Have you ever sat in church and felt like your pastor, priest, or minister is speaking directly to you? Or actually that God is screaming at the top of His lungs at you through your pastor, priest, or minister? And instantly a gut-wrenching conviction bombards your soul. Unfortunately, I know this feeling all too well. Selfishly I so wish I could sit through just one message and think, “I am so on top of this, God. I’ve already got this one covered.” But somehow I doubt I will ever get there.
Last Sunday at Cross Point, Pete encouraged us to take a moment and ask God if there was something, anything, He was asking us to do that we were neglecting. Painful question, right? Because of course, several things came to mind. Several things that I knew God was calling me to take care of and I was avoiding. Or maybe I wasn’t completely avoiding them, but I wasn’t quite doing them either. Several things God was asking me to change, but candidly I was still trying to negotiate the deal with God (But I guess that is not really how it works?)
Earlier this year, I read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, the President of WorldVision. In the opening chapters of the book, Stearns shares about how he was pushed, prodded, shoved by God into his position at WorldVision. As the CEO of an established Fortune 500 company Lenox, Inc., Stearns was not ready to give up his comfortable career. Stearns was not ready to consider an extraordinary opportunity until one day when a recruiter asked him, “Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?” Stearns describes the question as “painful” “rude” and “uncomfortable” but it did the trick. It got him to reconsider what God was really after in his life.
And so a few weeks later, Stearns took a leap of faith, obeyed God at all costs, and began leading one of the world’s largest Christian humanitarian organizations. His life work is now devoted to helping children, families, and their communities reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Reading Stearns’ inspiring story, it was so obvious to me what he should do. Of course, he should take the leap of faith, quit his job, uproot his family, and obey God’s will.
But somehow in my own story, I create confusion where there should be clarity. Like a small child pitifully trying to distract a parent from the imminent bedtime, I waste time and energy fighting God’s plan. And I know it is useless, it is wrong, and it is completely unsatisfying. And I know that neglecting His will is never the right choice.
So today, I am thankful for the painful yet convicting questions. Because I’ve found that they are one of the few things that help guide me back to where I want to be. Obeying God.
Have you been asked any convicting questions lately?
By the way – I highly recommend The Hole in Our Gospel. It is filled with convicting questions, some that I have answered and some that I am still grappling with.