Many years ago, a small group of determined people and I stepped out in faith by developing a new ministry at our church. It was demanding work and we were unsure of whether it would be successful. Still, we knew that God had called us together for this purpose, so we poured our hearts into getting it up and running. God was faithful and prospered the ministry far beyond our hopes and expectations. Over the years, I've watched the people from that original group leave one by one. They moved out of the area or answered another call in their lives. New people came into the leadership of that ministry and it continues to grow and be shaped by their gifts, dedication, and vision for the ministry.
For many months now, I've been struggling with God's call to leave the leadership of this ministry. I've been stubbornly telling God that they need me and that I need it. Like a child who whines and cries when her mother tells her it's time to leave, I put up a fight. When I demanded that God tell me why, he, like parents so often do, told me "because I said so." That was it. No explanation. No itinerary. No reason other than "because I said so." Apparently, I still hate hearing that.
God was patient. He allowed me my temper tantrum. He waited for me to obey and follow his leading and I finally gave in. I stopped talking back. I gave up trying to enforce what I wanted and started listening to him tell me what I needed. I repented and obeyed his leading to resign from the ministry leadership with no excuse, no explanation other than "God said so." It was hard. Almost immediately after my resignation, something else presented itself. I've been in diligent prayer to discern a sense of call to this possible new service opportunity.
It's almost as if I had been in a dark place of disobedience while God was shining a bright light on my next step. While unable to discern what was in that light, I was able to see where to step. Having finally taken that step of obedience into the light, my eyes have begun to adapt to its brilliance and I am starting to make out the shapes of the things around me. I'm humbled by his patience, his forgiveness, and his love and I'm exited to see what he has in store for me.
So what have I learned from this experience? God's patience will outlast my tantrums every time, so maybe I should stop fighting him and just follow him. I've learned that he is my heavenly Father. He doesn't have to give me a reason and I should stop asking for one. Most importantly, I've learned that when I follow God's leading, I find myself where I wanted to be in the first place - with him! It doesn't really matter where his will takes me as long as I am with him on the journey.
About the pictures:
North Park (August 2009)