The Day God Shocked Me When He Showed Me Where to Find His Will

by Andy Wood on July 27, 2009

in Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Turning Points

dream“Then I told them about the desire God had put into my heart.”

-Nehemiah 2:18

Today it seems little.  Important, yes, but H-O scale.  But on that day, it was larger than life – even larger than health.  And a lesson awaited that was life-changing.

From the time I was 15 years old, I knew that God was leading me to be a pastor.  I also knew there would be a pathway to get there, and five years later, I was still on that pathway.  I was about the graduate from college.  For a year I’d had the privilege of serving at my very first church, full-time in the summer, and on the weekends during school.  The people there were gracious and really patient.  It had been a wonderful experience.  Now, as I was about to graduate from college, both the church and I were preparing to move on.

Because I was a July graduate, and had blown through college in three years, I decided to lay out a year before going to graduate school.  When the church caught wind of it, they were delighted to meet with me on a Sunday night and offer me a full-time position.  They offered me more than twice what I had ever made in a year (if I told you how much it was, you’d laugh).  I said it sounded good; just let me take the week and pray about it, and I’d let them know the next Sunday.  I left town that night assuming that the next year of my life was set.

Just one slight problem.  That transition from part-time to full-time?  It involved doing something I had never done before.  It would also occupy a large (and in my mind, larger and larger) amount of time doing something I wasn’t good at and didn’t enjoy.  That Sunday night, as I drove home, I was impressed by the offer.  By daylight Tuesday, I was scared of the job.

I don’t mean, “nervous.”

I was horrified.

Loathing.

Torn, in a way I had never experienced before.

You have to understand, I was the St. Elmo’s Fire guy, before the movie or song ever hit the scene.  I could see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky, and all that.  I was 20 years old and owned my future.

Until somebody offered me one that confused me.

In the wee hours of that Tuesday morning, for the only time I can remember, I dreamed in dread.  Loathsome agony.  All about this simple offer of a ministry position.  And here was the rub:  I couldn’t just say no.  I had the calling of God to deal with.  Mentally, I was in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus, and I’m quite sure about to sweat blood as I tossed and turned and languished and prayed, “not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Sitting at the breakfast table, after the sunrise had given me a reprieve, I starting hashing this whole thing out with my mother.  I know I’m making it sound like a big deal, but it took me all of five minutes to explain the dilemma.  They want me to do this, and I really don’t want to do it.  But my job isn’t to do my will, but to do God’s will.

Then she said what’s probably the most profound thing I’ve ever heard her say:

“Did it ever occur to you that God may speaking to you through your desires”?

He can do that?

You mean, my will and God’s will aren’t always at war?

You mean, I have to go back and completely rethink everything I understood about discipleship and obedience and callings and faith?

“I’ll resign this weekend,” I said.  As soon as I said that, I went from traumatic turmoil to peaceful resolve.

In his book The Journey of Desire, John Eldridge says:

“Christianity has nothing to say to the person who is completely happy with the way things are.  Its messages for those who hunger and thirst – for those who desire life as it was meant to be.  Why does Jesus appeal to desire?  Because it is essential to his goal: bringing us life.”

That experience changed my future.  More importantly, it changed my faith.  I have since learned that yes, God does often speak to you through your desires.

What do you want?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mattie July 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm

I guess the question for me is always this: are my desires lined up with what He wants for me? I know my heart, and many times, the two don’t quite ji-ha. But great point, Andy. He does say He will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him, right? I look forward to hearing more of this!
.-= Mattie´s last blog ..Turning Back to Praise =-.

Andy Wood July 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Matt,

Yes, the key is to set our hearts toward God, then trust that He leads us toward the very hearts that are set on Him. Do we miss it sometimes? Of course. But no more than we miss it by assuming that if we want it, then God must be against it.

Mattie July 27, 2009 at 10:17 pm

“But no more than we miss it by assuming that if we want it, then God must be against it.”

Oh, how often have I made that mistake!!! We err on both sides, right? Like a pendulum, we swing from one side to the other.
.-= Mattie´s last blog ..Repentance =-.

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