Is God Stirring Your Heart?

15 06 2020

I have had a few conversations with people who have not experienced very much frustration with the shelter-in-place restrictions. Introverts rather love it. But there is another group that have adapted well — those who had already chosen a lifestyle of simplicity, family together, sacrifice, and so forth.

Is that you?

A question arose in me for the first time:

>>>Just as a sacrificial lifestyle has prepared many for pandemic restrictions, is God using those same restrictions to prepare believers for a more sacrificial lifestyle?

As always,

  • Satan intends to spread evil.
  • The fallen condition of humanity has brought discrimination and violence.
  • Disease has threatened with sickness and death.
  • But God is on the move to take these evils and turn them into good.

>>Could it be that one of those good outcomes is the stirring of hearts for more devoted service for our King?

Is this a time to make a significant change of direction? Is God tapping you on the shoulder to invest the rest of your life in His Kingdom venture?

This has happened to me twice.

As a 19-year-old student at Biola University, my career ambition was to be an architect. But God confronted me with the challenge to let my calling as a disciple change my occupational goal. So I altered my direction and majored in Bible and went on to Dallas Seminary.

Later when I was 36, I was pastoring a wonderful church in Arcadia, California. I loved the people and, believe it or not, they loved me and my family. But that tap on the shoulder came again. I knew that 100 pastors would love to assume my role as senior pastor of a growing and unified church. But I was challenged by a missionary friend with the fact that few were willing to go to Africa. So we began to pray and over a few months’ time, we were not only willing to go, we felt we would have missed a grand adventure of faith if we didn’t. So off to Kenya for ten years we went.

“For such a time as this”

You may be in precisely the place God wants you to be and stay. You are already “on mission” right where you are. If that’s the case, stay put and stick with it.

Or you may be out of work and struggling to make ends meet. You may be fighting a health battle that has come your way, and that is your full-time assignment. You may be happy to have a job, any job, and it is taking everything you have. Your mission is to be faithful and content right where you are.

But I suspect that this email is going to land in the inbox of someone who is feeling God’s tap on the shoulder.

You have a good example to follow.

A beautiful Israeli woman named Esther found herself in Persia during a time of global upheaval. Her people were subjugated, yet she was selected as queen of Persia. Through a series of conniving events, a genocide of all Jews was ordered. Only the king could rescind the decree, and only Queen Esther could possibly change her husband’s mind. Esther’s uncle asked her to go uninvited before the king, even though it meant her very life was at risk.

In summoning Esther to this highest of callings, her uncle said,

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14b).

Esther’s willingness to see herself as a part of God’s greater plan gave her courage to make a life-altering decision. She went to the king, and God brought deliverance to her people and judgment on wicked perpetrators.

Just as I wrote earlier that we are in an “evil day,” I also believe we are in a day of opportunity. And it is urgent. I cannot tell you how many people have told me they wish they had heeded a call they had from God earlier in life. But they held back and failed to listen, share, and pursue. And other concerns swallowed up their calling.

So I ask you to consider:
>>Is there anyone else who could do your job?
>>What is the more difficult work that few are willing to tackle?
>>If you don’t take the challenge now, when will you?

>>And if you put it off much longer, will you look back on your life and wonder what might have been?

Average people want to return to what was. Extraordinary people want to see what could be.

Sometimes courage shows up in helping others see their place in history, like Mordecai did for Esther. Parents and grandparents are one of the biggest obstacles to young families fulfilling their bold callings. Your greatest sacrifice may be to give permission and blessing. To mentor, pray, give, and release. It’s not too late. Ten affirming words from you could unlock a young dream.

I have not specified kinds of ministry in this reflection. A missional lifestyle is possible and needed on the street where you live and on the continent far away. That’s why we need prayer and godly counsel to gain clarity. That’s why we pay attention to God-given burdens and passions. That’s why we heed the “advice” of physical health, family needs, experiences and competencies. That’s why we heed the signs of our times, and notice new stirrings.

Who knows whether you are reading this today, for such a time as this.


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