Throughout various tribes in the church, there are a myriad of ways of thinking about how God leads. Most people fall into one of two camps.
Camp 1. God will make things so clear that they are undeniable and I will have no choice but to follow because nothing is up to me. I am caught in a river of Holy Spirit activity and we’re headed downstream.
Camp 2. God uses physical things and circumstances but primarily uses my participation. I need to get out there and shake the trees to make something happen and then watch for His smile.
I have operated in both these camps, some times on the same issue in the same day. I have wondered “Is it Him or is it me?”. And it always is, but I’m often not sure which.
There’s an interesting line in Acts 12, where Peter is being sprung from jail by an angel. The experience is so surreal that initially, Peter thinks it’s a vision. A real angel shows up in a physical body to get him out of a tight spot. Surely God is a God of Camp 1.
Acts 12: 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands.
If this isn’t support of Camp 1, then I don’t know what is. But then, the angel continues in verse 8.
Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.”
Get this. The angel is going to appear and bust him out of jail in a divine act of special forces. It’s part A-Team, part….well, it’s all A-Team, but the A is for Angels. And in the minute of the glory pouring into the situation like gold dust, the angel tells him to tie his shoes.
I can imagine Peter asking “Tie my shoes? We’re walking out of here like D.B. Cooper out of the back of an airplane but empowered by the Holy Spirit and you’re telling me I need to tie my shoes? Surely there is some angelic protection for bare feet!”
Yes. Tie your shoes. Because angelic breakthrough happens, but so does real life. You may have the glory one minute and the gory the next, and you need not be shocked by it.
The activity of God is wonderfully other-world and yet practical. Watch for Him at all levels.