When Christians today compare ourselves with the callings of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Joshua, Hannah, Ruth, Esther, Huldah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, James, John, or Paul…we do not see the same magnitude and intensity of calling in the specific events of our lives on a similar grand scale…as these great men and women of faith in the Bible.
Why is that?
Our understanding of God’s plans and purposes for people…in terms of journeys of faith (Heb. 11:1)…begins with the detailed life-script of Abraham the biblical “father of faith” as he is called of God to travel from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan.
With each step Abraham takes God is displacing whatever normative plans Abraham would have had in Haran according to its culture and conventions…with a non-worldly, unconventional life-script containing the critically new element of faith in God…a life-script Abraham would never have imagined in his wildest dreams.
And with each step Abraham takes towards Canaan and away from Haran…the starting skeptical hypothesis that this story is human invented fiction…that God does not exist in reality and therefore could not have spoken to Abraham…is a door closed shut by reason of the innovative novelty of the setting aside of human autonomous self-sovereignty…that is the through-line of the story.
The biblical message is that if we are to experience the optimum course toward discovering fulfillment and satisfaction in life to their fullest extent…then God’s higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9)…in the form of a God-composed life-script…must displace our tendency to go our own way according to our thinking and preferences.
The initiative here…as in every narrative story of faith in the Bible…is with God.
This concept has already been covered in each of the preceding essays…but examines a slightly different point here.
People of faith in the Bible react to God’s enlistment of them into a scheme of events and circumstances that stretch them…in terms of a relationship with God and in self-sacrificing service to others… far beyond anything they could have invented or contrived.
If God is the initiator of the faith-program and its scope, outreach, and magnitude…the divine composer of all journey of faith life-script callings…then today’s Christians must surrender and yield ourselves to Christ in prayer…and listen in the Spirit…to actualize a similar fulfilling and challenging calling in our own lives.
This is the whole point that separates-out and validates the divine origin of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts. They do not start with human creative imagination, invention, contrivance, or self-generated energy.
The example and argument from scripture is that biblical narrative stories of faith are so outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that they cannot be the product of human inventive imagination or literary fiction.
The response of Jesus to Peter’s question about the calling of the apostle John: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me” (Jn. 21:22)…makes no sense within the default worldview program of conventional thinking based on self-energized good works and personality driven self-direction.
But this response makes perfect sense in the worldview reality of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…in the biblical narrative stories of faith starting with Abraham…and in our Christian callings to very specific service today…to match our created talents and abilities.
The big question here is…does this divinely created worldview choice of a journey of faith apply universally to all Spirit-born Christians today? Does its scope and magnitude reach down into the commonplace reality of “normal life” to produce something spectacular and extraordinary…yet typically unrecognized and unheralded by worldly conventional standards?
Paul addresses this very practical question of the varied, comparative magnitudes of our callings in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 when he writes:
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
“As it hath pleased him”…as it has pleased God…the journey-of-faith script-writer…is the key theme here.
But the sharper-than-any-sword, cutting-edge truth here is that God-composed journeys of faith…after the biblical pattern…are not written for God’s benefit.
They are written for us.