What We Need Now: The Domino Effect of Small Acts of Love

Waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uber-spiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret – just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life. This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey. Then he learned to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan. It’s a grace to welcome Mike to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Mike Donehey

It took me way too long to figure out that I should marry my wife, Kelly.

To some, we were still married quite young. I was twenty-seven and she was twenty-six when we finally said, “I do.”

We dated for three and a half years though. And looking back, I think we dated precisely three years and three months too long.

She was beautiful and funny; she loved God, her friends, puppies, mountains, and the elderly. She was perfect.

Yet, I just couldn’t bring myself to pop the question.

On paper, she was flawless, but what if she was tricking me? I was a theater major in college, so I knew a thing or two about pretending.

What if we got a few days into the honeymoon, and she removed the mask? What if underneath all that kindness and warmth, she was actually a tyrannical mutant?

I mean, love knows no boundaries, but there were some things I couldn’t live with. Wasn’t marriage about finding a perfect person for you?

I needed to be absolutely certain. I didn’t want an ounce of guesswork when it came to who I would be with for the rest of my life.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, in the book of Exodus, we’re told that God parted the Red Sea before the fleeing Israelites made it to the water’s edge. Pharaoh’s army thundered ominously behind, but God’s chosen people walked across the mighty river on dry land.

There’s wasn’t even a drop on them.

In the book of Joshua, God also miraculously parted the Jordan River for the people, but that time, it was different.

In this story, God doesn’t make it quite so easy for His people. This time, some of them were going to have to get their feet wet.

The priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant had to march straight into the unknown waters like Indiana Jones had to leap from the lion’s head. Once they felt the cold reality of the river’s current hit their sandaled feet, that’s when God moved the waters.

Marrying Kelly was my jumping in the Jordan moment. I never heard a no from God, so I just kept taking the next step. 

Before I knew it, the river had receded and I was dancing in the Promised Land. It was scary, uncomfortable, and euphoric. But it’s what God had to demand of me to expose my fears.

Why does God do this?

Why does He let me stand and watch some decisions part before me like the Red Sea, but then other times forces me to follow Him into the Jordan’s unknowns?

I don’t have all the answers.

But I do know that once I stopped asking God what I was supposed to do with my life and simply started asking how and why I was supposed to live my life, the seas of doubt began to part.

In other words, I went with what I knew, instead of letting what I didn’t know paralyze me.

This is essential. It’s what marks our lives with faith.

Instead of sitting stagnant at the water’s edge, waiting for the miracle, we get up. We start working with what we do know.

The next time you’re standing terrified on the shores of indecision, ask yourself what you know you should be doing.

It could be as simple as giving thanks.

It could be as demanding as selling off some possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor.

It could be as impossible as forgiving someone before they even apologize.

I don’t know where you need to start, but start with what you know. It’s amazing the domino effect small acts of love can put into motion.

When it came to marrying my wife, I realized I needed to stop worrying if Kelly was the one and start worrying about how I would treat her if she were.

I quickly surmised that dragging her along while I weighed all my other options was hardly the most loving thing I could do.

Running across the bridge that day, I came to the hard realization I would have to take the first steps of faithfulness toward her if I wanted to know find out if she’d be faithful to me.

Choosing her was not only something I had to do that day, it’s something I’ve had to commit to doing every day since.

I desperately wish more couples understood this. Love is action. It’s a perpetual yes.

After all, I know a lot of guys who begged God for an answer about who they should marry, and then it seems they stopped asking Him how they should love that girl every day since they received the answer they were looking for.

God loves it when we move in faith.

He loves when we don’t have all the answers but we act as though we trust that He does.

So whether you’re waiting or wading forward, take heart.

He has more plans for you than you have for yourself.

And even better, He’s the only one who tells the waters which way to run.

 

Mike Donehey is the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the Christian contemporary band Tenth Avenue North. Since 2000, he has been sharing the truth of the gospel in front of millions of people through song and speaking.

“Perhaps God isn’t giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan.”

This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey after years of wrestling with his obsession to know God’s specific plans for his life and the inspiration for Finding God’s Life for My Will. Mike came to the realization that waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uber-spiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret – just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life.

With Mike’s signature humor and relentless hunger for God, Finding God’s Life for My Will shows that discovering the Father’s purpose and plan for our lives is not the shell game that we all too often make it out to be. If you’re unsure what to do next, take heart and accept the ultimate invitation: learn to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan.

[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook for their partnership in today’s devotion ]