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Good versus God in the Arena of Ideas

Change always spurs thought.  So long as things remain consistent, we can find ourselves on a sort of autopilot – doing the stuff without thinking about it.  If you regularly drive the same route, you know what I’m talking about.  You back out of the driveway and twenty minutes later, you pull into your office parking lot and you don’t really remember so much as using a blinker or turning the wheel.  You didn’t have to think about it – you just did it.

I haven’t had too many of those days out of the last 365.   Just short of a year ago, some sort of cosmic switch flipped and the finger of God mashed WARP SPEED on the console of the good ship Bohlender.  In less than 365 days, we have:

  • Gone from being a family of four children to a family of seven children.
  • Seen both coasts of the US and a bunch of the middle.
  • Sold a old home we lived in for years.
  • Purchased another home that was twenty five years older than the previous home and uninhabited for 2+ years.
  • Brought the old home into a livable condition (no small feat).
  • Launched The Zoe Foundation in earnest.
  • Purchased and licensed an adoption agency and formed a staff.

There’s more – these are just the things I managed to throw on the keyboard in a few seconds.  Look at the list above one more time.  The Zoe Foundation was the only thing on the radar on September 4, 2008. It makes me look forward to the next 365 days with more than a little trepidation.

I can’t afford any more good ideas.  Seriously.  We don’t need any more activity, necessary or otherwise.  Yesterday, a young lady stopped by the house to help us straighten up before a gathering we hosted.  Even with half the kids gone, at the ten minute mark she confessed “Just being here kind of makes me tired…”.

Against that backdrop of activity, and superimposed over the very real financial costs of walking out this spirit of adoption that God has given us, I find yearning to know exactly what God has planned.  The temptation is to hammer out a plan of my own or to ignore every opportunity, God given or not.  Neither one is the route I want to go.

I’m finding glimpses of how God rolls out ideas…and they don’t always appear as simply as you’d expect.  A few people get angelic invitations.  Most don’t…in fact, most people (myself included) don’t know they’ve stumbled on to a God Idea until it’s so obvious that the least spiritually attuned person on the planet could perceive “Hey, this is genius….”.

It’s like waking up holding a five gallon can of gasoline and a bic lighter.  The obvious thought is “something’s about to happen!”

In John 6, with the mob following Jesus from miracle to miracle, Philip grows a little nervous because it’s time to eat and he knows there is no way to feed everyone. (You can imagine why I settle on these passages…).  In that moment when Philip might feel more than a little pressured to come up with a good idea, Jesus challenges him.

“Where shall we buy the bread for these people to eat?” Jesus asked.

Philip was flummoxed.   He had to admit that eight months of salary couldn’t pay for this banquet – and chances are they didn’t have that much on them.  These were vagabond preacher students, not bankers.  Jesus challenge to Philip simply accentuated what they both knew – his best idea wasn’t that great.

It’s interesting to me that in verse six, even as Jesus asks for Philip’s input, the Bible says that he “already had in mind what he was going to do.”    While Philip is wracking his brain – at Jesus’ instigation, no less – Jesus Himself has a God Idea.

Of course, Jesus miraculously feeds everyone in such a way that the disciples themselves who are administering the food don’t know how it’s going to turn out until it’s over, then discover that there is a basket of leftovers for each of them.   Even in the midst of the miracle, it probably seemed more like insanity than the supernatural.   The beauty and bonus of the God Idea didn’t even make itself fully evident until the dust cleared and the dishes were done.

I can identify with Philip….I’m full of good ideas that I can’t pull off.  Having read the story, though, I’m banking on a God Idea that I’ll recognize once the baskets are full.

I’m getting hints of one right now.  I can’t imagine how He’s going to walk it out, but it has me jazzed at the thought of partnering with Him.

This is not the kind of pearl you find every time you dive.  I may have received one other gift/idea like this – and that one landed me in the desert surrounded by strangers yet fully in my element.  So far, it’s resulted in friendships with some unlikely characters.  I look forward to that God Idea maturing in His time.

This new idea is geared around adoption and how a local church can make this doable for their people.  I don’t have eight months wages in my pocket – and if I did, it wouldn’t suffice – but I have a sense that we’ll be looking for baskets when the dust clears on this.

God manages to do a lot with a little when you stumble on to one of His ideas…and if He’s true to His past, He’s already has in mind what He is about to do.

That’s fine with me.  What He’s about to do is all I have time for.


3 Responses

  1. Can’t wait to hear about the local church God-idea. Admittedly like Philip I’ve been wracking my brain about how to get my church involved in a doable way.

  2. As always, timely and encouraging. Thank you.

  3. You guys bring me Hope. Thank You!

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