I asked the question a few weeks ago, “If you could be doing anything you wanted to do (right now) what would it be?” I’m surprised the stirring this question has raised. I asked this of several people and I still get responses from it. This little question is packed with a lifetime of challenge.
Does the answer to this question bring about job change? Does it lead one to go back to school? Does it confirm to another they are doing what God has chosen for them to do? The answer is different for everyone. But the challenge is the same.
God has placed “a call” on each of our lives to live out for His glory. We are all chosen by Him to follow His leading. God uses so many different experiences in life to get us thinking about where we each belong in the sight of eternity. While reading the series called “Chaplain Turner’s War”in the AJC, I found that Chaplain Turner was moved to become a Chaplain while going through Wild at Heartby John Eldredge. I wonder how many lives have been altered by the reading of that one book? Then there is Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God and so many other books that have been written throughout history that have literally helped people understand what God had created them for.
I know when I was a young 20 year old still in college, I wanted to know “the will of God” more than anything else. I was caught up in “hearing” from God through some supernatural experience that never came. I had my thoughts and mind focused on hearing some booming voice to tell me what I was to do with my life. I know I missed out on so much as a result. I was looking for that “call of God” to validate whatever it is that I chose to do in life. That booming call never happened… yet I was called none-the-less.
I recall after graduating from college and feeling sort of “stuck” working in Cartersville. I remember loudly the words of someone closest to me at that time telling me, “You can’t do that… being a youth pastor or any other minister… that’s not you.” During this time of struggle with those words echoing in my head I went to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Advance at Rock Eagle. Begging God to speak to me. I don’t recall anything from the Advance but I remember the trip back from Rock Eagle riding with Dan. He is a Real Estate Broker. I was looking for direction in my life at the time. Looking for something to do. I talked to him about selling Real Estate. I was hoping that maybe I will find significance there – my place in the kingdom… after-all God has used Dan so much. I ended up pursuing my license and going to work. That lasted six months. A couple of years later I’m off to seminary.
For me, there has always been this fear I have had to really launch out into the deep waters with God. I don’t know why… that’s just the way it has been. All I know is that once I took that chance without hearing that booming voice but rather following that still small voice life changed. It literally electrified my soul. I experienced the power of God in the decision and the steps that followed. But I never quiet overcame that bit of fear I felt… I guess I could call it lack of confidence in myself or faith in God.
One thing I did come to know is with each step in following God – each step requires more faith than the first step.
The closer you walk with Christ, the greater the faith required. The more you trust Him, the more you’ll risk on His behalf. The more you love Him, the more you will love others. If you genuinely embrace His sacrifice, you will joyfully embrace a sacrificial life. Your expectations of Jesus will change as your intimacy with Him deepens. (Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way, 53).
So, the question I raise now: “What keeps me from moving forward?” “Why do I feel stuck once again?” “What keeps me from continuing to “fight the good fight“. It’s as if I’m still wearing the uniform of Christ but I’ve taken myself off the front lines because I have been wounded. I’m reminded of one of the episodes from Band of Brothers. I think it was called “The Replacements”. There is this one soldier that was hit in battle… not seriously wounded but he took his time at the hospital to get well… he waited for a full recovery before going back to combat. As a result, it took some time for those still in battle to take him back in as one of the Band of Brothers. There were others with more serious wounds that checked themselves out of the hospital against medical advice to go back and fight the war with their brothers.
I would guess according to McManus I would be “civilized” and not “barbaric” in my quest to follow God. I believe the same as always… like I said I still wear the uniform. I guess the wounds have made me a little gun shy from going back to the front-lines.
Perhaps the tragedy of our time is that such an overwhelming number of us who declare Jesus as Lord have become domisticated – or, if you will, civilized. We have lost the simplicity of our early faith. Beyond that, we have lost the passion and power of that raw, untamed, and primal faith. (Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way, 12).
I have a difficult time truly committing to the idea that I have become civilized after all my passion to head back to the front-lines is strong. I just have this fear. I’m listening to this song written by Darin McWatters called, “Consuming Fear”. It has been a perfect time for it to come back to my mind. The first verse is me. The chorus at the end of the song is powerful! While listening and worshipping I am filled with so much faith… I want to be able to capture that faith and live it out boldly with a trust in the Lord I’ve never known before.
I have so many dear brother’s in Christ that God has used in so many ways in my life. I have been reading, writing, and praying not knowing how to tie all of this together. During my time to pause from writing in order to worship, I received an email from one of those brothers – The email subject line reads, “Psalm 27“.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh, [a]
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his [b] face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.
13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.