Bill Wilson (leader of the worlds largest Sunday School) once said “Christians often quit before the miracles kick in”.
It’s so true, in a consumerist society, we are better at following when “the Suns shining down on me and the worlds all as it should be” than when it’s a cross carrying struggle “the roads marked with suffering and there is pain in the offering”.
Yet often it is in the times of suffering, challenge and sacrifice that we see some of the most fruitful and beautiful advances of the Kingdom of God.
Jackie Pullinger, a great missionary inside the walled city in China seeing amazing miracles with heroin addicts, didn’t see anyone become a Christian until 7 years into her ministry, now she is seeing amazing fruit from her work.
I wonder if I had been in her shoes whether I’d have been faithful and obedient enough to “hang on in there” with what God had called her too, or would I have got on plane home after a couple of (seemingly) unproductive years.
Jackie Pullinger once famously said that “God wants us to have a soft heart and hard feet, whereas we want to have a hard heart and soft feet”.
Jesus says that “no one puts their hand to the plough and keeps looking back is worthy of the Kingdom of God”, when you are ploughing you need to keep looking forward, otherwise the furrows become crooked and no good.
When we take our new puppy Teddy out, he is constantly distracted by sights and smells all around him and keeps pulling on the lead wanting to go off in various directions. I see so many gifted Christians, getting distracted and wandering off course, never ending up doing all that God has called for them.
When using a SatNav I soon realised that it expects you to keep going until it tells you to stop or change course, I think there is wisdom from the SatNav, we as Christians should keep going until God tells us to stop, rather than like the puppy pulling off everytime we see something enticing (often another dogs’ poo!) which diverts us from Gods call.
The question is what is God calling us to?
Are we prepared to follow this call for the long haul, maybe the rest of our natural lives?
What is God not calling us to?
What entices us and captivates our eyes, it might not be in itself a bad thing, but if it pulls you away from following Jesus then don’t make eye contact with it.
Yet, even if we have wandered from the Path we should have followed, even if we’ve quit when maybe we should have pushed forward, Grace goes ahead of us.
And God in his grace re-routes us like our SatNav returning us back to where he wants us to be, often even redeeming the twists and turns we shpuldn’t have made, but become used by him for his glory, grace and mercy to shine out from.