So, I recently spent a few days in a Middle Eastern nation working with Syrian Refugees. While there, I was able to share this ministry with some incredible young people. (19-25 yr olds) They were from Europe, USA, Africa, & the Middle East. They had given a year of their life to being discipled and trained in ministry, and for many, this was their “outreach” time working with the refugees.
While serving together, I talked with many of them and often the question I would ask was, “What’s next, When you’re home and your time on the field is done?” Many would say, “We don’t know? We are waiting, praying and asking God to show us.” Many said they were struggling because they saw the incredible needs in the world (especially as they ministered to refugees) and couldn’t imagine going back to school or just going home. They wanted to run as fast as they could to the nations and share Jesus with as many as possible, before His return.
When I was young I remember feeling this way. I saw the nations and all I could imagine was going into all the world. I didn’t want to finish college. That took too much time!— I had a global mission to complete! The evangelization of the world was THE PLAN and I couldn’t slow down or waste any precious time.
I’m thankful that God placed a wise person in my path who spoke a word that really changed by heart during this time. They said, “Why are you in a hurry to get to the end of God’s purpose over your life? Jesus took 30 years to prepare for 3 years for ministry. Maybe the plan for Jesus wasn’t ALL about His last 3 years, but maybe the process of His 30 prep years was just as important as His last 3 years.”
I realized in that moment I was trying to hurry the purpose of God, when before I was born He laid out a beautiful plan that entailed the years of preparation ( including me completing college) so I would be equipped to fulfill the ministry He was giving me. I couldn’t rush God’s plans.
You see, Joseph as a young boy was given an incredible dream. But the process to get to that dream was not what He would have chosen. Betrayed, Sold, Inprisoned, Forgotten … His process to Promotion probably felt like a big fat demotion. Through it all God was building humility and character in Joseph. Joseph was being equipped with tools that could not be acquired except through the process of suffering, waiting, time, and struggle. He learned dependence on God when He felt forsaken. Comfort from God when He felt forgotten. Freedom from God when he was inprisoned. He learned how to minister to those that were hungry, hurting, broken, lonely, and lost, first hand. He had learned to rely upon God in all those places, so when He became second in command of all of Egypt – He was ready to be God’s agent for the job.
What process does God have you in right now? What season of waiting, learning, or dying to self does He have you in – while preparing your character for the ministry ahead?
Let me encourage you. God wastes nothing. Your present suffering, shame, waiting or discomfort has a root in the purposes of God over your life. Let Him finish the beautiful story He is writing through your life. Don’t give up and don’t get in a rush to get there too fast. He blesses the faithful and renews the strength of the weary. You have yet to see the beautiful plan God has laid out for your life! Claim His promise today!
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11