A Christian who authors books said, “We are not called to write; we are called to love and obey God. Today you might be writing; tomorrow you might be doing something else.”
I heard these words as if God Himself was speaking to me and from them He set me free. I had the idea that “I must do this . . .” from my to-do list. Instead He wanted me to listen to Him each day, even each moment. As that author said, God’s guidance can take me in all directions.
This was true for Timothy, a young pastor. His ‘calling’ might have been to preach, but at least once God gave him something else to do . . .
Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:1–5)
Chambers says, “After sanctification it is difficult to state what your aim in life is, because God has taken you up into His purpose . . . .” For most of us, this can mean affliction just as it was for the Christians in Thessalonica.
Today’s devotional reminds me that when I lose my own ideas and let God guide me, I cannot predict or even understand what comes next. Yesterday, I set out to attend the Bible study I’ve missed for two weeks while on vacation. When I got there, I found out how far behind I was in reading the assigned book. However, God put it on the heart of the leader to ask me to lead the group discussion involving half of those attending. Saying yes brought me to a very quick prayer. Today, I’m doing something else that also calls for prayer . . . and so it goes.
Chambers verifies that I cannot grasp God’s interests until I drop all my interests and ambitions. His purpose for my life is His purpose, not mine. I must not whine, complain, or lay down any rules regarding what I want. As Chambers says, “When I stop telling God what I want, He can catch me up for what He wants without let or hindrance. He can crumple me up or exalt me, He can do anything He chooses. He simply asks me to have implicit faith in Himself and in His goodness.”
This is the key to finding the purpose of God; knowing that God is good. If I suspect He will harm me or fear that He will put me through flaming hoops when I expect something that feels good, then I cannot fulfill His purpose or be used by Him. Living in utter self-control leads to frustration and inevitable self-pity, all of which is a total waste of my life, which is exactly what the devil would prefer.