Shortly after I had begun my first full-time ministry position, I became very discouraged. I did not feel like I was particularly suited for the ministry I was serving. Even more importantly, the church where I was serving was a very difficult place to minister, and I knew a change had to occur. I could not continue in that church.
I distinctly remember going to my in-laws’ home for a weekend to pray and seek God’s direction in the matter, and by the end of my visit I determined that I would resign the next day. I made up my mind to leave without a place to go, thus ending my time in vocational ministry…unless God did something!
I had prayed that God’s will be done. I prayed fervently. I cried. I desperately pleaded with God to do something. In other words, I REALLY prayed! I sensed that God was giving me the freedom to resign…unless He stepped in to intervene. So, I left my in-laws’ home, and arrived back at our duplex that Saturday night. I listened to the answering machine…there was nothing. Then, I went to the mailbox, and opened a letter from a church that was considering me to serve as their pastor. I knew this was God telling me that I wasn’t done in ministry…so I chose not to resign the following day.
To make a long story short, I went on to accept the pastor position at the church that sent me the letter. And in an even more dramatic fashion, I later learned that I was not supposed to have received that letter that day. I was inadvertently sent the letter. However, God knew that I needed that letter…and that I needed it that very day. So, in summary, God used a person on a pastor search committee to accidentally send me a letter that just happened to arrive the very same day before I was about to resign. And that was the church I would serve as the lead pastor. Only God could do that!
Do you have any moments in your life when you know that God answered your prayer? When you had no doubt that God showed up. A few weeks ago, I asked that very question to the entire staff at Swift Creek. I asked them to list the 3-5 times when God answered their prayers. It was really amazing to see how God had answered in some incredible ways. Perhaps you have forgotten how God has answered your prayers in your past. Perhaps you doubt that God will do anything in your current situation.
Let me encourage you to take some time to list the answers to prayer that God has granted you. Remember those. Be grateful for God’s moving in your life. And don’t ever forget that the same God who moved in your past can, and will, move in your present and future!