I know of a man who passionately desires to be a pastor. He’s worked in youth ministry, camp ministry, and even alongside pastors in the church. He’s well-regarded by those with whom he interacts, having willingly volunteered his time while faithfully loving his wife and children. And yet, he’s been unable to find the right place to serve fulltime. Several churches “nearly” called on him. But he’s yet to receive a ministry role in any official capacity.
In such circumstances, it can be hard to accept God’s assignment for our lives. We have our ideas about how our vocations should proceed. And we have good desires—we want to use our gifts and serve Christ to the best of our abilities (see 1 Corinthians 12). But then something happens to prevent us from using our gifts in the way we believe God wants us to use them, in ways that seem perfect to us. Such experiences can be both discouraging and disorienting.
In Mark 5:1-20, we read the story of a man healed from demon possession—a man perhaps confused by the assignment Jesus gave him. After Jesus healed him, he “begged” to go with the Savior and follow Him (Mark 5:18). But Jesus told him, “No” (Mark 5:19).
I imagine that, initially, the man must have been disappointed. But Jesus thought it best that he return to his family to tell them how merciful God had been and how much He had done for him.
For us as well, it can be hard to surrender our ministry assignments to God, to wholeheartedly say, “I want your will to be done” (Luke 22:42). During those times, it helps to lean on Him and other believers in Jesus to remind us that God is indeed good and that He’s using us for His kingdom right where we are.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 12:1-11
Reflect on Acts 16:6-10 to see how even the apostle Paul and his co-ministers were prevented from serving where they intended to go.
How do you deal with the discouragement and disorientation that result when your idea of how you are to serve God falls through? How do you encourage other believers who are facing similar discouragements?