There are people like Abraham who left his homeland to go to a place he didn’t even know because God said to. Although my parent have done this multiple times, I still like to be stable. I still hesitate when called into the unknown. Sometimes, my actions seem impulsive, but generally I have been quietly turning them over and over for months maybe even years. Quietly deliberating and pondering. Trying to see how the pieces fit together.
That’s what was happening all spring after I listened to a sermon about being available to God. I didn’t have any peace until I surrendered to go where ever God called me as long as he made it clear. I wanted to get certain things out of the way such as a bit of experience in my career and money in the bank. What if God called me before I had those things in place? I surrendered anyway.
My opportunity to be available came a couple months later. I was at a potluck. I didn’t want to be there. I was exhausted from my taxing new job. However, some close family friends convinced me to spend some time with them on their last Sabbath in town. I ran into some classmates from my alma mater. The one I knew the least had just got the call to head across the country and do literature evangelism in a territory that had been untouched for years.
It was a three week project. I had just sent in my letter of resignation at work. Although I had another job line up, I had 2 ½ weeks off in between. It seemed like a God-cut puzzle piece. I didn’t hesitate. I just said yes.
Within days my plane ticket was bought. A week later I was on the other side of the country. I spent my break knocking on the hardest doors in the continent.
Here’s what I learned from being available to God.
And if anything is accomplished to the purpose, it must be done at the golden moment. The slightest inclination of the weight in the balance should be seen, and should determine the matter at once. Long delays tire the angels. Gospel Workers, p. 133, 134
It is even more excusable to make a wrong decision sometimes than to be continually in a wavering position; to be hesitating, sometimes inclined in one direction, then in another. More perplexity and wretchedness result from thus hesitating and doubting than from sometimes moving too hastily. Christian Leadership, p. 50
These quotes from a author that I highly respect caught me by surprise when my close friend shared them with me. I always though it was more righteous to deliberate and wait. However, sometimes it is wiser to make a quick decision. Briefly scanning God’s leading and moving forward decidedly.
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Isaiah 40:3, New Living Translation
I learned that just because God calls me somewhere doesn’t mean that the path will be easy. I might have a sharp dispute with my team members. I might have to canvass in a thunderstorm. I might knock on a thousand doors without getting a single book out. Great people like Paul went hungry and naked in his struggle to share the truth.
We came home one evening and some of the team members were near tears. I encouraged them with stories from other fields where the work went on successfully because of faithful pioneers. We were the ones leveling the ground for the gospel to come through.
“[Paul and Barnabas] had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” Acts 15:39, New International Version
Sometimes, it was hard to get along with my leader. We didn’t see eye to eye on things. Sometimes, I outright disagreed with his leadership style. Other times, it seemed like useless little things just irritated us where they shouldn’t have. It seemed that when we tried to work things out misunderstandings and frustration just grew to unprecedented proportions. The lack of conversation was what irritated me the most.
Just because you don’t get along doesn’t mean that God won’t bless the ministry or the other person. Sometimes, God has to bless your respective ministries separately. Paul did a great work, but Barnabas stuck to his passion of seeing potential where no one else did. The church benefited from it. Paul himself was the prime example.
Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength.
The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.
There was one thing I really regretted. I should have prayed more. I pray a lot, but not enough. Every extra space where prayer does not fill gets filled with bubbles of complaint and frustration. I can’t help but wonder what else God could have done if I was more consistent about inviting His presence in to intervene with some of those tough and even dangerous situations.
Have you ever made your self available? What happened?