One thing I have noticed about the stories in the Bible about God talking to people and giving them a mission of some sort, is that they are usually reluctant at first. Moses is told that he will lead the people, and he tries to beg out of it–“You don’t want me. I’d be no good at that sort of thing. I’ve got this stutter, you know.”
Jonah, as my kids recently learned in the Veggie Tales movie, was told “Go to Ninevah.” Johah says, “Gotcha!” and promptly sets sail–in the opposite direction.
Whether these stories literally happened, or are an allegorical expression of the faith experience of a people, what stands out to me is the fact that God is often seen commissioning people to do things they find difficult. Challenging. Scary. Seemingly impossible, or at least implausible.
God seems pretty unlikely to say, “Attack Iraq, kill thousands of people, get oil contracts for your rich friends.” I don’t think Bush needed any higher power to tell him to do that. But apparently he needs to invoke a higher power to justify it.
Renee also offers a quote from Susan B. Anthony that I hadn’t heard before: “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”