What is the Work of God? An Update on Recent Events
There are many ideas of God and gods, devils and demons and angels.
While billions all over the world cop to one organized viewpoint or another, I’ve found that within each religious group there is often a great diversity of opinion—far more than a mere analysis of sects and leaders and written books would allow for examination.
Theology, debate, and even writing are tiresome to many. It’s inherently individualistic.
Today, in my present crisis of soul and mind and body alike, I find my mind retreating from those high realms and humbling myself with the simple question, “What is the work of a servant of God? What can man do that approaches the Divine in will and effect?”
While I hold strongly to my formed opinions about God, when I talk to others I can’t rely on my own opinion to shape the guidance I offer or that they would accept. I find the easiest answer to approach from the negative: While religions often ascribe to very different forms of worshipping and honoring their God(s), they almost universally agree that the enemies of God are responsible for one thing:
Destruction. Any and every bit of destruction they can get away with, incite, or manage.
They will kill in order to stop God’s servants in the present. They will steal away hopes and futures, and they will destroy heritages and legacies from the past because we draw strength from these to act in the present, which is our position and responsibility. Thus, for many years, creation was the simple answer to what we are to do in order to be “good” with our time, lives, and efforts.
I have been thinking about creation from a different angle this week.
Recently I was forced to vacate my family from an apartment due to management reacting with an unfortunately typical lethargy to a massive water leak. Our carpet, after staying soaked for days, triggered a battle my family has prayed was finished years ago: Toxic mold.
Soon after Jordan and I married five years ago, things started going downhill. Our eyesight worsened, Jordan could hardly eat, and we could feel ourselves losing our edge. “Perhaps we’re just getting older. We’ve heard about this.”
A few months later when our first child was born, we realized it was something more severe. The symptoms didn’t line up any more, and we consulted experts and began asking for help. “Oh, it’s just postpartum depression. Don’t worry about it,” they said. But we did, because their solutions made things worse and worse, and even more severe symptoms of the hidden biotoxin emerged that invalidated their assessments.
By the time we found it in the walls, lurking inches away from our bed, we had lost almost everything. We lost our health. Jordan and little newborn Beyla were at death’s door, and I wasn’t in good shape either.
We lost our home, and almost all our possessions since the spores are almost impossible to remove enough for severely sick people to stand. A stint of homelessness struck, and our business stalled as we scrambled to just survive. Weeks of work at an already-barely sufficient day job were lost as well.
Clawing our way out of that pit of loss and grief and fear—watching what buildings we could safely go inside, changing our diet, and even moving to dry, dry Arizona to recuperate in the care and grace of my in-laws—we had just started to really buckle down and commit to our business again, to build momentum and reap the results of consistency instead of the wild thrashing from one short-term solution to the next in our privation.
So we didn’t want it to be true, when our neighbor’s leaking hot water tank went unreported until Monday and that critical 48 hour window to avoid mold growth was missed. We couldn’t have it be true when our concentration faded, major waves of grinding depression and headaches started, and we started mumbling our words out or growling in frustration that we couldn’t get an idea out of our mouths due to fogginess in our brain. We couldn’t believe that mold was back.
But we knew it was. We knew it before my children started going nuts and disobeying far beyond their normally keen dispositions, and we saw intense lethargy set in and absurd, intense nosebleeds start.
It was back, and we had to leave.
It was bad enough to admit it and face the facts. Couple it with our aggressive investment to lay long-term foundations in our business and the management’s “that’s your problem, we’ll just shampoo the carpet in a few days when it dries” approach, we have even less resources, three more bodies who need beds and mouths that need food, and more debt than last time.
So I find myself asking that age-old question, “What am I to do, God?” We are afraid, shocked, and flashbacks to four years ago visit our eyes awake and asleep.
I know we must create. We must move, or die from despair. Today I’ve started with something easy enough, writing, and encouraged Jordan to join me in building momentum by writing. We’re exhausted from our hurried escape and need to start very small.
Fear not: We’ve found a place to live for at least the next week, thanks to generous friends in our community. Fear not, we have food to eat.
Fear not. But creating isn’t about simply doing the next thing.
Creation isn’t about an action, not in it’s nature; it’s a conception. Creation is the implementation of self-sustaining or even increasingly-growing cycles, not individual actions. It’s a habit, and more than a habit it’s an identity. It’s as addictive as destruction or consumption.
You don’t become a writer by writing a word; you become a writer by being one who writes many words regularly, all the time even. You don’t become a gardener by planting a seed, though you may later point back and say, “That was when I became a gardener.” The creation comes in the sustained element, the habit, the marriage of will and action we call faith.
Jordan and I have faith in ourselves largely because of experience. We know we help people in their businesses, adding encouragement to the often silent and thankless world of small business owners who wear many hats and balance rich family lives with nuanced growth plans. We help them sell their products and services easier, increasing conversions and turning leads into sales, generating leads, and reducing the demands on these burgeoning CEOs to master yet another skillset through automations and key services.
But it’s so hard to rise when we’ve been slammed like this. All the helpless trauma comes rushing in, and in addition to facing the bills we need time to heal from the exposure. Actions are hard, clarity of thought is low, and thinking in cycles feels impossible.
Perhaps you too feel you’re hanging on by a thread, and feel the need to create. Living isn’t about the act of eating and sleeping so you can rise and do it again. Perhaps you too are looking for a cycle to start, something to invest in in your life.
Perhaps you’ve even realized that your life doesn’t feel fulfilled, that you’re performing one action then the next instead of creating these cycles and habits. Perhaps you’re unfulfilling job which you thought would free up your other time to enjoy life or get ahead has instead been revealed as a trap for your potential or soul as you grind away making someone else’s dream a reality while losing your days or frittering your “free time” away on consumption instead of even the small acts of creation you used to enjoy.
You’re not alone.
The biggest change of habits is in a soul being willing to go through the hell of giving up consumption, giving up the ease and placidity of being a cog in the great machine and relearning how to enjoy the Work of God, the Creation of value for your neighbors and friends and community. To help people. To love people. To encourage people.
We all knew it once, as children. To discover and explore, the pride of making something, learning a skill and applying it. Somewhere between red pen ink and gold stars and participation trophies and diplomas most people lose it. We start to value contractual obligations and say, “Well that’s not my job” and “That’s none of my business.”
Our business as God's children is to Create. Yes, that means making money out of our spare time with odd jobs, or washing dishes instead of tuning into Netflix. It means investing in our world instead of checking out. It means giving up the entangling distractions and false accomplishments so you are free to make a positive change in real peoples’ lives.
Right now, I’m getting a lot of messages of general support and encouragement, like this one that's attached.
I know I’m not alone here, and I am not the only one working hard. We are told to work out our Salvation with fear and trembling, and in good times our salvation is a matter of sin and repentance deep in our souls. When times turn hard and real danger and sickness and the valley of the shadow of death opens up before your feet, salvation will involve even more difficult work of clinging to God and His promises and character as we work early in the morning before our kids rise, or late at night after the house is quiet.
Our business is Creation. Our enemy wants to destroy us, to wreck our efforts and steal our harvests and kill our momentum. Our God promises help and a way of salvation, but says His kingdom belongs to those who overcome by the power of their testimony.
We're in the testimonial business, Jordan and I.
When we win free of this valley, Jordan and I will continue doing the same thing we are going to do now to escape. We will create. We will help others give their testimonies as creators, as makers, as doers, as helpers. We will help them gather the voices of those they’ve helped so that they needn’t stand on their own words, but have social proof that they are what they claim to be.
Even Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” in challenge to His own disciples, knowing that turning them into creators and unleashing their potential on a world steeped in slavery and distraction just as surely as ours is would have great impact.
He wants a testimony. If we give up now, our testimony is one of unbelief. We stop acting in that identity as creators. This violation and loss will either be a part of our powerful testimony as creators who overcome, or it will reveal us as grasshoppers who only seek out the good times in life, fiddling away our time.
I hope your timeline is longer than ours, but our struggle is the same: Creation. Our survival on paper looks to be measured in mere days before this runs out or this comes due. But I will create. I will work out my salvation in the midst of terror with trembling and shaking hands.