Discerning the will of God is one of the greatest challenges for those who follow Jesus.
And it may seem contradictory when I say that on some levels. His will is crystal clear for daily obedience. We have God’s Word that constantly casts light upon the pathway of our journey and acts as a safeguard for the pitfalls that lurk in the shadows and have the power to trip us up momentarily, even eteranlly.
Still, every person in my community of believers following Jesus, both far and near, actively seek guidance through prayer, counsel, and meditation as to the Lord’s will for the destiny of life.
It’s that thing you know you are called to do, and as Oprah said once — it’s the thing you would do for free for the rest of your life because you love it so much. I guess it’s also called passion. When a believer’s passion becomes his vocation or calling in life, it truly is a milestone and becomes the foundation for everything else.
I believe that was God’s original intent when creating humankind — that passion would become calling. Adam was given the task of naming the species and caring for the garden. I imagine he loved his job. It probably seemed more like a vacation in paradise to him.
There is the ultimate will of God for a person’s life, and there is understanding the Lord’s plan along the journey. We are never free from the responsibility of knowing what He expects and has prepared. We are never free from walking through the right doors after we pass through the BIG door of obedience.
There have been times in my life that I nearly missed God’s blueprint because the open door in front of my face was not as glamorous as I had dreamed. At first glance the door wasn’t appealing enough to want to walk through it.
Years ago, while serving at the church, I was asked to start writing the bulletin. It wasn’t the job of my dreams, but I did it faithfully. Eventually, because I had extra space, I began to write and publish small devotionals in the bulletin. This began my journey of writing. And amazingly, I still have church members tell me they have kept certain devotionals that encouraged them!
But I had to walk through a door of service that wasn’t appealing to find the opportunity. That humble service lead me to a pathway that changed my life and brought great fulfillment.
There is so much discussion about the will of God being so amazing that even our own dreams could not match it. Madonna was asked once about her life, and she said my own dreams have fallen short of my actual life. “I couldn’t dream it this good.”
And I believe following Jesus is even better than that. He does exceed our dreams, but it often doesn’t come wrapped in the package that we recognize as our long awaited gift from God. It may look different, even unattractive.
Noah may have had a dream of saving mankind, but he walked through the door of ridicule as he built the ark. In the end, God used him to rescue his own family to the uttermost and start the world again. The Lord’s plan turned out to be bigger.
Abraham may have had a dream of being a father someday, but he walked through the door of barrenness until his old age. Then after years of “staggering not” at the promise of God, the Creator of the universe granted Abraham’s desire. Then it exceeded Abraham’s desire by a long shot, as he became the father of a nation, whose seed became as numerous as the stars and sand. And as if that wasn’t great enough, his nation was destined to bless the families of the earth.
David dreamed of becoming king, but he walked through the door of betrayal, fleeing, soldiering, and rejection before he wore the crown. And although he got off the pathway at times, he became a man “after God’s own heart.” What a legacy!
When my husband and I left the comfort of America to become missionaries in the former Soviet Union 15 years ago, it was the fulfillment of a long-time dream. However, when we crossed the threshold of the door that lead to the first steps of that dream, we felt like we landed two kilometers outside of hell. We experienced physical and emotions hardships, betrayal, and I could go on and on.
We held steady. And yes, at times, we felt somehow we had made a wrong turn. But the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit reassured us we were in His perfect will. We stayed the course. In time, our small efforts reached into other countries and touched the lives of many instead of a handful. I couldn’t have dreamed it this good.
We are STILL discerning His perfect will for next steps and the next steps. We never leave that behind us… there are always new doors to choose as we go forward in obedience.
Consider today the open door before you. Perhaps it has not arrived with pomp and circumstance, and it’s not wrapped in gold and silver. In reality on the outside, maybe it looks like the opposite of what you were expecting. You dreamed of it bigger and better.
If the still, small of the Holy Spirit is leading you on in peace, then walk through the door. And as you walk, don’t be discouraged if things seem to fall apart at first. It doesn’t mean you chose wrong. It means God is preparing you for something great, greater than your own dreams.
And you will be in pretty good company.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ~Hebrew 12:1
4 Comments Add yours
Rich stuff, so true. Thank you Bonnie, you are such a treasure.
I love it. When in the midst of confusion and uncertainty I remind myself of the bountiful blessings God has given me, and then I think that same thing, I couldn’t dream of something this good.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. It’s so easy to quit and feel like a failure or feel like I missed God when things seem to fall apart. I am moving forward with the dream I feel God has put in my heart. It feels too big and too good to be real but I guess that’s how I know it’s a God idea. Thank you for being a blessing.
Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Ever considered carpentry as a vocation? 🙂