In recent days I have experienced a few bumps and hills of disappointment. It isn’t really anything I haven’t been through before but none-the-less it is, for me, an indication that I have my eyes looking in the wrong direction again. And while I am confessing, I have to admit, my heart hardened for a few days. I am really not alone in the disappointments. Some friends I know are experiencing this as well but can only speak of “my heart” condition. The part that is so frustrating is the feeling of helplessness that you feel when you know that you can not change the actions of others. Try as you might, you can only be responsible for your own actions. How you respond, how you keep moving forward and how you keep your perspective.
Some of this disappointment is in being apart of a new ministry, which in and of itself has it’s own set of challenges, add to that the personal challenges of the believers committed to the calling. First and foremost we know that any effort we make to further God’s kingdom is usually met with spiritual warfare. The enemy would not have us be productive or effective for God. He does not want us to be orderly or certain of God’s plan. It is of utmost importance to solely trust our Heavenly Father, to trust that He is in control of all He allows to enter our lives. It really depends on the depth of one’s personal relationship with Jesus, on the ability to recognize when and where the enemy attacks and to be ready to stand firm against those attacks.
I am finding out in these days that many are not able to go the long haul. I don’t know how many times I have heard the stories recounted by old preachers who have, with the help of God, built churches across the US and around the world. They often refer to their calling as a call to “plant a new church” and how they witnessed God opening doors of opportunities. God sending this person or that person to meet a need, to give encouragement or to join in the work by using their God-given gift to add to the ministry. I am sure they leave out the description of the labor it took to bring a ministry to fruition in order to highlight the power of God’s direction. But truth be told in its entirety, it is the result of a commitment to hours spent in blood, sweat, tears, and prayer over long days that becomes a labor of love for God and His calling. I guess that is why it is difficult for most to understand the cost, the sacrifice and the commitment it takes to do such a work. The bible says “except the Lord build the house, they labor vain that build it.”
What little things get in our way as we move into the realm of a calling? What obstacles accost us as we wake each day to a new challenge in the plan? What does it take to bring about unity in a core body of believers? How does God bring about vision? How does He put the desire in our hearts so strong that we are about His business and not ours? These are questions that have stirred within my heart. My heart so hungry and thirsty for His presence. To see Him manifest Himself within our midst.
What do I know? I know that He seeks our fellowship. He draws us to Him through the disappointments, the challenges, the hunger and the thirst. I know it takes an emptiness to be filled. I know that first, without the love in our hearts that we can not show love to others. I know that without prayer there is no power. And finally, I know that it is not about us, it has to be all about Him!
inasmuch as ye are partakers
of Christ’s sufferings;
that, when his glory shall be revealed,
ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:13
I understand that man will disappoint us but God will not. Our disappointment comes from looking to man for emotional support, wisdom or means to carry us through a particular difficulty, instead of placing it all upon God Himself. This can be applied to all areas of our lives. Our careers, our marriages, our friendships, our government leaders, our spiritual leaders, our parents, our children or even material things. We will not be able to accept the bumps and hills of disappointment until we understand that our disappointment in life comes not from others actions but from within our own heart and mind, where we have set up a thing above that which God wills in our life.
In the days ahead of us in the coming weeks, personally and nationally, let us put God in His rightful place in our lives. On the throne!
Grace and peace be unto you, my friends.