Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

Recently, I had the awesome privilege to be considered as pastor to an awesome group of people.  After the first meeting (which lasted over 4 hours), my wife and I left there feeling that God was opening the door for a tremendous ministry opportunity. For nearly six weeks, we (both the church and us) got to know each other.  They were able to examine us and, likewise, we were able to examine them.  During this time, they were able to really share their hearts about what they felt they needed as the body of Christ.  After much prayer, I really felt that I had a great deal to offer and was very excited about what God was doing. 

To ensure that I was in the perfect will of God, I threw out my fleece and told the church that I felt that if this truly was God’s will, I would need at least a ninety percent vote outcome.  Sure enough, the day of the “trial sermon” came and the church voted.  While they were voting, my wife and I went to the prayer room where we prayed and waited.  They came and got us, brought us to the sanctuary and informed us that we had received ninety-nine percent of the vote.  That definitely had to be God’s will – right?

My wife and I left the service that morning and went to our vehicle to leave.  I sat there for a minute and then looked at my wife and said, “I know this is going to sound crazy, especially after we have been through so much to get here, but I feel like God just shut the door.”  Shockingly, Kim looked at me and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I felt God tell me the same thing when we were in the prayer room.”

Not wanting to be hasty, I decided to really pray about this before sharing with the church.  As my pastor has been fully supportive of us through this process, I called my pastor the next evening and told him I was not sure why, but I felt that God has shut the door and I was going to decline the pastor position.  We meet for dinner that night and my pastor brought this beautiful poem to us:

To Joe and Kim

Your heart was hungering for me

To walk within your call.

You’ve shown me where your passion lies

To sacrifice your all.

A door was set before you,

How easy to accept.

It happened just to be a test

Integrity you’ve kept.

My voice you heard within you

A fleece was never needed,

For when I tugged upon your heart

My voice you humbly heeded.

A greater door will come your way

When patience is rewarded.

Your heart to do tour Fathers will

Has Satan’s bidding thwarted.

You’ve brought a smile to Jesus’ face

You’ve conquered evil’s testing.

Now prepare yourself to enter in

Unto the Father’s blessing.

The next day, I meet with the leadership and pastor search committee to inform them that I could not accept the position.  That was extremely difficult and emotional.  We had grown to love these people in a very short amount of time, yet God said NO.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been asking God to help me understand this.  I don’t know if it is just me, but sometimes, I sure wish He would just give me an audible answer.  Since that hasn’t happened yet, all I can do is trust His Word.  So, what do you do when God says no?

Proverbs 3:5 and 6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”

I’ve heard it said that “faith is trusting in God enough to do what He says no matter how we feel or how certain we are of how things will turn out.” With that thought in mind, God has given me peace in these two simple thoughts:

I.  He is working “all things” (all the good things, all the bad things, all the things I can understand, all the things I don’t understand, all the things I can explain, and all the things I cannot explain), for our good and for His glory(Romans 8:28). We don’t have to understand God’s answers to know that they were motivated by His love for us.

II.  He will give me the grace to handle His answer.  Paul said in II Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Father, if I am being honest with You, I have to say I don’t understand this. But, I do trust in You. I trust Father that You have a place espied for me, a place where you can best use my talents and abilities for the Kingdom work. And Father I pray and trust that you send the right pastor to the friends that we have grown to love. Help us to trust You with all our hearts and to not lean on our own understanding. As we put you first, Father direct our next steps, in Jesus name. Amen.

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