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Where Do We Go From Here?

November 12, 2014

FollowingJesusMany times we get to places where we need some clear direction.  Even knowing the ‘what’ and ‘where’ isn’t enough if you don’t know the ‘when’. So we wait. We try to be patient, but the longer time goes on, the easier it is to lose hope.  And just like the thief in the night, it has the potential to rob our peace, hope, and even our future when we are impatient and lose faith in the One who brings the answers and directions.

In my situation, I know the calling on my life.  I have no doubts.  The Lord called me to pastor at the age of 16.  I didn’t fully understand the call at the time, but as the years have gone by its become more and more clear. The vastness of scope of the calling is also become more in focus.  I long to reach and teach others about Jesus.  I want to be active in teaching, training, and equipping a congregation for their walk with the Lord.  I love preaching the gospel to the lost and encouraging believers to trust God. It’s a joy to see them come alive – moved by the Holy Spirit – to effectively reach their community with the love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness found in the gospel.

Even though I’m nearly positive of the region the Lord is leading me, the reluctance of my wife to move has me waiting on God to change her heart or to change me.  I’m totally open to either one.  Because I’m sure of it (at least in my heart), I’m waiting for the Lord to speak the words to my wife.  I do believe this isn’t a mission that God has called me to alone, but as my wife and I are one, His calling is for us to this ministry — His ministry.  And because my belief in our effective ministry as husband and wife, I await God’s move and voice to and through my wife’s heart.  I trust she’ll be faithful and committed to His voice when the Lord gives the go ahead.

I’ve had this daydream that we’ll be in the area and she’ll tell me something like, “Honey, God’s been dealing with me and I have something to confess.  He told me a long time ago where we were supposed to go and you were right all along.  But I didn’t want to give in because of fear.”

Yes, it’s a daydream.  Whether it comes true or not is entirely up to the Lord.  But whatever and whenever, I want to be ready for His clear direction to our path. So until then I wait.  (By the way, as I write this, we have another vacation planned in the area beginning in less than a week!)

Patience is something that has never been my long suit.  I’m very impatient when there is something I want so desperately that I can almost taste it.  It’s as if I lose all focus on what I need to do because of the things I want to do.

I remember the days of being a young teenager and thinking 16 would never arrive and the moment I would finally take my driver’s test.  But it did.  And waiting for that anxious day when I would graduate and be through with high school seemed to take forever; but it, too, came and went. As time marches on I have spent countless months and years looking forward to various milestones I wanted to achieve. Most who read this will understand looking back just how quickly your twenties, thirties, and maybe even forties can slip by.  Before you know it you’re looking back a half century of your life and wondering “where did it go?”

But patience is a fruit of the Spirit and I want to be one that will bring a full harvest of all His spiritual fruit for my Master.  It means during my walk I’m learning to take on my Father’s characteristics.  So in my impatience I remind myself that patience is required and it will mean as much as I want to start a church in a particular region, I must wait on His timing and clear direction in the process – because all of it is for Him anyway.

Patience is a tough nut to crack and even tougher to actually become a patient person.  You don’t see it develop when you’re staring straight at it. It occurs when you move on with other activities and responsibilities. Your dreams and goals become a peripheral item fully knowing the clock hasn’t stopped ticking. But there are other things to do as we walk out our salvation in the Lord.  His purpose is always before us if we’re attuned to His Spirit guiding us.  Our tasks were laid out before the foundations of the world when He chose us to be one of His children.

Ephesians 2:10 — For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

Think about it, if He knew us before the foundations of the world (see Ephesians 1:4), it would only make sense that He would create tasks or works that fit our unique personality and also amply suited to the people we will encounter during our lifetime.  Nothing is arbitrary or happenstance with God.  He works all things together as a master painter would take added care to create the perfect masterpiece.  His care for us is immeasurable as is His care for those whom we carry the gospel and how we live out the gospel before them.  We are a reflection of Him (that is also His design) and so it is that He works through us for His glory.

Which brings us back to patience.  We may know our calling (and I do know mine), but our daily walk with Him IS the very purpose and plan of the Lord.  In the midst of our ‘daily commute’ with Him we’ll find ourselves helping, sharing, caring, befriending, giving, speaking, extending, loving, and so much more.  His purpose for us is to be an extension of Him and a presentation of His love wherever, whenever, and to whomever.

These are the things we must keep in mind when our heart is looking forward to other ideas we believe are in His plan for our lives. Instead of looking far down the road, just know with full assurance the road you’re on right now will lead you to the place He’s called.  And if all of you’re focus is down the road to the distant horizon you’ll never notice the opportunities for blessing He’s put right in front of you.

So instead of dwelling on what my calling and work will be next month or next year or in ten years, I should focus on what my calling is for today right where He has me.

— Pastor Rick

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