One Person’s Journey

As a young man, I had everything anyone could want. Living in Santa Barbara, just a half mile from the beach, I had a job that paid me more money than I could spend, a beautiful wife and baby girl, and opportunities for music ministry with great friends. If that doesn’t define blessing, I don’t know what does. You wouldn’t blame me for thinking it wasn’t God’s voice leading me to do something different, right? He wouldn’t take me away from the abundant life he had promised.

I simply said, “no, thank you,” and went on about my perfect Christian life.

You can probably think of a Bible story where God asked a prophet to go do something challenging, and he said “no.”

The word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah not only said “no,” but he took off in the opposite direction. It’s funny to think we can ever escape God, but he did, and I know I did too. Neither Jonah nor I got very far. God brought a big fish into Jonah’s and brought a new supervisor into mine. Within a year, he fired me.

I eventually found my way to central Washington State as an air traffic controller. Though I loved that job and felt fulfilled and appreciated in ministry there, when God spoke to me again during Advent of 1990, I was ready to respond with a resounding “Here I am. Send me!” There was no way I wanted to repeat my “big fish” experience. Though God didn’t tell me what to do or where to go in our initial conversation, it eventually led my family to Guatemala and a lifetime full of ministry for his kingdom.

God’s gift to us that Christmas was to birth a new vision for how we could be involved in his desire to see people all over the world reconciled to himself. It changed the course of our lives and allowed us to bring him glory in new and exciting places and ways. We will be eternally thankful.

How are you listening to God? Sometimes he speaks in “loud” ways and sometimes in a “still, small voice,” but Jesus told us that his sheep recognize his voice so we can have confidence. When he leads us, we’ll know, and by God’s grace, we will follow.

My advice? Avoid the “big fish!” Obey unconditionally.

One Comment

  1. Tim Aagard

    Oh no, you left out the big fish story! My story is somewhat parallel to yours, but God was not telling me to go somewhere, yet. He wanted me to help fix the missions corruption that is claimed to be godly in the US. Normal church budgeting is to release 16% of giving out the door for missions. 84% is CONSUMED to buy hired staff and pulpit buildings to mostly bless the people who think they are giving the money.

    The nature of “giving” and as taught in the NT is ALL to go BEYOND the needs or interests of the givers. 2 Cor. 8 & 9, Phil. 4: 14-20. No hired pastor even knows about this, No Bible scholar with many degrees. They are all chained to the 500 year old notion that every believer needs a weekly sermon from a man with a Bible degree who has a “right to be paid.” I was raised in that but God showed me 10 scriptures that teach the OPPOSITE of that. That meant the 4 texts used to justify the paid man were twisted. As I looked deeper into those scriptures I found there were both falsely translated and expositionally twisted. My assignment is to be a messenger of these truths to “rebuke and correct” this corruption so it can be cleaned up “for the sake of the gospel” as Paul put it.

    So far, this is not well received. Some saints, clergy or laity get nasty. I’ve learned that’s ok. Jesus got that treatment. Some saints just walk away and ignore it. But I’ll persevere. This is God’s assignment, which is not an option for a man He created and redeemed, and will reward at the proper time.

    If you you want to know more truth than what a hired Bible expert will tell you that has been in your Bible for 2000 years, I can help you. I’m on Facebook.

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