Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Trusting God with the Future

Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God wrote; “We join Him so He can do His work through us. We don’t have to be able to accomplish the task within our limited ability or resources.”

Have you ever been given an assignment and then wondered how you would do it? That is how I feel right now. I haven’t talked much about the church I pastor, because that isn’t the focus of this blog, but things aren’t going well. When I accepted the position 2 and half years ago the church family had been in decline for a decade. Ten years ago the church was averaging 130 on Sunday morning, last year we averaged 33. How do you stop a pattern of decline once it has started? This is my heart’s cry to God: “What am I supposed to do?” I feel so incapable of making a difference in a church family and in a community that desperately needs help.

That is why things like this quote from Blackaby are so valuable to me right now, for they remind me that it isn’t just about my effort (I also realize that it doesn’t mean that I just sit back and wait for God to do all the work). An aspect of faith is being able to trust God when things are outside of your control.

I also have to remember that I am not the only person in this position. All of us, when we are given a job, want to be given instructions on how that job is to be accomplished. That is not how God works! Many times God will give us assignments that we cannot accomplish on our own, and He doesn’t reveal to us His entire plan at once. Instead His plan is revealed with each step of faith that we take. The Bible is full of examples of this truth. Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, and Ruth all did things only God could do, and none of them and the entire picture ahead of time. Yet, God used them to accomplish His purposes.

Take for example what God told Moses; “I will be with you. And this will serve as proof that I have sent you: When you have brought the Israelites out of Egypt, you will return here to worship God at this very mountain” (Exodus 3:12; NLT).

I think that it is interesting that the proof God gave Moses was what would happen after Moses trusted God. God didn’t tell Moses about Pharaoh’s hard heart or the ten plagues. Moses has no idea how Israel was going to be freed from Egypt, but he trusted God and went. As Moses walked in faith, God revealed a little more of His plan to Moses. This means what is needed is not knowledge but faith. We cannot talk ourselves out of trusting God just because we don’t have all the answers. It is our faith that makes the difference.

God knows that we will have our doubts about the task He has set before us. He knows we will question our ability to complete the job, the way the people will respond to our efforts, and even if it is really God calling us to go. What God is interested in is not so much in our talents or knowledge, but our faithful character. The number one thing we need to carry out God’s calling on our lives is the resolve to trust God no matter what.

Confession time. That is where I miss the boat. I only want to go, to “risk” if I know how things are going to turn out in the end. I want God to give me a plan and assurance that He will use all my hard work. I want to take a step of faith where everything has been worked out in advance.

While I am uncertain about the next step that I am to take, I am absolutely certain that I am in the right place. God has placed me here for the purpose of enhancing my faith, and now I have to ask myself the question all of us have to ask, “Will I trust God with the future?” The choices we make will reveal our answer.


Ruth said...

Thanks for the reminders, Paul. I'll be praying for your situation.

Remember, spiritual matters cannot be measured in numbers or physical presence. Making a difference in one life would seem like a small thing statistically, but it is everything to that one life. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Finding even a handful of authentic people whose lives and hearts are truly set apart for Christ the King is a very special thing.

Paul said...

Ruth, thanks for the reminder. It is hard not to focus on numbers because that is the easiest measure of success.

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