Practical Application of Worldview: Random Requests

Let’s just admit it, sometimes God asks us to do weird things, like to randomly stop and say something very odd to a total stranger, and usually we don’t get to know why He asked us to do it. Do we do these things when He asks us to? I’ve heard stories from people about them asking God to prove He cares about them in the next five minutes, and in that time a random stranger walks up and says something like, “I don’t know why I’m supposed to say this, but do you know God loves you?” Do we question God’s random requests? Do we try to rationalize the situation away? Do we try to make excuses for why it’s all silly and it’s not really God asking, when we know it’s Him and we just don’t want to do it? Do we find ourselves unfit for the task?

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
2 Corinthians 12:9a And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Who is He looking for to accomplish His requests? Do we need to have it all together in order to make a difference? What does sufficient grace mean? Does He ever pick the wrong person for a task? How can we help ourselves be reminded of His sufficient grace and His strength made perfect in our weakness?

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3 Responses to Practical Application of Worldview: Random Requests

  1. Gentle says:

    The first thing we need to remember is that God never asks “random” questions. They may seem so to us, but there is a reason for everything He does. The weird requests He has are all a part of His plan for our lives and for the lives of others. When we except this, we realize that God will also never choose the wrong person.
    There is one question that you didn’t ask that is the real struggle/ problem for me with this topic: How do we know when God is asking? Sometimes our brains will come up with odd things on their own, and we will believe it to be a revelation from God. Other times, satan himself will put ideas into our head and try to make us believe that God sent that idea or command. I heard a story once of a man who believed God was telling him to get married to a girl he knew. They were not well suited together, hardly knew each other and were both in love with someone else. Yet, they honestly believed that God was commanding them to get married and followed what they believed to be his direction and calling. They had a miserable marriage which they both regretted later on. Also, the people they had truly loved were hurt.
    So how do we know? Of course there is the tendency to dismiss what God is really telling us to do, but there is also the danger of doing what God doesn’t want us to do because we believe we have heard him tell us to do so. How are we to know the difference?
    (We could say if it lines up with scripture it is from God, but I don’t think that is an adequate answer. After all, Abraham was told to kill his son, Hazel to lie, Gideon to lead a group of men presumably to their deaths, Hosea to marry a prostitute, etc.)

    • LausDeoiampaidfor says:

      There have been many times that I have rationalized away “random requests” from God. I think the reason was simple, I was afraid. All the other reasons you mentioned are attempts to rationalize our fear. We are afraid. “What will he/she/they think if I do this”, or, “If I do that then I’ll lose ____”, maybe “What if I am doing the wrong thing?” or even “What if I can’t handle it?” . Yes, so often we rationalize our reasons not to do what God asks. I’d say that it probably happens to me daily. Do we see ourselves unfit for the task? Well, sometimes that might be the case, but I think there are many of us, who know that God works through us and that really, we are unfit. We know He is more than capable. Yet we still hesitate or resist because we are one, or multiple of the following: selfish, lazy, afraid, or confused.
      One of the most important things to do to check if it is God speaking, would be ask Him. If you heard a faint sound like someone was calling your name, and then they told you to do something, do you just show up and do what was asked? Or do you call out and ask if you were being spoken to? Have you ever misheard something and then took an action and later found out it was wrong? I can guarantee that we all have. I did it earlier today. We may not always be able to tell for certain that God is speaking, Samuel didn’t know that God was speaking to Him, but he was willing to respond. He believed it was only Eli calling him, Samuel still acted.
      In the same way, we should ask God if He called, see what Scripture says, and take action despite uncertainty. After all, isn’t that what faith is? Believing even when we don’t have evidence to support the claims? Not that all faith is built on the Firm Foundation and solid truth. To put it simple: fear is ruling over our actions, however subtle, and defeating our faith.

  2. Gentle, you’ve raise a good yet difficult question. How do we know when it’s God asking and not just us or Satan?
    When a random request comes up, I tend to do two things: pray and lay out a fleece—ask God to do something to show His will. Is this from You, God? If it isn’t, make it go away. Okay, God, this isn’t going away, so are You really asking me to walk into that mall store front and tell the woman “the streets of heaven are paved with gold,” because honestly, God, that is just weird. I don’t want to do it (yet the urging continues). Fine, Lord, then IF we come back this way, and IF she is still sitting there, and IF she is alone, I’ll do it. (We did, she was, and I did.)
    A clue to me that it is God telling me and not just me thinking up weird things is that, though, I would think up weird things, I’d never feel compelled to actually do them. I don’t always want to do what He’s asking, yet when I say yes and step out to do them, there is a momentum behind me that is not my own, despite my stomach being in knots and my hands shaking. I might feel scared and/or embarrassed by the weirdness of what He’s asking, and yet, what He’s urging me to do, always feels right to do and wrong to ignore.
    If random requests and whether they’re of God or not is a struggle, I’d suggest asking this question: Do the possible benefits outweigh the possible damages? If I’m not sure this is of God what could go wrong? What could go right? What are the possible results? Are they good or bad? Temporary or permanent?
    An example, you pass a girl sitting on a mall bench and you have this strong urging that you should try to start up a conversation with her. Is this from God or not? What could go wrong? You might freak her out, she might not want to talk, you might embarrass yourself, but she also might really need someone to talk to, she might be a Christian, she might become a Christian.
    Here is another thought, perhaps it is worth us speaking when we He didn’t ask (for at least then we’d be attempting to do His will) than us remaining silent and missing an opportunity when we should have spoken (for in this we would be failing to do His will.)
    In the random requests where you are simply saying something and it ends up not being of God, chances are the consequences are not going to be that bad, then perhaps in the example Gentle gave of the man who married a particular person, thinking it was God’s will. In this situation the consequences of being wrong, are very great. So one would want to be very sure it was God’s will before acting. I personally, would want to be praying, laying out fleeces, and since in this scenario one usually has more time than during a random window-of-opportunity type request, I would also seek counsel, from older and/or mature Christians, who know me well enough to give me wise counsel.
    Prayer, Fleeces, and Counsel: I can’t think of a single time in the Bible where God ever chastises someone for praying to confirm His will. I also don’t remember God getting angry at Gideon for asking for confirmation through a fleece, and the Bible is fairly clear about counsel, though who one seeks counsel from is important (pick your counselors wisely) Pro 11:14-15 “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.”

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