Have you ever felt God was telling you to do something? You pray about it and sense the Lord’s leading. As you begin to picture the outcome, your desire to fulfill it grows. However, in the end, it doesn’t turn out like we thought it would. Not even remotely close. In fact, we feel like we missed God completely. Has this ever happened to you?
I remember a time when I believed God was telling me to go and share my testimony with a man I knew. I prayed and felt God would use my story to help this man. When the opportunity came, I went to his house to see him. Halfway through my sharing, he stopped me and told me to get out of his house. He also said he never wanted to speak of that topic with me again.
Another time I believed the Lord was leading me to apply for a position with a ministry. As I prayed about it, I really believed it was God’s will for me to be a part of this ministry. Once I applied, they rejected me and said they did not believe I was part of God’s direction for their ministry. I was devastated!
So what about you? What if you knew that to obey God would only end with a negative result? What if you knew ahead of time that you would be rejected, or there would be pain and embarrassment, or you would look like a fool? Would you still do it?
Moses was told by God repeatedly to go and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Each time Moses did this, he was rejected. To add insult to injury, the people he was trying to save began to complain about him and blame him for their situation.
Joseph’s relationship with God got him thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his brothers. Later, after becoming very successful in Egypt, he is falsely accused and thrown in jail. It was several years later until God delivered him from jail.
I wonder how they must have processed “following God” when things obviously did not turn out the way they thought they would. After the ministry rejected me, I struggled for many years with bitterness in my heart toward them and God. I never thought this might have been God’s will for me. I never realized there might have been lessons for me to learn through the process.
What if God’s only desire in leading me to apply was for me to be turned down? What if God wanted to teach me how to persevere through rejection or walk through a disappointment without becoming bitter? If that was His plan for me, and I now believe that to be true, I obviously and totally blew it.
I’m beginning to see that God is very concerned with my experience because He is very concerned about me. My tendency is to finalize a conclusion in my mind once I have sensed God’s direction in a matter. Then I believe that everything should work out for my benefit in order to achieve my conclusion.
Now, I understand it is human nature to be results oriented. We do things in order to achieve results. We want good grades because we want to go to college. We want to go to college because we want a degree. We want a degree because we want to get a job. We want to get a job so we can get married, etc…
But our God is all about the process and our experience through it. I believe this is how He will grow us into His likeness and bring glory to His name on earth.
So if I could just remember that God already knows the end result, then I think I could begin to look through the experience for what He wants me to learn from Him. How about you?
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.” Isaiah 43:6-7