Thursday, April 10, 2014

When God’s Call Turns into—Closed Doors?

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” –Psalm 37:4

It is so hard to wait while we’re in the midst of waiting. But how sweet the prize at the end that we soon forget our suffering!

My husband and I are about to take the next step in our careers. We are receiving such confirmation from the Holy Spirit and our community of friends and family that this next step is the one to take. We are preparing to serve in another country on an international church planting team.

We never saw this coming. When we answered God’s call to attend seminary and prepare for full-time ministry, we figured we’d end up as local church pastors in small town America. Okay, maybe large town America! I remember reading book after book about church planting in seminary, thinking – wow, what an awesome ministry for those who are called to it. I could never do that…

Then we graduated. We hit the ground running, interviewing for all kinds of ministry positions from the local church to college ministry to chaplaincy. With each attempt, another door would close and we’d become even more discouraged. It wasn’t long before we were jaded by the job search process. Was it the economy? Was it us? Scariest of all, were we just not called to this after all?

Our tears were our prayers as we processed each disappointment. We felt that we were somehow failing at our call. But God reminded us to take delight in HIM first, not in our skill set, not in our network, and not in our calling as pastors.

We stopped trying to control the outcome and make something come together. We realized we had grown up in an environment that says if we take all the right steps, succeed at school, make good choices, our “dream job” was attainable. We’ve come to see that as an empty promise of our secular, ego-driven culture. And we watched in awe as God gave us new dreams altogether.

Through this process, we are being refined as gold is refined. We are being sanctified so we can be used for his purposes. While 3 years of waiting for a job seems like an eternity to us, it is nothing to the God of eternity. He is far more concerned with quality than quantity. He purifies our desires and shapes us in the fire. Without the intense heat of the fire, gold is not shapeable. Neither are we.

In our time of waiting, we are learning how to be with Him; to be together as husband and wife in Him. We are learning to find good nourishment in Him so we can offer the well of living water to others. As we wait for the unmet desires of our hearts, we trust in the Lord who placed those desires in our hearts to begin with.

When this wait is finally over, we will rejoice! But then the old desires will undoubtedly be replaced with new, more complicated struggles. God has proven, time and time again, that he can be trusted to answer every prayer in time and meet each unmet desire with His tender love.

Author- Stephanie Voland 

Stephanie lives with her husband, Phillip, and two beautiful daughters, Gabrielle (5) and Charlotte (1). She has her Masters of Divinity from Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. She is discerning a call to short-term missions in Europe with the Evangelical Covenant Church. She loves to preach, write, spend time with family and friends, and laughs a LOT. She thanks her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the precious gift of life in Him and the ability to share that gift with others.

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