When I went to college, I decided that I wanted to change a few things about my life. Namely, my spiritual devotion and connection. I wanted to set aside the things of the past and move forward. I began to read my Bible and pray more often that I had. As I did, I began to have a growing sense of what God wanted me to do, but it was not in y 10 year plan, so I shoved it down. I continued moving in the direction that I felt would be most beneficial to me and rationalized to God that it would work for Him too. However, I could not find release from a different opinion from God.
Humanity, I believe has always wanted to raise the next generation to do more, have more, and be more than what they now are. My folks wanted the best for me. They raise me to be independent. They encouraged me to lift my eyes to greater opportunities. I do the same with my kids. Who doesn’t?
So, when we have in mind what we want to pursue in life, how do we handle it when God has a different plan? The unsettling nature of God’s call on your life is there to remind us that God has a bigger plan. Even the Father has a plan for you to do more, have more, and be more. Take a peek into the life of Nehemiah and then we will discuss more.
Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
Obviously Nehemiah was shaken up. He had received bad news and was now feeling that God wanted him to get involved. How can we know when God is wanting us to get involved?
The Right Place
It is easy to self-evaluate poorly. Who am I? What can I do? Why should I get involved? Isn’t there anyone else? The reality is that many of you are in the right place from which God can springboard you. I wanted to be at a different university, but found myself at the right place for God to work. I was being nurtured in a way that God knew I needed. The place in which you find yourself might be just the right place from which to start from God’s perspective.
The Right Position
Nehemiah was striving to be a man of God. He worshipped and developed a relationship with God. While you can be in the right place, we must also put ourselves in the right position. When I felt the unsettling move of God for me to change my life’s course, I had a choice. I could have moved away from God or I could have move closer to Him. More often than not, people tend to move away from discomfort. When God is simply trying to get our attention, we blame Him for not having enough happiness in life! Put yourself in the right position.
The Right Pain
Nehemiah was filled with anguish over the news. He was terrified of what God wanted him to do and what it would demand. I sat in Organic Chemistry, the area of study I so wanted to do in life and found myself hating it. I found myself struggling to make sense of it. I found myself with a lack of focus and attention. God can use many ways to get our attention. Moses had a burning bush. Abraham has visitors. We tend to have emotion. It might be indigestion. It might be the flu. It could be depression. It could also be God trying to get your attention because He has something bigger and better for you. The crisis you find yourself in might be your own doing. It could also be God’s way of grabbing you so that you are ready for a change.
The Right Plan
Nehemiah went to the King and shared what he felt God wanted. He was prepared for whatever would come. Though terrified, he knew it was the right plan. He did what was necessary in order to follow God. There is a plan for your life also. When God comes calling it could be for anything. Right now in your life there may be an unsettling disturbance. Maybe you feel out of sorts and confused about tomorrow. Maybe you just feel lost and without cause or purpose. Any of these feelings could be God’s way of revealing to you a plan.
For me, it was a vocational decision. For you, it could be anything! God is at work and wants us to join Him in that work. Your part might be vocational, or financial, or volunteerism. The point is that we will not find our highest joy until we line up and follow God.