I just got my booksneeze copy of ” God of the Underdogs – when the odds are against you, God is for you” by Matt Keller, and i have been devouring chapters, resonating with the ideas he is writing about. I will tell you alot more when i finally do my book review, but lets start with an idea, and think it through.
Underdog – no not the cartoon you see above, but the person who just defys human logic as the best choice for leader. Yes, not the popular, smartest, strongest or most financially equipped… but the person who is yielded to the will of God. We love underdogs in good stories – if you are like me you want to see them succeed – beat the odds – find their place in a successful way. Underdogs are those people who dont seem likely to fulfill dreams they have been given.
And why do we judge people like that? Human logic wants to always categorize people, find nice neat little places and categories… the successful, the beautiful, the rich, the poor…. need i go on? Beyond what our eyes see, and what our minds want to conjure up are people with a heart, and dreams.
Have you ever believed that God has a purpose for you, but….??? We fill in the “but” with a plethora of other things – the economy is bad, i am insecure, the timing is not right…. We each have a call to our lives, but that call takes a leap of faith and a willingness to risk it all. Matt Keller begins working through some of the people of the bible, and how they have struggled with the call of God on their lives, and their human reasoning to doubt, underestimate or not be willing to move with God in blind faith. Samuel doubted God when he called Samuel to go to find a new king to replace Saul. Human fear (Saul was a warrior with a powerful and fierce streak) wanted to override the call of God. How many times do we lay aside what God is calling us to and cave into the fear of someone, something, or perhaps the fear of stepping out of the comfort zone?
I have believed deep in my soul that there is a deeper purpose for me in God’s kingdom… He has taken me through some deep water,and showed me his deep love and saving grace and that is not by accident. The bible is very clear that every experience, even when it is out of the perfect will of God, can be used in our lives as examples of how God moves in our lives, and how he can take even the most wretched situation and use it for his glory. Yes, we all have history of living, struggling, and working through this salvation we have been given… filtered through the situations of our lives. And Yes, God has a plan for each of us beyond the call to salvation. As a young believer I was convinced that we were called to be missionaries…. we prepared, planned, and and got so close when doors closed. But while that door closed my belief that there is a deeper purpose for me has not changed. In fact, it grew deeper, stronger, and more “unrequited”. I have always been involved, volunteering for things, teaching classes, cleaning, cooking, and organizing. And it has been good, but there is a hunger for something more.
Being honest here I must tell you that I turned my focus to workplace ministry – and how to share my faith in the marketplace. And I threw my heart and soul into a career – educating myself, preparing and becoming the best i could be. In the workplace quickly there were answers – hungry and hurting people ended up in my cubicle; prayer was abundant, and this was good. But that nagging sense that God has me targeted for another purpose still kept coming up.
This deep sense of a purpose continues to magnify itself in me as I realize my own inadequacy. When the economy went south, and my hard working career came to a crashing halt it caused me to ask hard questions. Inadequacy coupled with a big blow to confidence quickly changed my hopes of lifelong workplace ministry. There has to be a plan here. I turned to the church for support and encouragement and i found it in little packages – a word of encouragement from one person, prayer from another. I honestly think i wanted an accountability group – several trustworth friends who will hold me to task, as would I. I realize how much the church needs courageous examples of people living for God’s glory, sold out, or in the popular term of our day “All In”.
So what does “All In” look like for a woman that is a lot more of “Super Chicken”, fearing one more round of human rejection, or not willing to put myself in a place where accountability becomes the church gossip. Wounds of the past have changed my courageous zeal into restrained curiosity to follow God. “All In” looks different though. All in means shedding the wounds, listening to the word of God, allowing him to fan the dreams and passions he has placed in my heart, and following him as he says move.
In the midst of the wrestling match about being all in I confided to Steve that one thing I really have always wanted but lacked is a safe small group where life can be shared, filtered, prayed over, and we can know we are each other’s keeper, encourager, prayer partner. It must be an atmosphere that is fiercely guarded and protected as a safe place, allowing us to work through our lives as we yield them to God. Steve and I have that kind of a relationship – but i meant among women. My heart has been to see something grow, partly for my own selfish wish to belong, and be accepted, and partly because there is a gaping void of this. Oh, its not a personality issue – i think we are all just so very busy that we do not set aside time to grow together. And we do not take the time to build the trust we need for such a group. The tyranny of the urgent crowds out the essential of life. In my own life that i must pencil in a date and time, make it my word that i will be there, and then honor my word and follow through.
So underdog – what has God called you to? and what have you sensed as a deep passionate dream that your soul senses God has placed there? And how are you being called to impact the world? And what lies, misgivings, insecurities have you layed in the path of that dream?
Samuel put every excuse before God when he was called to visit Jesse and his family for the purpose of selecting the next king. His fear of the angry warrior that was Saul crumbled as an excuse God would not allow him to believe. And his obedience resulted in valuable lessons on how God selects leaders versus how humans do. And his obedience resulted in a new king who would be in the lineage of Jesus.
So far this book has been thrilling, and encouraging. And i have been reminded that every person God has used in the bible has been an underdog – whether insecurity, or fear, or lack of popularity, or appearance, or economic status…. Underdogs. We are all underdogs… but we have a courageous, wise and all powerful God leading us… so we must follow.