What do you do when God calls you to something? Do you trust him? Are you obedient? Often when he calls us he does so to take us out of our comfort zone. Often it's beyond our own abilities. He does this to strengthen our faith and dependence on him. But what is our response?
This week I was sent an email which was giving me the opportunity to be involved in something short term. To follow through on this I needed to fill out a form online and press 'Send'. Initially I felt a wave of excitement. I'd been praying for God's direction and what he wanted me to do. Was this it? But then the fear set in. I can't put myself forward for this. I'm not equipped for this. I don't have the skills. I can't do it. It's too much for me. Others are better than me. Ever had those thoughts and feelings?
Yet, I sensed God wanted me to do this.
I receive a daily email from Bible Study Tools giving me their verse for the day. Whilst I read their email I was thinking about what I should do. The verse they quoted was Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)
The message seemed clear.
I have a Bible Promises App on my phone. It gives all kinds of promises for all kinds of situations. It also gives a verse for the day. "What if it's the same verse?" I thought to myself. "What are the chances of that? It doesn't usually happen. But what if? I wonder..." So I opened the app. Which verse hit me between the eyes? Yep, you guessed it! Isaiah 41:10.
O - K - God. You've got my attention!
So I made a decision. I would take a step of faith. I would fill out the form and keep praying to God for his will. This opportunity may or may not be what God wants for me. But what he does want for me is a willingness to step out in faith, to show obedience to him and ultimately to trust him. So I'm stepping out and whether the door opens or shuts, I have acted in faith. There's a great verse in Revelation which I hold on to whenever I'm praying about God's direction and will for my life: "This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close;
And after all, 'TRUST' is the word I've chosen for 2017 and my verse for the year is Proverbs 3:5-6. (See my first blog of the year.)
Even if nothing comes from the opportunity, the experience will not have been wasted. I will have exercised faith and will have a great promise verse to cling to.
Let's return to the verse quoted above from Isaiah. What is it God wants me to know? What does he want you to know? Let's break it down and see.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
1. Do not fear - now as I mentioned above I was fearful. What is it that is making you fearful? God knows me, inside out. He knows when I'm afraid and what causes my fear. Yet he tells me: Do not fear. What helps me to overcome my fear? Knowing the promise of his presence, "for I am with you".
2. Do not be dismayed - Merriam-Webster's definition of dismayed is this: "to cause to lose courage or resolution (as because of alarm or fear)". So God says to you and me that we are not to lose our courage or our resolution to do that which he has called us to do. We are not to give up. We are to persevere. Why? Because God says "I am your God." He says, "Not only am I with you, I am also for you. I am God of this situation and I am Sovereign."
3. I will strengthen you - what a promise for me and you to hold on to! I know my weaknesses and I know my limitations as a result of my migraines and M.E. I can depend on God in my weakness. I know I can do nothing on my own. But God promises you and me his strength when we do what he's asking of us. He promises to give us his supernatural strength. With him we are able to do more than we even imagined.
4. I will help you - oh, how I need his help. I need him to enable me. To equip me with his wisdom, his knowledge, his insight, his love, his grace etc. I need his help and I'm not too proud to ask for it. I need his help if I'm to do anything for him. And when I accept his help, he is glorified.
5. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand - this is a gesture of love towards us on God's part. When He holds me by his hand he gives me the confidence and assurance I need to walk his path. Not only does he hold my hand, he is also holding me up. He is supporting me, encouraging me when I feel like giving up, lifting me up when I am discouraged.
To Think About:
What are your thoughts and feelings when God asks you to do something that seems beyond you and takes you outside of your comfort zone?
What comfort or help do you find in Isaiah 41:10? There is so much God wants to say to you in that one verse, more than I've just shared. Will you listen to him?
Are you praying for God to open a door which he himself has shut? Or has he opened a door and is asking you to walk through it? Will you accept and trust that he knows best?
P.S. After I had finished drafting this blog post I received an email in response to the form I had filled in. It was an email welcoming me to the Word Writers Team. "The Word Writers Team is a group of women who love God’s Word and love to share His Word with others in both online and offline places. The members of this team are ambassadors for Word Writers, specifically for the newest study on the book of James."
I'm excited about being a part of the Word Writers team for the upcoming study on James! I'd love to have you join me. http://wordwriters.us/james/