“If you don’t do what God has told you to do, then He’ll find someone else to do it – you’ll have missed what He has for you”.
It’s one of the first things that I remember being told as a new Christian. It was the week of one of the many summer camps that young people in the UK disappear off to for a few days in the summer, and I’d spent the week jumping around a muddy campsite with all of my new friends around me. I came out of that week encouraged and inspired, and with some great new worship music on my IPod – and yet there was this weird feeling of guilt that came with that expression.
What is God calling me to do? I left the campsite thinking. Am I like that one speaker – am I supposed to go off to the other side of the world on a mission trip? Or do I need to apply to that youth work internship that caught my eye? Or, is this the time to get married and have kids?
I need to know what He wants me to do, and I need to get on and do it – otherwise, I’m not being faithful to God. I’m being lukewarm, and a bad Christian, and I’ll miss the calling that He has for me. And then where will I be? He’ll decide that I don’t do what He tells me to, and He’ll just leave me here because I can’t be trusted.
Please, please know, that that is not who our God is.
Here’s the thing: God is not a disappointed Father, who was really expecting you to do better. His hope for you isn’t hanging on the one opportunity that He has put in front of you. He doesn’t decide that you’re not trustworthy – ever – and he doesn’t leave you in that place.
He’s the God of grace. He’s the God of abundant goodness, and of fullness of life, and of adventure – He wants to be your partner and your friend. You’re not His employee, you’re His child; and you’re not His servant, but His friend.
If you don’t take the opportunity that God puts in front of you, it might be that somebody else comes in and takes up that story. But that isn’t the end of the story – in fact, that isn’t even something that could ever change the way that God looks at you. He might find somebody else to do the thing that He showed you; but He’ll also find something else for you to do. He’s not disappointed boss – He’s an excited Dad who is pumped that He’s got you on His team.
I was chatting this over with a friend the other day, and I love the way that he saw God in this; very different from the “you don’t want to miss what God has for you” view. Here’s how we saw God’s conversation with us going:
God: Hey, friend, hey! I’ve got this amazing idea, and I think you’d be incredible at it. Let me chat you through it:
Me: Aaaah, I can’t do that.. I’ve got this situation, and this job, and this boyfriend, and this insecurity… it’s just not something I can do right now God, sorry.
God: Ah, ok. I love you. I’m here. Let’s chat through that stuff.. how’s your heart kid?
God: Friend! Friend! I’ve got an awesome idea and you are going to love this. It’s right up your street! Plan B, here we go:
Me: Yes! Let’s do it, God! (Has a go, tries, gets some things wrong and things don’t work out the way I thought they would)
God: Right; that’s not quite what I meant. That was fun though, hey? What have we learnt?
((A bit later))
God; Hey, friend! I’ve got this plan, and I think you’d be the man. Want to have a go? Plan C – let’s do this?
Me: I think so. I’ll have a go, God – come with me?
((The place where gold happens))
Here are some things that I know to be true:
(And this is coming from someone who has been around that conversation with God a lot)
1 – Every day is an adventure with God – no matter how yesterday went. His mercies are new every morning and He keeps no record of wrongs – it means that He’s not huffing and puffing and putting us back to square one when we trip us – he’s holding our hand and smiling as we carry on walking with Him. That’s all there is to it.
2 – God is not serious all the time, and He is not disappointed all the time. I once heard someone say that if you do not see God laughing with you in your quiet time, you are missing a huge part of God’s character. God is fun – and he wants to be your best friend.
3 – You cannot miss your destiny, or ruin God’s plan for your life. It’s just not possible. He loves you too much, and He knows that you are too valuable for that. He’s never going to write you off – it’s just not who He is.
So if you are feeling like you’re floating at the moment – like you’ve walked away, or you’ve not taken the opportunity, or you’ve missed your chance, know this, friend: He has not given up on you yet. He has had a plan for your life, and He has a plan for your life, and He will have a plan for your life – He’s not put off when things don’t work out the first time around. Stick with Him, friend; He’s worth it.
“If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: YOU, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful” – Lisa Bevere