Finding our life’s vocation requires
overcoming the expectations we heap on ourselves – let alone those
that other people demand of us. If David had listened to other
people’s ideas on the “Five Best Ways to fight Giants,” and lumbered
into action against Goliath the moment he donned Saul’s suit of
armour, he would not have lasted five minutes. It was only by
consciously resisting the obvious way of doing things that he was
free to use his God-given gifting.
Though there may well be kernels of
truth in most of the comments and criticisms that come our way,
which we do well to pay attention to, we dare not allow our life to
be directed by other people’s agendas. Just as many of the diagnoses
people suggested concerning Rosalind’s convulsions proved mercifully
wide of the mark, there is nothing to be gained by trying to force
ourselves to embrace perspectives that simply do not witness in our
spirit. At the same time we must keep our hearts wide open for the
Lord’s genuine challenges and promptings.
Whilst ministering in Hong Kong
recently, the Lord told Michael Ross-Watson to pay a visit to
Jakarta. He had less than no idea what the reason for this journey
might be, so he booked a ticket in obedience to stay for just one
night. Whatever the Lord had in mind would have to happen rapidly!
He still had no clear idea what he was meant to do when he landed in
Indonesia, so he made his way to visit some old friends: a family of
six sisters and their brother, who run a Christian bookshop.
When Michael reached the bookshop at
three o’clock, there was nobody there. Learning that the brother,
the patriarch of the family, had just died, Michael made his way to
their house as fast as he could. “Is that really you, Michael?” the
man’s wife gasped. “We haven’t seen you for years. Come and join the
family for the evening – stay the night . . .” She ran into his arms
and he spent time praying and ministering to the whole extended
family – all seventy of them!
The family invited Michael to conduct
the wake that evening, during which three people came to Christ. The
following morning he was on his way again, having fulfilled what the
Lord had sent him on this long journey to accomplish: to minister to
precious saints who were grieving, and to bring others to faith.
Just as Michael stepped out in faith and went the extra mile, may we
be willing to do the same, if the Lord whispers His leading to us.
Reflect and Pray
Those of us who are used to “lending our strength” to others may
also be the ones who are in most danger of suppressing our own
needs. This is a plea to ministers and carers not to “neglect their
Lord, it can be so difficult for us to say “no.”
We feel such a pressure to appear strong,
and fail to attend to our own grief.
Help us to do so, Lord,
before exhaustion obliges us to.
Just as we would feel no guilt
about taking time off with a bout of ‘flu,
help us not to balk
when it comes to working our own grief through.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.