I remember the scene as if it were yesterday. I was a single mom in my late twenties, raising two children. I knew with certainty God had a calling on my life, one that involved full-time Christian ministry and seminary preparation. However, I would find myself waiting over twenty years for such occurrences to come to fruition.
By the time I had reached my forties, I found myself settled in a job that I adored. By this time, my kids had grown up and started families of their own. Yet amid my settled life, God came calling. It was time to go to seminary. Yet instead of following His leading toward a time of preparation, I quickly became a Jonah and opted for another route. God sent a whale to swallow Jonah, but He sent a trial that engulfed me like a massive wave.
I had designed my own life-blueprint and labored diligently in trying to bring it to fruition. However, the harder I worked at implementing my strategies, God began to block my every move.Tweet
Eventually, all my plans crumbled. In addition to a failed ministry and a head-on collision with a destructive corridor of sin, my life had deflated in shambles. Yet amid deep brokenness, repentance came, and I was met with both God’s grace and a second chance to start again. He would later direct my steps to a place I never envisioned residing, Fort Worth, Texas.
Never could I have imagined living in such a big city. Yet God had a greater plan for my life than what I could see at the time. One that required peeling my fingers off places I desperately wanted to stay and from plans, I anxiously sought Him to bless.
God’s plan is always bigger and always better!Tweet
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9)
The call to follow Jesus requires a death to self with complete abandonment to our wills, our ways, and our plans. This form of “demise” involves an unconditional surrender to follow the Savior’s leading, no matter the cost, no matter His directional course, and no matter what other voices exclaim.
For me personally, pursuing the call of God on my life has involved a move from a family I adore. I have missed countless birthdays, ballgames, school plays, and special gatherings. Yet as hard as it has been, I am often prompted of the following truths. First and foremost, my journey is about Jesus and His glory, not my agenda, hopes, and dreams. When I look at the Cross, I am reminded that my life is not my own. It was bought at a high price. Therefore, I must join the Lord in His work, instead of asking Him to join me in mine. Secondly, I have been entrusted with a message of hope. When I look at the resurrection of Christ, I am reminded of the important call to spread His amazing gospel message to a lost and dying world. Therefore, I must be willing to walk a path of entrusting to others what has been entrusted to me, no matter where that course may lead.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37–39)
A missionary family went under scrutiny from individuals for taking their kids to a dangerous, foreign land to spread the gospel. The missionary wife responded to people’s criticisms by stating, “I would rather live in a tent, in the middle of a desert, and be in the center of God’s will than a place where others deem safe, yet out of God’s will.”
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34–35)
Jesus could have skipped the cross, but He didn’t. He could have avoided people’s slandering remarks, but He didn’t. He could have dodged the beatings, ran from the mistreatment and commisoned Himself back home, but He didn’t. Instead, He left the comforts of Heaven, to give His life for a lost and dying world. His mission was one of obedience to His Father. He walked a road of suffering, unashamed and completely surrendered. How can I do any less?
Are you following Jesus with an unwavering resolve? Are you willing to relocate, if He asks? Are you willing to serve in a dangerous place, if He summons you? Are you willing to embrace a road of suffering, if He entrusts one to you? When you follow the Savior, it won’t be easy, but it will most definitely be rewarding. Such peace and joy, will abide in the one who gives of his or her all to the Master.
Don’t miss God’s best for your life by trying to follow your own plan instead of His.Tweet
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30)
Written by, O’Shea