I prayed to God for encouragement this past weekend, and that Sunday I was asked to accept a foster-care child in need of encouragement into my home. Although I was happy to help, it’s not what I was expecting God to send to me.
That same Sunday, early in the morning, I prayed for a sign that He was pleased with me; when I returned to my home and opened up my computer, the first email I read was from a family that told me, rather uncharitably, that they did not want to receive any more emails or communication from us about our camp.
He seems to be intent on giving me what He thinks I “need, and using me for His purposes instead of giving me all that ask for. Although I often wish otherwise, God is not a “permissive Father”. His “encouragement” to me is revealed in His approval of me to care for a foster child this past weekend. His “sign” that He is pleased with me appears to be that He considers me “worthy” of being insulted for operating a non-profit ministry for youth and children that is non-apologetically Christian.
His idea of “blessing” and my idea “ain’t the same”. He knows me better than I know me——and He sees what’s ahead as well as the present moment in which I live. I know that He hears me because of the things that do happen, but the days that I think I cannot handle one more “assignment” or “teaching moment”, He gives me more than I think I could possible carry.
It seems likely that He has the “secret” agenda to make me “holy and set apart” for Him, regardless of my intentions to delay the transformation. He’s pushing me further and further away from where I think I should be and closer (I hope!) to a new spiritual plateau.
The truth is, if I were facing the challenges I am today thirty years ago, I do not think for a second I would still be a pastor or camp director! And if I were not surrounded by family and friends that encouraged me and offer words of kindness, I would have given up any attempt to progress in my Christian walk—-at least, that’s what I think based upon the young man I was then and how what I have come to understand now. The irony is that thirty years ago I was fairly sure that I had arrived to just about the highest level I could attain on this earth, in terms of knowing and loving God. God must have been smiling the whole time—-if not laughing.