Recently, Silvio and I were faced with some obstacles in the way we felt that God was calling us to do ministry. We tried hard to fight against those obstacles. But then we experienced the Holy Spirit nudging us to settle down. As Dad encouraged us by reflecting from his own life, when God is calling us, it’s always better to let Him open doors than to break them open ourselves and then usually find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I felt convicted that I had been pushing what I wanted not just for the ministry’s sake, but also for mine. I proudly wanted to do things my way, in a way that made me comfortable and in control. I strongly believe God is calling me to be a leader, to be Silvio’s teammate–but not that way. Not my way but His. I need to wait for Him to open the door, and in the meantime keep quietly helping Silvio behind the scenes. But I need to serve out of obedience and love, not to achieve the life I want to have.
I was just reading Numbers 14 and was so struck. The Israelites have just been led a long way by God and are sent to check out Canaan. They find giants there and decide to take it by force, but start complaining because the giants are too big for them. Joshua and Caleb say to them, “The country we went to reconnoitre is a good country, an excellent country. If Yahweh is pleased with us, he will lead us into this country and give it to us. It is a country flowing with milk and honey. But do not rebel against Yahweh or be afraid of the people of the country, for we shall gobble them up. Their protecting shade has deserted them, while we have Yahweh on our side. Do not be afraid of them.”
A few days ago, we were so fired up because of how far God has led us. Now we come up against our first obstacle and start complaining, start trying to fix things by force without His help.
God led the Israelites all that way and He kept leading them! He knew the obstacles! But they were smaller than Him–He can crumble city walls when they’re in His way. On the other hand, that very bout of complaining by the Israelites was what sentenced them to wander for 40 years in the desert and never see the fruit of their labor–the fruit of their following God. What a warning. God will provide for us against astonishing odds. But when we choose to whine and doubt Him–things do not work out.
It is so fun to read back through old journal entries. You see how perfectly everything works together. When I wrote this, I had no inkling that the very next day Silvio and I would be launched on the greatest adventure. For a year we had done young adult ministry together, and just when we began to experience the Holy Spirit revving us up for some amazing work that He would do in the ministry, we lost our position there. And there wasn’t even a pause before we started experiencing a call to continue the ministry in my hometown, with little and big signs all over the place so beautifully spoken to us. It’s been an incredible ride and we’ve loved every second of it. It’s felt very much like God leading us into a promised land. And the transition happened the day after we turned our obstacles over to Him, to let Him open the doors. He has. All over the place. We haven’t had to figure a single thing out so far–we’ve just had to look for the next open door and go through it, one at a time. It has been incredible.
God opens doors. Let Him. It’s way better than when we push them over.