It is one thing to strive to be faithful while serving in a ministry position, but for ministry candidates, being faithful while waiting for God’s call can be a challenge.
Perhaps you have taken all the steps necessary. You have responded to God’s call. You have attended seminary or received ministry training. You have been ordained. You have prayed and searched for positions you feel God leading you toward. But then you wait. And you wait. And you wait. And nothing happens.
You can begin to question why, if you did your part, it seems that God is not doing His. You may begin to question your calling and regret the time and money you spent in preparation for a position that seems you will never be offered.
I recently saw a quote on Facebook that said something along the lines of “Do not believe the lie that ‘it could have been.’” I found this incredibly profound. When things do not go the way we believe they are supposed to in life, we are tempted to think that we have gotten something wrong. We have picked the wrong major, moved to the wrong city, married the wrong person, etc. We think that there is only one path to success and that if we drift from that path, whether through our own fault or no fault at all, we have failed.
But God is a God of byroads and scenic routes. He knows the best way to build our strength is to have us climb mountains, not take the interstate. And while we can only see the road from where we currently are on our journey, God sees the entirety of the roadmap from above. What is obscured from us by trees and houses and part-time jobs and family obligations is the amazing places God is leading us.
Our ministry does not begin the moment we are hired, but the moment we are saved. We serve God while we wait, and sometimes we realize that the places we thought we were stuck are better than the destinations we had in mind.
Does this mean we settle for less than what we are promised? Absolutely not. But it does mean we believe God for what He has promised even when it seems impossible, and it means we allow God to open our eyes to see things His way rather than through a human lens that measures success in dollar signs and social status.
I, personally, have never served in a full-time ministry role. But I am part-time children’s minister at a church that I love, and being part time allows me to also work as a kindergarten teacher—a job that has blessed me more than any I have ever had. Even though it is not what I planned for, I have no doubt I am currently where God wants me to be – for now.
It is hard not knowing what the future holds. But the truth is, we are not promised tomorrow anyway. And so, dear friends, I believe that the best we can do in the chaos and the questions is not to question where we went wrong, but to trust that God has used everywhere we have been to bring us right where he wants us.
And in that place, where we are right now, say, “I surrender.”