You feel a huge tug to do something big for the world. The dream is detailed and intricate. A simple thought of this vision makes your mind race and your heart on fire. But you feel overwhelmed, under-qualified, and unsupported. There is no money to go on that mission trip to Africa or to fund your adoption. You have NOT ONE resource to develop the non-profit you dream of starting or a trace of support to back your business endeavor.
Oh that didn’t stop you? You kept trying? GO YOU, that’s awesome!!!!!
Horrible things start happening in your life. And I mean REALLY horrible…
The “love of your life” leaves, you fail classes, get rejected by your dream program/mission agency/job. Oh now there are car wrecks, you live through multiple losses (even tragic murders), you lose custody of your child, your country denies your international adoption, your parent is re-diagnosed cancer, you face government push-back, visa/work permit blocks, slander of malicious naysayers, you lose support of your closest friends even some family, and finally, your respected religious/community leaders doubt the legitimacy of your call and advise that you quickly change direction. After all, look at all these closed doors—these “signs from God”.
So within reason, you’ve taken a step back. But in all the disappointment and all the heart ache—you still think “God, I thought this was from you?!”
****cue my entrance****
WAITTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU, yes YOUUUU. I need you to know something. And I need you to REALLY know it. Those signs?? They aren’t from God. Well I know FOR SURE mine weren’t. Yes, I had all of them. E V E R Y S T I N K I N ‘ L A S T O N E O F T H E M!!!!!! And oh friend, I won’t minimize them. If my scars were visible, there would be not one detectable feature on my body.
But why am I telling you this? Why on earth do I care? Or better yet, how after all these trials do I have a trace of soul left to defend anyone else’s livelihood?
Because, oh friend—Jesus is still faithful. Those dark places you think you’ll never survive—I’ve endured them. And let me tell you, while I could hardly choose to relive any of them (even now), the presence of God in those places?? THAT intimacy is like nothing I have ever experienced in the “safe” and “happy” times. It is the embrace and security you can only learn in that depth of loss and darkness.
Oh and most of all? I’ve stood on stages, spoken on multiple media platforms, and even just days ago gave a version of my testimony that went exactly like this…
“At age 20 I dreamed of this beautiful calling for the first time, by age 24 I held the medical degree I needed and the title deed to a 5 story hospital in Africa. By 25, that hospital was filled to capacity with critically ill orphans and a staff of 60 amazing professionals who are changing their lives forever.” I’ve even thrown in an occasional miracle of finally legally having my daughter, her miraculous US visa acceptance, or breaking huge corporate records and reaching the top of my company.
YES friends, that IS the same story. A true story proclaiming major God-ordained victories. But the difference is that so often I tone down the R-rated gore of my struggles and skip to this glorious praise of what God has done in the family-friendly version of my life.
But today my conviction is this… one of you out there somewhere needs to re-evaluate the painful, burdening signs you’ve been told are from God. Because if even in the trials your heart is still consumed with passion for this calling, I am going to DARE you to try again.
That voice in these trials— is it filling your mind with fear and doubt or passion and promise for the future? Please pray and test these convictions. Keep going even when all logic would have you to quit. Because our God? He is outside logic. In fact, he THRIVES in showing up in those impossible places—using you in your most broken and troubled states. Because there— RIGHT there, is going to point to his power and faithfulness. His commitment to the weak and heavy laden.
I hope this can be a sign for you today.
And most of all, I smile a HUGE smile knowing the REAL one behind all those “signs”, (all those horrible trials that could have stopped my work for the kingdom) He’s going to hate this message. Because in my vulnerability—in that suffering and doubt, I’ve found a promise that I can share with you. A promise that you, YES YOU are going to bring that change to the world!
“ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37