When Your Road is Blocked

Last time, I wrote about the dynamics of waiting. Sometimes, like David, we have to wait for God. He may not fulfill our calling right away. Part of waiting is learning to be content with whatever He gives us, or wherever He puts us.

I admit, I have a hard time being content. I’ve got vision. I want to do a lot! But I’ve also got three little boys that I love a lot. So when I hit a roadblock, I stop and think about it. Maybe that roadblock is an obstacle put there by God. Maybe I’ve asked God to open a door, and He says no. Maybe He says, “It’s not worth it to you to chase that ministry out there, not if it makes you forget the number one ministry right here.” So He closes the door.

I do think that God closes doors. He closes them for all kinds of reasons. He might have something else He wants you to do. He might not think you’re ready. He might not want you to get so busy with new tasks that you forget what you were called to do in the first place. So sometimes He’s going to put up a wall, even if it means that you’re going to run right into it. You’re going to have to be okay with it.

I’m not necessarily content when that happens! It can be frustrating to hit a roadblock, or find that a door is closed to you. I might say, “God, I feel like you’re restraining me. Why won’t you let me run free? I can do some good here, if you’ll just let me!” But He hears that, and He says, “You can’t do anything good. You can only do good through me. When I say no, I don’t care how much good you think you can do. It’s not worth it!”

It’s only through God and in Him that we can bring His Kingdom. We prepare the horse for battle, but the victory is His. (Prov. 21:31) We prepare for the things we want to do. We set the goals. But He delivers. If you hit a roadblock and He wants you to get around it, He’ll just flick it out of the way. So if He doesn’t remove it, it’s for a good reason.

If He’s saying not now, then it’s not now. It’s okay. Why not wait until He says you’re ready? He doesn’t want you to go through a door when you’re not sufficiently mature, spiritually or mentally, to be able to handle what will come. He can see when an opportunity would be good, but He can also see when your heart is not ready. He’ll block you if it’s not going to be good for you. And then He’ll prepare you.

Instead of getting frustrated with Him, or fighting your way through roadblocks, why not try listening to Him? Try asking and listening, asking and listening. Try saying, “God, here’s my heart. Here’s why I want to do this thing. Here’s why I’d like to get around that obstacle. I would really like to be able to do that, but only if I can do it through you. And until you say it’s time, I’ll be content.”

God isn’t saying don’t plan. He directs your steps, but your heart plans the way. (Prov. 16:9) Let your heart dream. Go ahead and tell Him. And then, just be open. He will make the way plain for you (Ps. 5:8).

See you Thursday.

Waiting for a Call

And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. 1 Samuel 16:11-13

As a young shepherd in Bethlehem, David got his call – to be King of Israel! And what happened next? Nothing! He went back to his sheep! God anointed him king, but David had to wait 15 years to get there.

Eventually, he was chased and persecuted by King Saul. He ran, he hid out in caves, and he survived by his wits. He had been called to the throne! And he didn’t get there for 15 years!

I think we want our call in 15 minutes. So David’s story is instructive. He had to wait, man. He had to wait a long time to become king.

Waiting for a call can be tough, although hopefully not as tough as it was for David. Is there anything you can do while you wait? Yes! Just open your heart. Open your heart up to God, your Father, and say, “All right, what do you want me to do? Anything you want me to do, I’ll do it. I just want to serve you.”

Sometimes you need to ask Him. “I am a child of yours, and I would love to go out and be a part of something that’s just awesome. If now is not the time, okay! But I’d really like to go, if it would be okay with you. I would love it.” And then just see what He says. If He says no, then that’s okay. Keep doing what you’re doing. If He says yes, He’ll make it happen.

I think sometimes God wants you to ask. If you never ask, you’ll never know. That’s why the Bible says to keep asking. “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) But don’t forget, if you’re going to ask, you better be ready for the answer! If the answer’s no, you need to be okay with that. You may be disappointed. That’s fine! But you’ll need to get over it.

And you may just need to find your joy. Joy is not necessarily always in doing. Sometimes joy is just being where you’re at. I think that’s important to God too. Sometimes He wants you to just be. Be content sometimes. Be content with the calling you already have. Be content for now. When He feels like you have matured enough and you can handle what’s in store for you, He’ll call you and send you out. But until then, just be content.

In the long run, you’re going to be happier because you waited. If you do something that you think is so great, but you do it outside of God, you’re going to be disappointed. If He lets you go before you’re ready, you’re going to be miserable. And then you’re not going to like what you’re doing. You won’t find your joy. God doesn’t want that for you. What would be the point? Wait until He calls, because then you’ll find joy. Remember, Kingdom work is joyful!

More on this next time. See you Monday.

Give Them Something to Eat

Generation Alive stages Something to Eat events 2-3 times a month. They are so fulfilling. They give kids a chance to say, “We’re going to help someone who needs to be helped.” That’s the greatest thing. These kids show completely selfless love.

Our first one, in 2011, changed my life. It was an all-day event in January and several hundred people showed up for it. Everyone worked together in teams to package kits for complete meals. Each kid who came was directly involved. One kid would hold a bag under a funnel. Another would pour some protein powder in. The next kid would pour in some dried vegetables, and then the next one would pour in some vitamin powder. The last thing to get poured in was rice.

Next, someone would check the weight of the bag, because it had to weigh a certain amount for shipping. If it weighed too much, they took a little rice out, and if it weighed too little, they added a little rice in. Then the next kid would take the bag and hold it under a heat sealer, and the next one would seal it. Then they’d stack the bags for boxing.

You add this meal kit to boiling water and you get all the nutrients you need for the day. Hungry kids in places like Haiti eat these meals and their health really improves. Their hair and nails grow back, their eyesight improves, and they do better in school because they can think properly. These meals are helping their bodies do what they need to do.

From start to finish, it takes two minutes to make a meal kit that restores life to someone dealing with hunger. Each kid in a group took part in preparing each bag, and each bag held six meals. Twelve kids would touch the same bag, and know that they were a part of all six meals.

We told the kids, “Write whatever you want on the box. Write a positive message.” And these boxes were covered in messages. “God loves you,” they wrote. “We pray for you.” “We love you.” “We care about you.” They drew pictures! It was awesome, just to see them waiting for their turn. They worked hard, enjoyed the work, and wanted to do more.

You just can’t imagine how fulfilling and uplifting it is to spend a day with kids who are willing to work hard to help strangers! A lot of them shared that they want to do this all their lives, and even do it for a living. That makes me think about God’s call and our response. Next time, I want to share some thoughts about that. See you Thursday.

Justice Fighters

Sometimes people ask me, “Do you really think we can end human trafficking in our lifetime?” The truth is, I don’t know. But I’m still going to fight it with every opportunity. If we fight, we can free some people from a pretty terrible life.

I can’t promise you that fighting trafficking will end it. But we can end it, and I mean end it permanently, for some people. That’s one promise I can make. We can give some people their lives back. And the men, women, and children that are saved because of our efforts are pretty happy that we showed up and fought for them. They are happy that we didn’t just sit back and say, “Well, I can’t end trafficking, so why should I try?”

Helping-HandsThink of those people whose lives were spared because we fed them. Think of those people who have clean, safe water to drink because we put in a well for them. Now they have no disease and their communities are thriving. They’re living longer and living fully because they don’t feel sick all the time. They’re happy and full of joy! I think they are pretty happy that we helped them, even if we can’t completely eliminate hunger or contaminated water in our lifetime.

I know that when we put in a well and heal a community, someone else, somewhere else, is dying of thirst. There’s plenty of that going around. And even if we fix one problem for good, another might arise. There was the plague, the “Black Death,” in the 14th century. It devastated Europe, and the Europeans were probably wondering if it would ever stop. It did. Later, we learned to understand sickness, and to treat it. Yet disease still is rampant. We handled the plague, the Spanish flu, whooping cough, and many other diseases, but still others, like Ebola, pop up. So we ask, “Can we end trafficking in our lifetime?” And I think, even if we can, another threat may arise.

But we can end trafficking for some people. We can end poverty for some people. We can end disease, sorrow, and suffering for some people. And so that’s what we do. It’s our calling as human beings in Christ, and so we rise to the call. I can’t save the whole world, but I can do my part. I can reflect Jesus by meeting a need, whenever or wherever I see one.

We are here to create the conditions of God’s justice, like freedom and health, joy and community. That’s why we’re here, so that’s what we do! We don’t have to finish the battle. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. We’re here to help when we see a need. That’s all.

That’s the whole purpose of life!

See you Monday.