He nudges and prompts you to do something specific.
Being the obedient servant, you try to do it, but end up failing miserably!
Then criticism comes in from all sides, rocking your sense of security, causing you to doubt.
You think, “Maybe I shouldn’t go through with this; I’ve already messed up.”
In contrast to this thinking, Pastor Steve gave a picture of what a Christian is supposed to look like: at peace with God’s will, confident knowing the reason of their existence: bold, fulfilling their personal call, and secure about who they are in Christ.
Then he said something scary: We are to move forward, following God’s divine plan.
Well, let’s say we’ve moved forward with the divine plan and it’s just not coming together. In fact, there are more signs to turn back than there are to go forward.
What’s a good Christian to do?
In the Waiting Room…
I enjoy reading a little sci-fi every now and then. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ Left Behind Series details various characters’ lives after the Rapture occurs and centers on one character named Ray Steele.
He isn’t the hero, but a guy who, at the time of the Rapture, had a good career, made a great living, but was dead set against following God.
Toward the end of the series, the last novel becomes a flashback on the early life of Ray’s high school years. Ever since he was a little boy, Ray dreamt of being a pilot or a pro-athlete.
As he progressed in high school, the athlete dream deteriorated as accidents and injuries set him back from achieving his pro-sport goals.
In the midst of sport training, 14-year-old Ray begins to take flying lessons and at 16, he is about to fly solo for the first time. Before his maiden voyage, the pilot instructor asks him to review the checklist.
Quickly, Ray runs through his mental list, double checks the airplane, and affirms for a clear flight.
Barreling down the runway gaining just enough speed for takeoff, an animal crosses the runway and hits the tire. Since it’s his first flight, Ray ignores the bump and keeps on flying.
The flight goes on smoothly with little incident. But when he touches down, the tire blows out and Ray tries to land, skidding down the runway with a flat tire.
The plane spun and threatened to run off course, but Ray emerged from the plane unscathed. As reported by the tower, the plane was a wreck and he was lucky to be alive.
Surveying the Wreck
If I were in his shoes, that incident would’ve convinced me that I should give up the pilot dream.
After taking all the flying lessons and training, something still went wrong. I didn’t just mess up, I almost died! So this job was clearly not for me.
One a personal note, I was once accused of confusing a child about Jesus’s teaching in the gospels. After witnessing me sharing the gospel with a child, someone accused me of forcing my agenda and gave me a strict warning that such “misteachings” of the Bible lead to misunderstandings that start cults.
Oh my, this was definitely the last thing I wanted to be accused of!
Satan used this situation to discourage me greatly, since my dream is to teach children about the gospel. And I was greatly discouraged, thinking I wasn’t ready for this after all.
Learning Not to Give Up, But to Lift Up
Not to make Ray Steele a hero or anything, but it is by the grace of God that he continued to take flying lessons, becoming a highly acclaimed commercial air pilot and central to many situations in the Left Behind Series.
The criticism taught me that, indeed, I wasn’t ready to teach quite yet. Although God chooses us, according to His good purpose and His grace, to do whatever it was we are meant to do, it is all through the grace of Christ Jesus.
“But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”
2 Timothy 1:8-9
It’s easy to get puffed up, thinking we’ve figured out what God’s plan is. Even with writing the blog, I sometimes think I am so smart, inquisitive, spiritually sensitive, a fast typer, and altogether wise.
Proverbs 3:7 warns us against this: “Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil.”
Whatever gift I have been given, it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, not by anything I have done.
And while it is good to excel in our gift, we should accept and use it with all humility. By grace it has been given and by grace, the assignment will be accomplished (Psalms 33:11).
A servant’s heart should reflect humility, shunning evil thoughts of arrogance and pride and submitting under the Lord’s mighty hand. For,
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
If it pleases the King, we should use our gifts for His glory.
Give Me a Revelation
When tragic things make you want to change directions, pray further for instruction. Ask knowing that God wants to lead you as His child that He dearly loves and adores.
Please ddon’tfall into the trap of thinking “Ok I figured it out. This is what God wants me to do, now let me do it on my own Lord.”
It’s best to remain humble by continuing to pray, asking for clarity, even for help as you move forward in God’s plan.