Make Room for the Rock

“Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him.  That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. All of a sudden God meets the life … “When it was the good pleasure of God.” – Oswald Chambers

The New Year is no longer “brand” new. It is beginning, perhaps, to wear around the edges a bit. Maybe there were events you looked forward to that did not turn out the way you had hoped (or did not turn out at all). Maybe it is not this year alone, but in life overall. What happened to those well-laid plans? What happened to those carefully-constructed hopes? What happened to those lofty dreams? Where did they go?

Perhaps we ask ourselves the wrong questions. Perhaps we are looking for the wrong things.

Perhaps there is only one thing we should really be looking for: “Is God in my plans?”

For if He is not there, not the Author and Finisher of these plans and hopes and dreams, we will continue to find ourselves disappointed.

But if, at the beginning of any thought or idea or dream, we stop … kneel down in body or in spirit and commit it to the Lord, asking Him to direct us, to be in the idea or plan, or to remove it from our heart, we will find our ways established and our dreams come true.

What kind of plans do we “have” to commit to God, one might ask. For true joy … every single one.

But aren’t some things too personal? What about a relationship? Do I “have” to give that over to God too? No, you don’t have to, but you might want to, if you hope to build a relationship that lasts. For in the end, the only things that truly last in our lives are those that are built upon the Rock.

You remember the story.

Two men built houses. One on the Rock. One on the shifting sand. Only one house endured the storm. It doesn’t matter what house or hope or dream is being built. A marriage. A vocation. A business. A family. A church. It will endure only if it is constructed on the Rock.

Let us make room for God. Not invite Him in or ask Him to save us and save our plans only after they are crumbling all around us. Let us let Him be the Author and Foundation upon which all in our life is built.

Then it will be sure to stand.

Discovering the Call of Christ

“To serve God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is expressive of that which if fitted to my nature: God’s call is expressive of His nature; consequently when I receive His nature and hear His call, the voice of the Divine nature sounds in both and the two work together. The Son of God reveal Himself in me, and I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him.” – Oswald Chambers

Last week, I wrote on the topic of finding God’s will. For many years, and still at times, I referred to my personal discovery of God’s will for my life — particularly when I journeyed to a country overseas — as a “calling” from God. I have no better way to refer to it, for that is what it was. I knew I was called to that developing nation and to spend a number of years there. In fact, at the time, my personal desires were not completely in line with that call. I knew it was the place God had ordained for me to go, and I was excited at the prospects, but more often than not my overwhelming feeling, especially as I prepared to go and in my first months (and even years) there, was “What on earth am I doing?”

In other words, it was not some romantic call that I desired to fulfill with my very life. Many times, it felt like a chore. Many times, I wanted to go back home and enjoy the creature comforts that I had grown accustomed to. At times like that, certain verses jumped out at me, such as, “Whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

Does He call everyone to “forsake” all? No. And yes. It depends.

I have found, over time and experience, that He will at some point, ask us to be willing to forsake that thing dearest to our heart. But only so that He can become dearer. And as we do so, this is when we find that we can truly delight ourselves in Him. And that we, more deeply and surely than ever, receive the desires of our heart. Desires that are finally in line with His desires for us.

My calling has changed. Not a clear, resounding call like the one I felt when I chose to journey overseas as a missionary. No, a gradual sense of purpose that rose out of the ashes of a life that I thought was forever broken through loss and “forsaking”. And this call, wouldn’t you believe it, is the one that my heart responds to completely. This purpose is one I feel was fitted for me from the time I was a youth.

So what were my years in service to God in another country? Preparation? Just another call? A test?

I don’t know. But I do know that He began a good work in my life, as He promised to do, and that He continues that good work; that the good work will never be completed in this life. But that He will continue to be faithful. And that His purposes will be established in my life.

And in yours. For “He that has begun a good work in you will perform it” and perfect it and complete it unto the end … until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Until He returns to tell us, “Well done.”

 

How Do I Find God’s Will

“Does God have a plan for my life?” It is a question we tend to ask ourselves, and ask often, especially in our earliest moments of faith, as we try to determine just how much of our trust we can and should place in God’s saving grace.

When we are assured, by Scripture and godly counsel, that He does, indeed have a plan, the next question arises. My son asked it just the other day, although he is only six years old. “How can I know what God wants me to do?” Or in other words, “How do I find God’s will?”

A vital question, especially as the New Year starts and we seek direction and guidance, or perhaps begin some new ventures (or hope to if we could only figure out which way to go).

How do we find God’s will and plan for our lives?

I spoke to my son of the verse that promises as we delight ourselves in Him, the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Of course, my son then asked, “Does that mean I can do anything I want?” He was speaking about vocations, and is debating between three main ones: farmer, fire-fighter, and preacher. Although I did mention to him that he does have plenty of time to decide (he is not even seven, after all), I didn’t want to completely shut down the conversation, because it is beneficial even for young children to at times go through the process of something they can’t entirely figure out in one sitting.

And so it was. I told him that, no, that scripture doesn’t mean he can do whatever he likes. But it does mean that, as he continues to learn more about Jesus and grow in faith in the days and months and years to come, he will (God willing) come to place more of his faith and trust in Christ, and in His perfect love and plan for his life. I shared with him how it worked for me. That when I was young, there were placed I wanted to go and things I wanted to do, yet as I continued growing and as I slowly asked more and more for God to lead and guide me in life, certain paths grew clear and bright for me and I knew they were the direction I needed to journey in my walk with the Lord.

Sometimes these were real places, like going overseas and being involved in missions work. Sometimes they were places of the soul and the heart, even dark paths that I felt I traveled alone, but came through on the other side knowing that I had never been alone.

Does God have a perfect purpose and plan for your life?

Undoubtedly, yes!

How can you find that plan? Delight yourself in Him (Psalm 37:4). Seek Him and ask (James 1:5). Devote and commit your ways to Him completely (Psalm 37:5). Know that as you do so, He will lead and guide by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Your way will become clear. And you will know that He is walking with you every step.