Will We Obey?

Simplistic Christian rhetoric pushes and twists and pours hot acid on my very last nerve. It makes me want to ask for (as my wife likes to say) “a pair of scissors so I can gouge my eyes out.” I’d rather hear long fingernails repeatedly scraping a chalkboard than hear another trite attempt to brush one of faith’s thorny issues under the rug.

Knowing this, it won't surprise you to hear that words you are often likely to hear from me are: It’s not that easy. Truth isn’t always black and white. It’s complicated.

True enough. However, I’m noticing the uncomfortable fact that I have used my distaste for Christian cliché as well as my good desire for authentic faith illicitly, as cover for my spiritual passivity. If I imagine everything must be so hard, so complex, so confusing - all the time… If I believe honesty requires me to constantly rehash and rethink and circle round and round and round… If I’m addicted to angst and uncertainty like Linus’ addiction to his blanket – then I excuse myself from the responsibility of trusting what I do know and from obeying God wherever (and whenever) He has spoken clearly.

God is always open to our questions. God is patient, never put off by sincere wrestling. For sure, many of God’s truths are mysterious, strange, difficult. But much, much of what God has said is plain, virtually impossible to misconstrue: Trust. Love. Give. Hope. There’s a lifetime of living in those words alone.

“The most important question we ask of this text,” says Peterson, “is not ‘What does this mean?’ but ‘What can I obey?’”. Abraham’s only choice was whether or not he would take Isaac up the mountain. Moses’ only choice was whether or not he would confront Pharaoh in Egypt. Peter’s only choice was whether or not he would step onto the waves after Jesus said, “Come.” What would happen on the mountain and in Egypt and on the waves was not their concern. Their courageous obedience to the simple, clear instructions was the one test that stood before them.

I know something of this place, as I find myself in a cycle of unhealthy patterns. I want God to wave the magic wand and make me whole again. So far, He hasn’t. Unfortunately, I don’t suspect He will. I’ve gotten to this place inch by inch, and I believe God plans for me to come out the same way. God will help me. God will guide me. But, as far as I can see, He plans to only tell me the next step, the next truth. The how and the where and the when of my redemption can not be my concern. The question for me is this: when God speaks, will I obey?

My job is simply the next “yes.” The long healing will be God’s work.

peace and obedience / winn


Christy McFarland


Christy McFarland commented…

Great words ... I appreciate "I've gotten to this place inch by inch". Its so slow sometimes that we don't even realize how far we've gone or come. "The long healing" ... a place I'm in the midst of myself. Not fun but I still say it's a good place to be.



Jordan commented…

thanks for sharing, winn.
it's good.


JW commented…

Perhaps the most self-indulgent blog I have read in a while. Next time, please rename the post to "Will I Obey" so I know what I'm in for ahead of time.

Kelsea Shuldes


Kelsea Shuldes commented…

When I became Christian, one of the first things I noticed is that what God asks of us is really simple. We are the difficult ones.


Guest commented…

"...I have used my distaste for Christian clich as well as my good desire for authentic faith illicitly, as cover for my spiritual passivity." - ouch! my toes.

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