 6, 2012

When God Tells You to be in the "Wrong" Place

It's easy to say, "Stay in God's will," or even in the center of God's will. The problem is, our concept of what "God's will" is always fits what our ego or flesh craves for. We imagine that will to always make "things work together for good." And work together for good to our minds means we'll "live happily ever after." We often forget that God's will and best place for his beloved Son was the cross. If that was God's best for the Son, how about for us?

When my Jesus found himself nailed on the cross, he shouted, "Why have you forsaken me?" He was then in the center of God's will in the very true sense of the term. Some folks would say that being in God's will makes everything go well for you. It will give you money and convenience and favors in the world. Well, it didn't for Jesus. Because most times, being in God's will makes you cry, "Why have you forsaken me?" When my Jesus was born in a smelly, grimy, filthy manger and grew up in a very poor family, he seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nobody believed that Jesus was blessed and in God's will. Pilate asked doubtingly "You are a king then?" 

In fact, in those times it was Pilate and the Pharisees and the law teachers who seemed to be in the center of God's will--they were living comfortably and abundant with money. They had all the favors of people from high society. They had the biggest churches--I mean temples. What did my Jesus have? He even borrowed John the baptizer's disciples. He had nothing to show for it.

Churches today have the same mentality. They think churches with high incomes and posh buildings and packed with people are in God's will, while poor, small ones are out. They find something wrong when you don't have money, and find everything right if you do. Church growth to them is in terms of what is seen physically and what the world appreciates. They never bother to ask if that's what God commends. They're like unthinking robots, programmed to do what their human traditions have been dictating to them.

The fact is often, God tells you to be in the "wrong" place--wrong that is in the eyes of the world. Wrong because your place is not comfy for the flesh. Wrong because it's not getting you any money. Wrong because the place or situation does not translate to more money and possessions. Sometimes, it becomes "wrong" even to your eyes, and you start crying, "Yeah God, why did you put me here and left me to rot?" Why hast thou forsaken me?

But to God, you're in a perfect place. And if he tells you to stay, you better stay, even if your flesh is not comfortable. Even if all others around you are getting rich and more successful in the eyes of the world and luring you to quit and get out of your situation and join them, stay. God's will is where the flesh and ego are uncomfortable. That's why deceived people say you're in the wrong place and doing everything wrong.

Jeremiah was Always Wrong

First, God told Jeremiah that the Israelites should surrender to the Babylonians. God said, in effect, that the best place to be was in Babylon. What? Leave Israel, God's chosen land where the temple of God was? They couldn't believe it. Jeremiah didn't know what he was talking about. There was no better place to be in than God's chosen nation, where God's sacred temple was.

Later, they found out that Jeremiah was right. Jerusalem was flattened to the ground. And because of their stubbornness, the Israelites were all forced to go to Babylon--the hard way--except for a few extremely poor people who were allowed to remain in Jerusalem.

Imagine--God's chosen land was the wrong place and a pagan and idolatrous country (Babylon) was "God's will"? It was crazy! The bible-based people of God could not believe it. If you were there, how would you be able to tell which was which? Who'd you believe? My Jesus said, you will know them by their fruit. Look at their characters and life testimony. In Jeremiah's time the priests and the prophets (except Jeremiah) all had a worldly heart. They were not living God's LIFE. Always look for the LIFE.

After the exile, this time, God's present Word to Jeremiah became "Stay in Jerusalem." Before the exile and fall of Jerusalem, the present Word had been "Leave Jerusalem and go to Babylon." But now it was "Stay in Jerusalem." Again, they thought Jeremiah was wrong. Jerusalem--burned down and flattened to the ground--was definitely the wrong place to be, they thought. Anything ugly and wrecked and unprofitable cannot be God's will. So they thought of going to Egypt. Egypt then was like the US today--land of promise. A nice and rich country like that must be God's will.

That's why many pastors are pastoring abroad and wouldn't want to stay in the Philippines. That's why a lot of people think being able to travel abroad is a big favor from God and feels superior than those who aren't able. The rich and arrogant, and even the misguidedly ambitious, cannot be counted on to stay in God's will, so HE chooses the despised and poor remnants to stay with Him in His will. It seems to be the wrong place to be, but you better stay there when God tells you to be in the "wrong" place.