And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.
Romans 8: 17 (NLT)
Have you ever felt that small tug at your heart from God? You might brush it aside and chalk it up to just a stray thought. But, it just doesn’t go away. It continues to grow.
A couple of years ago God was calling me out of my comfort zone. He was calling me to be our local youth group leader. Wow, this was going to be a stretch for me. I hate to admit it, but I resisted. Strongly!
“God, there has to be someone better for the job,” I said. “I’m not at all equipped for this kind of ministry.” Besides there was already someone in that role at our church. Why was I feeling such a strong pull when from what I could see, there wasn’t a need?
But when God sends us to do His work, He’s already got a plan. He is equipping us in the “off season” to prepare us for the season of work ahead. I wrestled with God over this issue for some time and finally just said, “Okay, I don’t see it at all, but I will trust you and go where you send me.”
It was only a few short months after that when the youth group leader had a shift in her own life and our church was in need of someone to step up. I was still scared and didn’t feel equipped, but God had been preparing my heart and the circumstances.
Also, God in his perfect timing, sent a new gal into our community to help with youth leadership. She has truly been a God send and our youth group is not only still alive, it’s flourishing. We are watching the youth of our community come alive for Christ. I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination in making the choice to go where God sends!
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sister, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)
I’m amazed how perfectly God orchestrates everyday circumstances for our own good. It’s very clear how well he sees the big picture and guides us into truth in ways we can each understand. God used a recent experience for me to really bring home a message I needed to hear.
I train Border Collie dogs to work livestock. It’s a dance of pressure and release. They need to apply the right amount of pressure to livestock to get the desired response from them. They also need to release pressure at the right moment. The same goes for me in training the dogs.
I went to a small sheep dog trial (competition) awhile back. I had been dealing with some strife and conflict in my own personal life right around that time. I kept replaying the conflict over and over again my head. I was explaining to God how he needed to fix this problem. I had many conversations with myself on what I could say to fix this whole situation if given half a chance! To be perfectly honest, I wanted to fix this problem with my fists.
Jess is my little female dog that is a firecracker! She had always come out fighting (gripping) when she felt pressure. So at this trial when she was feeling pressure from the sheep challenging her, she immediately went to her default of hanging and dragging on sheep. Because I wasn’t disqualified with her right then, which was a first, she had to work through the pressure. She had no choice but to start dealing with it. No cop out this time. She learned to settle in and find other ways to cope and deal with pressure. It was hard for her but she progressed!
Rock, my older male, on the other hand came out and handled some extremely tough sheep with calm power. They weren’t pushing him around but he wasn’t lashing out from the pressure either. He handled them calmly and with respect. The sheep tried to split up as to divide and conquer. They weren’t going to get away with anything but to be completely victorious in the situation he needed my help!
God revealed to me that my default reaction is just like Jess. When I feel pressured or especially if I feel like someone is hurting one of my “own” I want to lash out and get physical. It’s honestly a cop out as I don’t have to deal with the hard stuff that way. The emotions and discussions that come with the dealing with conflict.
God wants me to react with the calm power that He has given me. He is right there with me! I can’t do it on my own. But I CAN do it with HIM beside me and IN me! Stand firm!! That is the practical side of all of this. That IN HIM I can do all things. It might not be easy but it’s possible.
I don’t have to settle or back down from the attacks of the enemy. But, I don’t have to lash out and give the enemy any foothold into my life or my relationships. These people that I think I’m protecting, God is already protecting! I’m putting my faith, trust and hope in God to handle the situation!
Father God, help me to trust you in pressure filled situations. You are the God who raises the dead! Surely You alone can handle these pressured areas of our lives. I trust YOU to handle these situations and give me the words, if any, to say at Your perfect time. Help me to trust You and to not take it back into my own hands. Thank you Lord! In Jesus name, Amen!