Sometimes, God is asking us to stop.
This is probably even harder to grasp than the first point last week. If you think of “someone else” – someone much different than you, perhaps – being called to serve overseas, well, that’s obviously happened. You can imagine it, even encourage others towards it.
What happens when a missionary is called home again?
Well…unless they’re retiring after a lifetime of service, you’ll probably think they’ve failed. Failed God. Because they didn’t “finish what they started”.
Where does that idea come from?
Not Scripture. Paul had nothing but good things to say about the one who was called home “early” for health reasons. Even Paul himself didn’t stay in one place to minister, and often came “home” during his journeys to stay with people who loved him for a time before heading out again. His last journey involved being arrested and taken all over (including being shipwrecked)! And yet…it was God’s plan, and Paul accepted that.
In fact, the Bible is full of stories of those who thought they were on the right path (or even were) but were never meant to get to their “obvious” destination. Balaam comes to mind. So does Paul as Saul, and later when he was trying to get to some of the outer areas to do missions, yet was stymied at every turn. What about Philip, put on a road but never going anywhere from it?
God directs His intended.
He doesn’t let them wander about in the darkness, but gives them firm paths to where He wants them to be. Sometimes that involves visions, dreams or talking donkeys, but more likely things will just “work out that way”.
Do you have a calling? Of course you do. And at some point, you may be asked to give it up. Because although God may have put you on the road you are currently on, He has every right to take you off it as well. His timing, and His definition of success is all that matters when doing His work. Be careful to listen to God, even when you think you already know what He is saying.