by Robin Kegler
What do you do when you respond in obedience to God's directions and things don't work out the way you thought they should?
I was sitting in my car the other day and reflected on those very thoughts when Moses came to mind. God said He was going to use Moses to deliver the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 3:10). Initially Moses wasn't all that excited about being recruited because of his own perceived shortcomings. He agreed to obey God after God yielded to his request to have his brother Aaron accompany him.
Moses assumed that because he obeyed God, all he had to do was go straight to Pharaoh and say, "Let my people go." We learn that not only did Pharaoh not agree to let God's people go (to worship on the mountain), he made the Hebrews work harder by requiring them to find their own straw to make the daily quota of bricks. Hebrew leaders assigned by Pharaoh to oversee the project were beaten when the daily quota of bricks was not met. The Hebrew leaders complained to Moses about the lashings and Moses complained to God:
"O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people and you have not rescued your people at all (Exodus 5:22-23 NIV)."
Can you relate with Moses? Have you come face to face with struggles in your personal life, family, work environment, ministry or organization since responding obediently to God's directions? I can say, "Yes!"
Looking back on the first few months of Fanning The Flame, and struggling financially, I kept telling God, "This is not the way it's suppose to be. Did I miss your timing God? Why am I struggling if I obeyed your will?"
Like Moses, we sometimes make the assumption that because we obey the voice of God, God will work His Word out in our lives in a 1,2, 3 fashion. My assumption was that God was going to fulfill His word according to my timetable. I did not take into account that God operates outside of time. As a result, my little timetable meant absolutely nothing to God.
Here's what you can do when you respond in obedience to God's directions and things don't go as you assumed?
1. Go back to the first thing God said to you- Review your journal notes, sermon notes and quiet time inklings you received from God when He originally spoke to you.
2. Look for a pattern- Identify what God said and ways He consistently confirmed what He said.
Prior to stepping into Fanning The Flame on a fulltime basis, I kept (and still keep) a daily record of how God has led me to go forth with Fanning The Flame. Confirmation came during my personal time in the Word, prayer, sermons and listening to tapes. During conversations with others (including strangers), people would repeat what God said to me without their knowing it.
3. Stand on the word God spoke- Regardless of how things are looking naturally, God has it under control in the Spirit.
There were moments (2-3 specifically) when I was ready to say, "Forget it! I'm returning to the classroom and grow Fanning The Flame part-time." Every time I confronted the possibility of turning back, a still, small voice kept saying, "No, trust me. Stand."
4. Communicate with wise counsel (Proverbs 16:22)- I have appreciated the wisdom, encouragement and insight I've received from my family members, spiritual leaders, personal coach and brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. They have been able to see things I could not and hold my arms up in victory when I was going down for the "ten count."
5. Pray, praise and trust in God- Talk to God often throughout the day. Praise Him with all of your being with singing, poetry, etc. If you are not sure what to say, pray or sing one of the Psalms or other scripture in the Word. Trust God with all your heart. He is faithful. Morning by morning He extends new mercies. Hope and wait on Him (Lamentations 3:22-24).
I've come to realize throughout my journey with Fanning The Flame that I only see in part. Each day God allows me to see more. In time, I'll understand why some of the paths led to false assumptions, adversity, delays, and in some cases, denials. Perhaps it's in response to a prayer of commitment I made to Him at the beginning of our journey with Fanning The Flame:
"I choose to live the life without limits that I so readily speak to my clients about. I choose to serve as their example of what is possible when a person obeys the voice of God and fully lives their life purpose everyday."
I can say God has walked each path with me, never forsaken me and is the source of my encouragement and strength. He can do and desires to do the same for you.