What To Expect (and Do) When God Directs

Handing control over to someone else can be rather uncomfortable and unsettling for some of us, perhaps most of us. After all, generally we want things “our way.” The idea of another person making choices that will affect us deeply doesn’t always sit well, especially when it involves something dear to our hearts. So, how can we best face this challenge? By choosing well and knowing well the one, or ones, to whom we give control. Then, of course, we must trust. And pray. And believe. And commit. And encourage. But first we must know and choose.

Friends, I fully believe that it is time not simply for a new chapter in the WMPL story, but for a whole new sequel. In this new century we’ve seen unprecedented changes that require us to adjust dramatically the ways we live out our values and pursue God’s purposes, especially as we desire to engage a new generation in the amazing things God is doing to take the gospel to the “ends of the earth.”

Both here in North America and abroad, the contexts in which we previously lived out our calling as the Prayer League have been altered fundamentally, and in too many ways for me to describe in this brief article. Some of the more familiar and supportive aspects of those contexts have disappeared altogether.

Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, suggests that our position is not unlike that faced by the famous explorers Lewis and Clark when they came to the headwaters of the Missouri River and knew that their canoes would no longer transport them toward their goal of the Pacific Ocean. The vast and formidable Rocky Mountains stood in the way. They would need to leave those canoes behind and adapt their methods for very different and unexpected terrain. No doubt, they would have preferred the canoeing they knew so well, but it was time for something different because only something different would get them to their goal.

When a “Part II” movie comes to the theaters, a lot of us wonder if it will measure up to the original. I look at who directs the second film. If I loved the first one and the second has the same director, I expect to enjoy “Part II” just as much, and maybe even more.

This is the good news about our “sequel”: God is the director and we can expect great things! God is neither unsettled nor caught unawares by the “uncharted territory” in which the WMPL sequel is to take place. He understands the changed setting, he sees the new challenges and obstacles, he remains fully committed to the same principles and the same goal, and he knows what needs to be different for those to be realized.

Knowing that he and he alone is to direct our path forward into things still unseen, God insists upon this: we must relinquish any control we think we have, and allow all control to be in his hands. This isn’t always comfortable. God sometimes directs in ways that counter our expectations. He directed Abraham and Sarah to go far away from family and the familiar. He directed Moses to go back to where he’d previously fled for his life. He directed Philip to the “middle of nowhere” where he would meet the first African convert. He directed Paul, in a dream, to Macedonia, when Paul had been headed the opposite way. And each time, under God’s direction, profound world-altering changes occurred.

As God directs he doesn’t ask for our permission. He invites our trust – and our sacrificial participation. Peter questioned the direction Jesus was headed when he began to talk about his coming death, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” Jesus strongly corrected Peter, and added, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt. 16:22-24)

I hope that you prayerfully and carefully consider God’s direction in your life, and his direction for the future of WMPL. Very appropriately, we ask him to direct the choices we have to make regarding those who lead the Prayer League, our own Board of Directors. Though God does the real “directing,” he would also have us place authority into the hands of these godly men and women who serve voluntarily to seek God’s will in establishing the purposes and policies of our life and work together. We have been so very blessed to have board members with strong believing hearts, discerning minds and creative spirits. The work to be done by the Board of Directors now and over the next few years is of great consequence. Quite literally, the future of the Prayer League will depend upon them. I encourage you to read the ballot information in this issue of Together in Prayer and to vote. You will choose those who, under God’s direction, will direct the beginnings of the Prayer League’s sequel. Then trust, pray, believe, commit, and encourage.

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