Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lost! (At least it seems that way)

“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel [was] established [to be] a prophet of the LORD.” 1 Sam. 3:19-20

Have you ever felt that you somehow missed God concerning His purpose for your life? Have you ever felt like you were trying to wedge yourself into a spot that God never really intended for you to go? I know I have. Yet, I am confident in my call. I know what God has called me to do, at least I know in part (1 Cor. 13:9). I want to speak to those today who for whatever reason are struggling with what they feel God has purposed for them. Let’s recount this story from 1 Samuel.

Samuel was a miracle child, born to a couple who could not have children. God had heard the prayer of Samuel’s mother, and graciously opened her womb. She conceived, and Samuel was born. As soon as she weaned her young son, she took him to the tabernacle, and “lent him to the Lord”. She took young Samuel to live there at the tabernacle, where he trained for the priesthood. Yet, because of the disobedience of his mentor’s house, Samuel was raised up by God to be a new priest, judge and prophet to Israel. Even though he must have been quite young, God began to use Samuel. As our text today says, God didn’t let any of his (Samuel’s) words “fall to the ground”. In other words, when Samuel spoke God’s Word, not one word failed. All came to pass. Everyone knew then that God had “established” or confirmed Samuel as a true prophet.

Now, not everyone has been called to be a prophet. But we all have some purpose here on this planet. There is some job that the Lord Jesus has for us to do. As the Bible tells us, we are all part of the Body of Christ. We each have a function. But just as God confirmed Samuel in his role, so He will confirm us in ours. For me, there are times where I will struggle with the call of God as a pastor. It sometimes seems that it’s an impossible dream that, like the proverbial door at the end of the hallway, seems to get farther away with every step I take toward it. You know, that can get depressing. It can be discouraging. Sometimes it seems like I’m simply sitting on my hands, with no doors opening. I pray, study, and fast (okay, sometimes!). But sometimes, it just feels like He’s dropped me in a spiritual closet and told me to just sit. Other times, I struggle with God’s timing. “When God when?” It seems easier sometimes to just chalk it up to mishearing God. But these are times when I must hold out in faith, and press on, being faithful.

Yet, I can see where God is using me in my particular role. I begin to see where He uses me to “shepherd” those he sends me. I see where He is using me as an “equipper of the Body” (see Ephesians 4:11-12). Hey, He has even used this blog to remind me of His purpose for me. Yes, He is steadily showing me and others that I will not “fall to the ground”, that He is confirming me in my place in His plans.

Let me encourage you today. Be faithful to do what you believe God has called you to do, even if it seems futile. God will confirm your call. He will show you the ways that He is establishing you. And remember, no matter how small or unimportant it may seem to you now, press on. As Jesus said, those who are faithful in the little things will entrusted with more. God bless!


Darrell said...

Oh yeah, can I ever relate to this post Jeff! Sometimes I still feel this way, but I went through a period a few years ago that I often felt like God had forgotten where he had stuck me. For almost 5 years I went through one of the most lonely, depressing times of my life. I was a pastor most of that time, had a wonderful wife and kids, but I felt so alone and often wondered if I had missed it and God had forgotten me or written me off. Ministry still went on, but during that period, I felt like I was going through the motions, or like I was a hamster on one of those wheels. There were times I came very close to just walking away from the ministry, and even my family... as if I could just run away from it all.

The good news is, that one day, just as suddenly as it all began, it ended. It was as if one chapter of my life closed and a new one began. I still wonder what that period was all about. I cannot give a definitive answer to that, but I do know that it changed me. During that period my philosophy of ministry was turned upside down. I am a far different (and I believe better) pastor now than I was prior to that wilderness experience. I am also a much better husband and father. I also learned to lean on God much more, whereas I used to lean on my denomination and my friends.

Yeah, there was a purpose for it, but man was it a painful period. I hope I never have to go back there again!

Neil said...

How prophetic! Believe it or not, twice this week I emailed friends saying this is how I've been feeling. What an odd feeling it is, to know who and what you are, but to wonder if you're really there yet. Thanks!