Have you ever wondered why you have had to go through some of the things you have had to go through?
If you have lived long enough, lots of “things” may have occurred: maybe a divorce, an accident, a disease, an addiction, mental health difficulties…the list goes on and on.
If you have been a believer, you may have experienced some “mountain top” moments”: the time you aided a friend when you did not think you could do the work but you did, that time when you had to be there for a family member to assist them in their last days and it worked out far better than you thought, the disaster you suffered when you made a mistake and hurt yourself and the joy of finding your way through recovery and the wonder of learning new things about God’s power. That list can go on and on too. When God works a miracle in your life, it is wonderful. When you know you are growing, it is fantastic!
Pastor Hybels* refers to these things when he says “when you find yourself standing on the sacred ground. . . you hear God say ‘This is why I made you and why I wired you up like I did! This is why I allowed the mountain-top reason-for-rejoicing times in your life, as well as why I let the pits of despair sneak in. None of the tears of anguish will be wasted; I plan to use every ounce of what you’ve been though for good in this specific area. . . [God says] ‘I just happen to have in mind someone exactly like you to help me solve this [problem].’”
If you “buy into the premise” of Holy Discontent you may wonder what is my holy discontent? You may be looking for that problem that tears at your heart, that problem that you will dedicate your efforts to…you know, your special service commitment that will make a difference.
You have given your life to Christ and now you have begun the process of transformation…that process of being transformed into Christ’s image. You are thinking about yourself less and you are looking to serve others. You are resisting the temptation to judge others and for the first time you are willing to extend grace and help others with their redemption.
You are ready to go…
But you may be ready to make a big mistake…
The problem is that you are trying to force things. I have been “on fire” for the Lord myself and I have seen countless other Christians “on fire” also. The joy of the Lord is in my heart and I have boundless energy to tackle any problem.
In my experience this may be a time for you to stop…and think, and pray and seek counsel from other well-meaning Christian brothers and sisters.
As human beings, we need to recognize that our timing is not God’s timing. Becoming more like Christ is a long-term project and we sometimes want action NOW!
Too many wonderful people have lost their effectiveness because they have taken on a challenge that they thought was right, but it was not. They were determined to act quickly without consulting God about the situation.
When I retired in 2013, I immediately was asked to head up a project in our community that dove-tailed with what I was doing in my church. I was heavily involved in providing Christian education opportunities at my church so naturally, I could do this for other people in other places.
However, something just did not feel right. The more I talked about this change, the more I felt less inspired to sign on to this commitment. I remember I waited for nine months to determine what I was to do. It was not my determination; it was God’s. I prayed and prayed about this project. I studied a book on Christian activism and taking chances to do the Lord’s work. The more I thought about the commitment, the less it seemed to be me doing His work and the more it seemed to be service to the person who asked me. I finally knew it was not an opportunity for me to serve God and I turned it down.
Now, four years later, I can see the wisdom in waiting for God to lead me.
He has other things for me to do, things that are more appropriate for me. Service opportunities that are a better fit.
When will I have my “burning bush” experience? That big commitment that is born from my desire to eradicate a serious problem? My Popeye moment?
I am not sure.
But I do believe this. What I have been through thus far in life is all about preparing me for that moment when it arrives.
In the meanwhile, I will serve in ways that I can and I will be available…
To do His work…
The author of Holy Discontent