(I wrote this article many years ago in the contemplation of going to the mission field, God’ will and all my life was about.)
The mystery of God’s will many times is the mystery Jonah had when he boarded a ship to Tarsus rather than walking to Nineveh to preach the gospel. The mystery was gone a few hours later when he woke up in a stinking seaweed tangle inside a whale’s stomach. Jonah found that it is better to ask the Lord to direct his path than to correct his mistake. As long as we hold God’s call to us at arm’s length claiming mystification; the more we’ve delayed the blessing we can receive from doing God’s will. Is His will really a mystery?
At eleven years of age I received a call from God to be a missionary. By age twenty-nine, no doors had opened so I concluded that wasn’t God’s plan and I got involved in a business deal where I could make lots of money. I told God that I thought it was better if I stayed State-side, made a lot of money, and supported missionaries overseas. God let me pursue my plan for awhile. Then one day in my daily devotions, a Still Small Voice said, “Sharon, I don’t want your money. I want you.”
I could have claimed a mystery and stalled by asking the church, my parents, or Sunday School teacher to pray about this mystery. In this case, they might have found themselves praying not for me to find God’s will, but to get His approval of my own plans. Instead I placed myself in line with God’s will and two summers later I was on my way to a mission field.
By that time in my life I was concerned about going alone. I felt God did not take that into consideration. Again I could have claimed a mystery. “God I need a husband. You’ve said ‘one shall chase a thousand and two shall put ten thousand to flight’. I could do more if I were married.” But I went alone and God blessed my ministry and cared for me through many dangers.
When that assignment ended I was given two offers–one to teach in a government school in Colombia, South America, the other to teach in a school close to Jacksonville, Florida. I had to make a decision quickly for school started the last of August.
I thought that God directed me to Jacksonville to teach in the school there. I packed up and arrived two days before school started.
Ten days after I arrived a cloud of darkness settled over my spirit enough to crush the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. I cried, I prayed, I called my parents, and I wept bitterly. The pain gripped me for days until one Wednesday evening during prayer service. I do not remember the songs we sang or the scripture the pastor read, but I do remember this. The Spirit came like a dove with an olive leaf in His mouth. The message on the leaf was this: “Sharon, you are exactly where I want you to be this year!” What a glorious release from human and satanic pressure.
“You can never misplace a sanctified man or woman,” said my grandfather, who was a missionary, pastor, and teacher. I may have made a wrong choice, however, God saw the honesty and sincerity of my heart so He made it the right place. God blessed my efforts that year and in April I was given an appointment to go overseas to work with the youth.
When we play up the mystery of God’s will we may be looking over our shoulder to see who is following. If our emphasis is on having a heart for God’s will, we can concentrate on the people we must minister to.
Knowing God’s heart, erases questions regarding His will. So our energies need to go towards pursuing God, then His Will loses the mystery.
— Excerpt from “At The Break of Dawn”