Friday, May 8, 2009

Mightily used, mightily abused?

Mightily used, mightily abused?

Every now and again, we have the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and do something really useful. Maybe it’s something at church; helping out in the nursery or food pantry, playing or singing on a worship team, ministering to someone who today just really needs to hear how much God loves them. Maybe it’s something in our every day lives; helping rake leaves or mow the yard of an elderly widow, offering our personal gifts for free to someone who needs help but can’t afford the services otherwise, being brutally honest with a friend when they may not want to hear it – but really need it.

I’ve found that it’s in these times; when we are most effectively being used of God to the advancement of the Kingdom and for the betterment of others, when we are most challenged, tested and attacked by the enemy. Maybe the kids are being particularly trying, maybe it’s your relationship with your spouse or a close friend, maybe finances are in question or your car breaks down. Somehow, something dreadful happens to really remove you from that place of being useful.

Don’t believe for one second that these are coincidences. I believe that when there is a calling on our lives, and we step out and try to do some good in this world, that’s when the enemy notices us and desires to challenge us and render us ineffective for the Kingdom. I’ve especially noticed this in the lives of people who I suspect have what we would consider “big” callings on their lives; the future pastors, worship leaders, missionaries, etc.. It’s as if the enemy also notices the calling on their lives and determines to take them out before they can walk in their calling.

This has been true in my own life as well. Those of you who know me on a personal level know the series of valleys and deeper valleys my life has been over the years, and I believe that there is a purpose in it. The enemy has long seemed to see a large bull’s-eye on my chest, and in the midst of the times that should be my greatest joy have been when my greatest challenges have presented themselves.

So what are we to do with this information? Should we just lay low and keep our heads down so as to not become another victim of these attacks? I don’t believe so. I believe that we are to continue to persevere in the midst of challenges and strife, and that our response to these problems in our lives is part of our testimony. What is easier, to worship God when we’re making six figure salaries and have what the world would call a “great life”, or worship Him when we’re living in a homeless shelter, nothing but an uncertain future ahead of us?

If we truly believe, we have the answers the world is seeking and we know the truth and should not despair in times of trouble. God is still God and He is still on the throne and in control. It is in how we respond to trouble that the world sees what we are truly made of. It is when we do not falter or stumble through we walk through darkness that the world takes notice and begins to desire whatever it is that gives us this hope.

So, the next time you feel like sticking your neck out and doing something that could be really effective, don’t hesitate in fear of some kind of retribution…If it comes, your response to it could be a testimony that will be more effective that what it was you were doing when the trouble came. But also remember that God loves you and is in control, no matter what. Yeah, no matter what. So let’s live our lives like we believe that!