Monday, November 2, 2015

Is God Calling You to Do a Hard Thing?



Today I ushered in the time change and earlier sunset by making one of our family's favorite fall/winter comfort dishes - Beef and Gnocchi.

The recipe lists the "prep time" at 20 minutes.  For me, I have to set aside double the prep time because of my inability to peel vegetables.  True story!  And so it went today...  I was attempting to peel an onion and was failing miserably.  Potatoes  - well lets just say they add a whole other dimension to the ridiculous amount of time I spend to peel just one.  I always tell my husband if I was promised a million dollars to peel a potato in a reasonable amount of time, all the incentive in the world wouldn't change the fact that I am inept at this skill...   I'm amazed when I see people effortlessly peel potatoes and wonder, why is it so hard for me?!  lol.

Do you ever feel like God is asking you to do a hard thing?  Do you quickly dismiss it out of hand thinking God must have the wrong person?

 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you.  You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.

Exodus 4:10-15

I have recently been guilty of wanting God to send somebody else.  My husband recently applied for a pastorate position, and I came up with every reason why I didn't think we were ready for such a calling.   And although some of those reasons are certainly valid, I was more convicted that I would have forgone those valid concerns and went for it if it wasn't for the fact that it would cause us to have to do hard things - moving from the house we have been in for almost 30 years to a home a half hour way, and starting a new life at age 55...

Coincidentally, my sweet sister in the Lord just did a very hard thing in answer to a call that the Lord had placed on her heart many, many years ago - a call to move from the East Coast to the midwest to establish a sanctuary where Pastors and Believers could come for a time of rest and refreshing, to gather together in prayer, in the Word and in nightly hymn singing.  The Lord even provided the name for this place of rest, Herrnhut, to be modeled after Ludwig von Zinzendorf's, Herrnhut.   

"Herrnhut was a busy and industrious place. Spinning, weaving, carpentry, pottery, farming and missionary training went on unceasingly. Each evening Zinzendorf selected a scripture to be the watchword for the next day. Often he wrote a hymn to accompany the word. Saturdays and Sundays were days of prayer and worship. Almost every day, each band met to exhort, reprove and pray for one another. Single women and single men lived in separate buildings. In a special home, the children of missionaries were cared for. Truly Herrnhut became a remarkable experiment in Christian community as well as a major catalyst for Protestant missions."   {Excerpt from Christianity.com}

My friend prayed earnestly and waited upon the Lord for years concerning this matter.  Then a couple of months ago, the Lord started to open doors, setting in motion this calling that He placed on her heart a long time ago.  A calling that required hard choices and heartache - uprooting her precious family with her husband and two small children, leaving her mother and sisters, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles, the only home she had ever known, moving halfway across the country, stepping out purely in faith and obedience to her Lord and Savior.  

As I watched my friend move away in the Lord's strength, her incredible testimony of obedience wrapped up in profound humility convicted me...  I was so easily dismissing a calling that could move me just a half hour away.  She was leaving family and friends to move halfway across the country - still with much uncertainty as she trusted and waited on God...

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God's Word helps to shed light on the hard things that the Lord asks us to do...

Abraham was asked to do an unthinkable hard thing - sacrifice his son Isaac!

Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you...

...When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 
Genesis 22:2,9

Why did the Lord ask Abraham to do such a thing??  

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”  He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
Genesis 22:11

The Lord tested Abraham's faith and he was found obedient.    

“By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,  I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,  and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Genesis 22:16-18

This wasn't the first hard thing Abraham was asked to do...   

Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives 
And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 
Genesis 12:1

The Lord had a specific purpose for Abraham.  He equipped him, and strengthened his faith through the first call...

The Lord, in His infinite wisdom and understanding has also set us apart for specific good works... 

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Good works which may come in the form of  hard callings...

If I were to think about the hard things I have felt the Lord calling me to do, I can see where the Lord has provided opportunities to exercise my wings, maybe not in an obvious way at the time, but in retrospect, certainly a precursor to the hard calling...  

In facing the possibility of the hard calling of moving a half hour away from the home I lived in for almost 30 years, and starting a new life as a Pastor's wife at 55, I can look back and see God's precursors...

At 23, newly married, my husband and I drove to our new home, four hours away from our families. I left the home I grew up in, my parents, and my baby brother who was only 12 at the time, watching them disappear in the rear view mirror...  I also left behind my 20-year-old brother, my nana and my grandparents...

Fast forward to many years later when I was a Pastor's wife for two years at a small country church. After that season, I served as a ladies Bible study facilitator, mentored young moms and spoke in front of women's groups.  

It would seem the Lord had been preparing me for this possible hard calling...  

Or,  through the memory of those experiences, He is strengthening my faith to willingly obey in the hard thing whether it comes to fruition or not...  Like God tested Abraham's willingness with the sacrifice of Isaac.

The next time God calls you to do a hard thing, ask the Holy Spirit to show you where He has already exercised your wings in that area - reminding you of His provision,  encouraging you to be obedient in what He has called you to do.

The Lord may also call us to do a hard thing without any remote experience in the area whatsoever.  

But His promises tell us...

His presence goes with us...

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
 Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

He equips us...

Now may the God of peace equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:21

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power.
2 Timothy 1:7

He provides for us...

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare
 and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

He has created us with specific gifts...

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
1 Peter 4:10

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them
Romans 12:6

The next time we are called to do a hard thing for the Lord, we must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding, and press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our Lord and Savior was called to do the hardest thing.  He was called to be scourged and crucified, to feel the full weight of the sins of the world upon Himself, to be separated from the Father and to die an agonizing death...

Yet  for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The joy that was set before Him is the same joy that will be ours!  Let this promised joy spur us on to obedience in the hard calling knowing that one day we will be in the presence of Almighty God and will hear...

  ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:23


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If you missed last week's daily features, you can check out the links below.  :-)



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday,Dance with Jesus,Looking Up Link-UpReflect His Love and Glory Friend Sharpens Friend Link-UpWords of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home FridaysSo Much At Home Link-Up, Faith 'N Friends

19 comments:

  1. Ah. It's not easy to do hard things. Moving to Arizona was hard for me, because I had gotten pretty comfortable in Montana. But when I look back on the move, I can clearly see how I needed to get out of my rut and to venture out and do hard things. God will always equip us for what he calls us to do!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. Indeed, there is something about "looking back" that we see how God had His perfectly planned blessings laid out all along as we come out the other side of the hard things.

      Indeed He does!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  2. OH, my! You can't imagine how much your words hit a nerve with me today! God often brings Abraham to my mind and how He had no precedent to look back to and see God's faithfulness. You and I have MANY to look back to and see that God was faithful in their lives, and we can also, as you said, look back upon His impeccable track record in our own lives. Abraham had to step out in total faith and obedience, and all He had to support him was a promise. How many times he must have wondered about things, but his faith staggered not, and he was obedient to God's command. Thank God for Abraham and the many who are now numbered in the great cloud of witnesses who cheer us on and let us know that to step out in faith is to live a life well-pleasing to God! In spite of all, we are abundantly blessed, and to sacrifice for Jesus, after all He has done for us, is truly our duty. May God give you courage and strength in this time of possible transition.

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    1. Cheryl, I never thought of it that way. You are absolutely right! Abraham didn't have the benefit that we do of looking back at all the Saints of the Bible, or looking forward to where we are now, modern day saints over the past centuries and our own lives testimonies. Abraham is such a model for us in trusting God no matter what He asks us to do. Thank you so much for sharing that insight!

      I appreciate your prayer for courage and strength.

      Blessings to you dear friend.

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  3. What a great post about doing the hard things God calls us to do! I can't really think of too many easy things He calls us to do!

    We are in ministry as well - my husband is an interim pastor. About every 7-8 months, we get to go to a whole new church.

    It's been incredibly rewarding, but it's been hard at times!

    Appreciate your encouragement today. I came over one Wise Woman.

    Blessings,
    Melanie

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    1. Melanie, Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

      I always tell my husband that I feel like a missionary. He currently has a ministry of pulpit fill and many summers we are going from church to church. Or sometimes we are waiting whether it be to an interim position or the ultimate call to a church.

      You are right, it is hard and rewarding. Thank you for sharing.

      I'm so glad you visited!

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  4. I love the encouragement (and the song at the top). The scriptures you provide speak so much truth. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Kelsie, Thank you so much for your kind words.

      I appreciated your visit so much! :-)

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  5. Thanks for sharing! Yes, God does ask us to do hard things so that we know we have to rely on him.

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    1. Kathleen, You are welcome. :-)

      Indeed! And He is always ready to help us, our ever present help.

      Thanks for sharing and for stopping by. :-)

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  6. We each struggle in a task that seems simple for someone else, don't we? Thankful when god calls us to do the hard things, He also equips us. We are not alone. Bless you. #livefreeThursday

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    1. Julie, Indeed we do. The Lord equipping us each to work together as one body.

      Thanks so much for sharing and for stopping by. :-)

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  7. It's lovely how God uses other people to speak to us - their personal trials, stories and testimonies. I have no doubt after reading this post that Our Lord will equip you for any challenges that come your way!

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    1. Carrie, I have found that so much since visiting link-ups. Just like sermons, devotions, Bible reading, He uses fellow believers to minister to us through their own personal stories.

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

      And thank you for stopping by. :-)

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  8. Kinda like when the angel told Mary, you're gonna have a son and she said how can this be? Kinda hard to have a baby and I've never been with a man. He's been asking for our natural abilities so he can add his supernatural to it for generations!

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    1. Lisa, You are absolutely right! Thank you for sharing.

      And thanks for visiting. :-)

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  9. Kinda like when the angel told Mary, you're gonna have a son and she said how can this be? Kinda hard to have a baby and I've never been with a man. He's been asking for our natural abilities so he can add his supernatural to it for generations!

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  10. I am always inspired by be risk takers who set convention aside and choose to step out in His grace to say yes. The yes is always the precondition to see God step in, because He is a gentleman ... he never forces His way in, He asks us. I love that He has shown you that there is so much yet for you to share with others as He is calling you to do. May you feel the power of His equipping and see the beauty of all your gifts through His vision. Sometimes, those things that make me feel like I am behind, inadequate, or whatever, are opportunities for me to be in His presence and relying on Him to finish.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Dawn, Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Indeed God uses even our weaknesses for His glory.

      Thank you for sharing your heart and for visiting today. 😊

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