By Faith…

In our search for God’s next ministry location for us, my family is starting to get “faith pains.”  My kids are asking me several times a day, “Dad, did [name of church] call today?”  “What about [name of church]?”  Last night, my wife looked up at me and said “I don’t think I like waiting very much.”  Of course, as the unwavering spiritual leader of the family, I give them all the exhortation they need to continue to trust and not be anxious. [false piety intended]

What I don’t tell them is that Brian gets the “faith pains” too.  Even though the Lord has given us some very positive experiences through this process, the waiting doesn’t get any easier.

Part of the problem is that we are so accustomed to instant gratification.  We live in a society that demands such immediacy.  Particularly in our cities, the “rush hour” is a misnomer; our real problem is a “rush” lifestyle as we scurry from one event to the other.  When we are forced to a standstill, by traffic jams or extreme weather, we get angry.  We call it “road rage”; God calls it sin.

Recently, I had the privilege to visit a rural section of the Midwest.  As I drove through miles and miles of countryside filled with fields of corn and soybeans, I started reflecting on the differences between that culture and the culture in which I currently live.  There is a patience and a calmness in people from “the country” that people from “the city” can learn a great deal from.  Many of the people in this particular area are still involved in farming.  Now there’s an occupation with some history!!  I didn’t know much about the particulars of farming so I asked lots of questions.  Although with the advancement of technology, farming has made incredible strides, it is still a job that requires patience.  Seed can only be planted so quickly.  Corn will only grow so quickly.  Flooding, drought, bugs, and animals can slow and even destroy productivity. 

A city boy would be greatly frustrated.  “Why does it take so long to grow?”  “Why are the work days so long”  “Can’t you make that tractor go faster?”  “You do all this FOR CORN?!”

The farmer will just smile and continue with his work.  You can’t hurry the work of God.  He establishes the timing.  He brings the sun and the rain.  It’s just the way things are supposed to be.

It’s interesting how at different times in our lives certain biblical characters give us needed hope and guidance.  For some going through deep waters, the testimony of Job is significant.  For those needing to be inspired by the huge task ahead, Nehemiah provides a sterling example.  For me, right now, Abraham’s my guy.

Of course, I know the stories of Abraham–have since I was small.  But now, in a sense, I’m walking in his shoes:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8, NKJV)

I could put my name right in there with Abraham.  The Lord is leading.  I am obeying.  I haven’t a clue where I’m going.  And…

I believe God.  I really do.  I firmly believe not only in his all-encompassing knowledge but also in his personalized plan for my life.  I am so excited for what He has for me.

I’m sure there were times when Noah paused from his ark-building to wonder when the rain would fall.  I’m sure Moses looked up to God and wondered how much longer they would wander in a desolate wilderness.  And I’m sure that there were times that Abraham wondered where God was taking him.  I wonder too.

But what marks followers of the one true God is that we continue to trust, we continue to follow, we continue to obey.  It’s called faith.  We don’t have to know the end of the story right now.  We just have to know the One Who has already been there and Who is leading us there step-by-step.

I think I know why I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the “country.”  It’s because God has called me to be a shepherd.  I can’t wait to meet my next flock!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by PhilipT on April 10, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Amen! God’s leading in our lives is often so confusing, but God seems to always prepare us for the hurdles a little bit at a time. Fascinating that you should bring up this thought. My pastor recently preached a message on a similar topic that God has been using in my life. Check it out if you get a chance (http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=217081058180).

    Reply

  2. Good reminder. My wife and I left our position in missions nearly five years ago. Since then we have been praying, hoping and faithfully serving in our local church. Our plan (emphasis on “our”) was to be ministering on a different field within one year. God chose to lead us down a different path. While I wince whenever someone says it “Moses was in the desert 40 years”; how’s that for encouragement? Moral – God chooses to do with us what he will; stay faithful all the way!

    Reply

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