Last week I had the privilege of being back at my alma mater, Moody Bible Institute for a significant alumni reunion. I came to Chicago as a young and open-hearted 17 year-old and for three years was shaped significantly by the excellence and quality of musical training and biblical teaching.
We were trained to go out into the world and do ministry all in, and our hearts burned with the excitement of all we dreamed God would call us to. We also had no idea that for many of us the cost would be so high.. What did we really know for sure being sent off into our worlds?
In today’s culture there are two parallel tracks of belief that run side by side for Christ followers.. On one track is the message of increase – bigger destiny, larger platforms, increased prosperity, and health and wealth. On this track we believe God for what only He can do which is impossible for us but possible for God. On the other track is the message of decrease – God’s increase and glory is His and His alone and we can expect that while we believe great things, we also can expect pain and suffering which is the hallmark of the life of the saints in Hebrew 11.
When we say Yes to God – we may believe that bigger visibility and more fruit is what we can expect because God is a God of wonder. For so many this is a message of hope against all hope (Romans 4), in a God that does His best work when we are out of options. This the key to perseverance in the face of adversity. If we only believe, all things will indeed, work for our good (Romans 8:38). When we believe that our outcome is to prosper, as a result, pain, suffering and adversity may be viewed as a lack of faith. What do you believe? Or can it be true that while we believe God has plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), He is also asking us to surrender when the journey might look like anything but that.
Steven Curtis Chapman brought his music to us on the last night of Founders Week at Moody and sang his song:
We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die for the sake of the call
Nobody stood and applauded them
So they knew from the start
This road would not lead to fame
All they really knew for sure
Was Jesus had called to them
He said "come follow Me" and they came
With reckless abandon, they came
All we really know for sure is that our journey may not lead to fame on this earth.
I am wondering if we as Daughters of the King, desiring to serve God with all we have, were expecting our lives to look a bit different when we said “Yes” to His call on our lives? Were we expecting larger platforms, more influence, better marriages, perfect children, and just a bit more prosperity in the process? Do we experience personal shame, or criticism from others when our external circumstances are not exactly the picture of what God’s favour looks like?
I can tell you that the latter is my journey. I know that my “Yes” is not a guarantee of success in this world, but rather a guarantee that an eternal reward is waiting for me. I know that my “Yes” does not guarantee a sudden increase in Instagram followers or more requests than I can handle for platform and presence.
What I do know is that my “Yes” guarantees that I am being called to a greater adventure than I could have dreamed, and what has been irrefutably promised to me is God’s presence with me every step of the way.
And that is all any of us really know for sure.
Be encouraged, women in this nation for this time. Don’t measure your success on quantifiable outcomes, but when you abandon your lives for the sake of His call, that it will be a ride like you have never known!. . As a movement, Gather Women is for you and championing you in your places of light, and praying for you in your places in the dark. We want you to stay the path and finish well. We want to know you and your stories and be sisters to you so you know you are not alone on the journey, whatever challenges you are facing.
Be encouraged by the sisterhood in Canada that is growing every day and has a seat at the table just for you. Be encouraged by these words from Steven Curtis Chapman from his song “Glorious Unfolding”:
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what i’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold
And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise god has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing love
And the story has only begun.
You are loved with an everlasting love from before time and until the end of time.
And that’s all, any of us, really know for sure.
Let us gather.