As we continue to look at our topic of following Jesus, there are times that life throws us a curveball. We have no clue what to do, where the next step is going to take us, and the future is uncertain. Jesus’ command to follow Him includes those times. Our Bible Journaling verse today is from Mark 2:14, “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him.” (NASB)
Levi was a tax collector. In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were not looked upon as being upstanding citizens. The Jewish people looked upon them as traitors, thieves, and cheats. The Roman government hired Jews to be the tax collectors against their own people, and that didn’t sit well with the population. Often, the tax collectors would overcharge to the point that they became extremely wealthy and left the people paying exorbitant taxes and poor. When Levi decided to follow Jesus, it was a complete change in his lifestyle. He gave it all up to follow Jesus. If he found that Jesus wasn’t all He claimed, Levi couldn’t go back to be a tax collector because Rome would hire someone else to take his place, and he couldn’t do other work because no one would trust him. So, for Levi, following Jesus meant the future was uncertain. He was stepping out into the unknown.
Many times, we find ourselves in situations like that. We are faced with circumstances that require a decision to be made, and we have no idea how things will come out in the end. Following Jesus’ urgings and callings can be just like that. All He says is, “Follow Me” and we have no idea where or when or how. That can be a scary thing!
I know I’ve had times like that. When my first husband decided to quit a chief engineering job at a secular station and go back to Christian broadcasting, it was a very scary time. All we knew was, God was calling him to go back to Christian radio or TV, but we had no idea where or how. We put resumés out all over the country. We really wanted to stay in Montana, but the station we applied to didn’t call us to work for them. Several stations wanted us but couldn’t pay a wage that we could live on. (Christian stations survive mostly on donations from viewers and listeners, so their income is low.) We knew we would be taking a substantial pay cut as it was. All we could do was follow where God was leading us, and that ended up being Southern Illinois. My husband was happy once again working in a field he loved and serving Jesus. After we lived here three years, he had a stroke and had to quit work altogether, and then he had another stroke and landed in a nursing home for the rest of his life. We had to take each day one step at a time. All we could do was hold onto Jesus’ hand with everything we had. But God knew that we needed to be here because of the medical care my husband would need. We held onto God’s hand, following Jesus wherever He took us.
We may not understand the whys or wherefores, but we can rely upon the knowledge that Jesus knows the path ahead of us and He would never take us into something and leave us stranded. (Hebrews 13:5) He requires that we trust Him even when we can not see the way ahead. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Sometimes, following Jesus means trusting that He knows what is best for us and will lead us into something much greater than what we desire for our lives. About six years ago, a guest pastor came to our church at the request of our pastor. At the end of the service, he asked for people to come forward who wanted prayer. I went forward because I was dealing with some things I needed to get resolved. When he came to me, he asked me, point-blank, “Do you journal?” I told him I did but was not good at it or very consistent. This was before I had ever heard of Bible Journaling. I thought he was talking about note-taking or keeping a daily journal. Then he spoke a word of knowledge over me. He told me that I would journal and people from all over the world would read my journaling. I had never had anyone speak a word over me before. I looked for confirmation of this and spoke to my pastor and our associate pastor’s wife. They gave me some ideas on what I could do. That’s when I tried writing my blog. Then I discovered Bible Journaling, and God showed me what that pastor meant.
I may not minister to many people, in fact, I have an exceedingly small following, but God is using it, and to me, it is far greater than I ever imagined. I hear from people all over the world, just like the pastor said. My future was uncertain, but following Jesus brought me to something bigger than me, and the desire of my heart to tell others about Jesus’ love is being realized.
If you are feeling uncertain about your future, follow Jesus’ leading even when you can’t see what’s ahead. You may just be surprised at where it will lead you. “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.”