…all else fails.
Right? That, or He is very quick to set you straight. As Matt Chandler said in a message once:
The wrath of God is best seen when He does nothing against your sin.
The sin of turning from God, or just neglecting to look his way. I am guilty. And you?
I have mentioned numerous times my experiences with my trip to China during the 2008 summer Olympics. There are many stories from the whole trip, but the most seldom mentioned one is how we came about deciding to go or not. One night in mid-January 2008, a few of my friends and I were sitting in the front row listening to one of my good friends speak on his time in China preparing for the Olympics. My buddy Cody turned to me and asked if I would go to China to play in the band with them. My response? “No.” That simple. “No, I’m not going to China with you.”
The next morning we heard the talk again and I felt a tug (not from Cody). I felt that it was a good thing to do. So I turned to the guys and asked, “Can we go to China?” They were ecstatic! So we proceeded to plan the trip.
Our prayer habits
I won’t say that we neglected prayer while having our planning meetings, but we were neglecting God’s planning. Our prayers would be similar to the cheap prayers I talked about yesterday. As in, “Lord, help us get there. Work your will in us!”
Fast-forward to June. We were getting ready to (finally) book tickets and get our visas. There was still time to drop out and I was uneasy. Things were going against (my) plans, and there began to be some dissension. So after much prayer over what God would have us do, I called a meeting with the guys, here’s essentially what I told them:
Guys, we are two months from leaving. We don’t have our visas. We haven’t raised the money yet (we were about $10,000 away from our needs being met). And consequently, we don’t have our tickets yet. We have sent music over there for them to hear, but that can be changed if need be. I am going to China. When we were planning this in January, we neglected God and his plan. We went with it without the proper planning and necessary prayer. We have a week. One week before we send out for visas. That gives you a week to pray. If by next week you don’t feel led into this trip (there were doubts in some of our minds) then you can still drop out. But by saying you’re in next week, you are sticking with it. And we will go to China.
A new prayer
We prayed that week, putting Christ’s will first, searching our motives and desires, and wondering if anyone would leave. The next week rolled around and I asked them each individually. The four guys all said that they would be going, but also said that they had considerations of leaving until the week before. God used prayer as a means to not only reveal himself to us, but also in order to set his will in stone in our hearts that we might readily serve.
I don’t often use “what if” questions. But in this case, it is a good one to ask. What if we had realized the need for this back in January? Would we have been in the same stressful spot by July?
I would argue that we wouldn’t have been. God was looking for that communication and lack of it almost ended the journey before we left for China. So praise God for His guidance in all of this. He is well deserving.