Standing in God’s Call…

“Safe Harbor in St. Michaels, Maryland,” © Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

My youth pastor did more than teach scripture; he found creative incentives to encourage its memorization.

And it worked.

That is how I found myself floating behind a ski boat in the San Diego Bay on a ninety degree day in late August.

All of us, who had achieved the goal, won a day of water-skiing. Since my family was not a wealthy one, I was thrilled to have such an opportunity although…

I had never skied.

And it showed. I lost grip of the rope whenever the boat pulled.

Of course, my sense of humor invariably carries me through difficulties. Thus, after swallowing more than my share of bay water, I emerged…laughing and sputtering.

That, of course, only made things worse.

Watching my progress from the back of the boat, two friends cheered me on. But by 3 pm–six hours into that day out– one of my friends nicknamed me, “Try, try; flub again.”

Yup. Nothing ever comes easy for me.

Quite honestly, I suspect that even wildly successful people must work hard. From what I’ve observed, talent or interest only gets you a place behind the boat.

It takes a lot of hard work to learn to stand. Or even ski around the bay.

Indeed.

I’ve been reminded this week as I watched the Olympics that even if you have been called to do something, the road may prove extremely difficult…  So much work.

And quite honestly, I don’t much like that part. I prefer watching the Olympic games from my easy chair.

Thus, when discipleship gets tough, I frequently ask, “Am I where I’m supposed to be? Does God really intend for me to serve in this way?”

I emerged…laughing and sputtering.

Yup, I set sail with great enthusiasm. But when I encounter rough waters, I begin to doubt…

I waver.

I second guess.

I long to return to the safe harbor.

Perhaps, you’ve been there, too.

It isn’t uncommon. Even Moses questioned when his dreams didn’t immediately materialize.

Of course, Moses appeared perfectly placed to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, educated by the finest Egyptian scholars, Moses had everything going for him.

But talent and position alone did not get him very far. In fact, relying on his own abilities, Moses made a bit of a mess and became a fugitive from Egyptian justice, (Exodus 2:15).

That’s right. He overestimated his ability to affect change. The young Moses had yet to learn that most anything of value requires hard work. Perseverance is a necessity in the face of inevitable storms.

And God blesses faithfulness, (Psalm 31:23).

But Mo’ had yet to learn that. So, God sent him to the wilderness to learn a little of humility and hard work.

In Midian, then, Moses learned to persevere.

No glory. No more rich rewards in Pharaoh’s court. Moses worked hard as a shepherd to provide for his family. Life at court became a distant memory.

Yet, God did not forget Moses. God spoke to Mo through a burning bush.

First response? Moses worshiped. A good start.

But then, Moses tried to wiggle out of God’s call. The former Prince of Egypt gave God a great many excuses.

From what I’ve observed, talent or interest only gets you a place behind the boat.

Really, when I reread the account, it seems that Moses still lacked God’s perspective.

Although Moses had learned much about hard work, he still depended solely upon his talent to carry him.

And that had obviously proved an epic fail. He’d been forced to run for his life.

He likely thought, “I’m not the guy for this.”

Moses’ faulty perspective becomes apparent in his arguments–they won’t believe me; I’m not a good speaker, (Exodus 3-4). Although he had acquired humility, he still believed that position, rank and natural talent were primary.

He had not considered God as part of the equation.

Moses recalled his failure and essentially said, “This doesn’t come easy for me, God. You’re making a mistake. Choose someone else.”

Maybe, like me and Mo’, you have occasionally said “Choose someone else, Lord. Let me sail my boat in safer waters.”

God, however, graciously met each of Moses’ objections with a demonstration of God’s power. Then, God promised, “Certainly I will be with you,” (Exodus 3:12).

Moses ran out of excuses, and reluctantly answered God’s call.  And I think now seems an appropriate time for God to say, “And Mo’ lived happily ever after…”

But it wasn’t easy street. Even Mo’s journey to Egypt proved a bit rocky. Although Moses understood God’s covenant with Abraham as marked by circumcision, his wife evidently opposed obedience to God’s command.

In Exodus 4, we read of the resulting conflict between Moses and his wife, Zipporah.

But God’s chosen man had to fully identify with God’s people, and ultimately, Zipporah gave way. To say she was angry would be an understatement.

That’s right. Moses had barely sailed out of the harbor when he encountered mutiny at home.

Scheduling an interview with Pharaoh was probably easy by comparison. After all, Moses had been educated in Egypt. He knew the ropes at court.

At least, Mo finally understood that God would direct his path. He no longer rested in his own strength, but delivered God’s message to Pharoah.

Since he’d finally “learned his lesson,” it would seem the former prince should find success. . .

Time for some smooth sailing.

But, in fact, the wind and waves had just begun to swirl.

I return to this simple truth: even though I respond to God’s call, I am not guaranteed calm waters.

Pharaoh answered, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go,” (Exodus 5:2).

Right. That certainly didn’t go as Moses had hoped.

So Mo’  pulled out all the stops. He gave God all he had. No holding back.

However, Pharaoh not only refused to let Israel go, he also punished the people for Moses’ request, (Exodus 5:6-9).

Things had gone from bad to worse.

Moses questioned, “‘O LORD, why hast Thou brought harm to this people? Why didst Thou ever send me?” (Exodus 5:22).

Yeah. What about that? How come doing God’s will only seemed to make things worse?

I return to this simple truth: even though I respond to God’s call, I am not guaranteed calm waters.

You see, God has a greater purpose. God’s plan often includes both the powerful demonstration of God’s glory as well as the development of my faith.

That certainly proved true for Moses. Again and again, Pharaoh threw obstacles in Israel’s path.

With each roadblock, Yahweh miraculously demonstrated His power. Israeli freedom did not come by Egyptian favor. Nor did it come because of Moses’ demonstrated talent or education.

In fact, the history of Moses’ interaction with Pharaoh could be summarized as “Try, try… flub again.”

Nevertheless, because Moses obediently persevered, God dramatically exhibited His power on behalf of His people. And you and I now read of the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea.

The journey isn’t easy. And even though we follow God’s call, we may encounter storms.

Through it all,  God builds our faith and ultimately rewards our perseverance.

Yup.  God uses every part of our journey–including our “flubs”– to bring about a miraculous transformation.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed in His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit,” ~2 Corinthians 3:18

73 Replies to “Standing in God’s Call…”

  1. Great, post. “God builds our faith and ultimately rewards our perseverance.” Challenges will come but God is there with us every step of the way. He just needs us to persevere so we can overcome and grow. Congratulations on your new experience. May God continue to bless you with the opportunities to get you exactly where He needs you to be. Keep doing what you do. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. your teaching Lynn is always so personal which is so approachable —which in turn
    makes it lasting—your connection to and with personal reflections allows for a delightful opening to and for those who find themselves almost lost in your storytelling–excellent as always my friend

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Julie, you are much too kind, but I am so very grateful for your friendship! And your thoughtful words here mean the world since I am such a HUGE fan of your writing! God bless you beyond all that you can imagine, my dear friend! Praying for you and your new grandbaby…son and daughter-in-law, too! Love and huge hugs! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so right. It isn’t easy, and there are no guarantees, and we will face opposition, too, and even from those closest to us, sometimes. Obeying God doesn’t mean smooth sailing. In fact, he promises us that we will be opposed, persecuted, hated, falsely accused and even killed for our faith and for our testimonies for our Lord. But, when God calls, he equips, he empowers, he strengthens and he leads. Our job is just to yield control over to him and be willing vessels in his hands to mold and to make according to his plans and purposes for our lives.

    We just have to do what he says, his way, according to his direction and his terms. And, then he works his will in our lives and through our lives into the lives of others. That way, he gets all the glory! We know we could not do any of this apart from him, and that is exactly where we need to be, humble, willing and obedient, fully knowing it all comes from Him so we never take credit for what he does in and through our lives, which is all for HIS glory and praise!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Timely reminder sis. I heard a very similar reminder yesterday through Jeremiah. The trouble is, we’re so easily enticed by the CBB lifestyle today – (can’t be bothered). We don’t hold ‘old fashioned values anymore – respect, honour, etc. As such we ‘lack patience’, don’t recognise its value and the rest (as they say), is history …! Sigh. Lord please show us how to not pollute the new hearts you’ve given us. X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, Lynn. I think this excerpt sums up the heart of it: “You see, God has a greater purpose. God’s plan often includes both the powerful demonstration of God’s glory as well as the development of my faith.” Not much to say after that other than, “Amen!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Lynn, I thank God for your life! I confirm that the Spirit is ONE! I too recently meditated upon the connection between gifts and grace of God. We pray for an open door. God answers that prayer. Then we choose to pass thru that open door in the power of our own strength and wisdom. Then we fail. Then we regret the good but lost opportunity. This was the wrong pattern that controlled my life in the past. I now pray to be prepared in my heart, my head and my mouth before I pray for that ‘open door’, to stand before kings and great men. This preparation done by the power of the Holy Spirit and digesting God’s Word has killed any regret of mine. I can now stand and speak (or write) and people listen! I see that you know this secret too. God bless you and your ministry! Your sister in Christ, Lia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, dear Lia! I discovered early on that without prayer and surrender to God’s Spirit, all my effort is for nothing. Thank you for your uplifting testimony. I’m so grateful for you! You are such an inspiration and godly example to me and so many. Thank you, thank you for your wonderful friendship and for being my treasured sister in the Lord. Huge hugs to you!!

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  7. I love the unique and intimate relationship that Moses had with the Creator. His life is a lesson of perseverance. He learned through many hardships and he had seen God’s glory. When I first read his account with God, my first thoughts were ‘Moses was so lucky!’

    May God grant us the wisdom to seek Him above all and everything that this world has to offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post Lynn. I like when you said, “… when discipleship gets tough, I frequently ask, “Am I where I’m supposed to be? Does God really intend for me to serve in this way?”

    I agree with you, sometimes, when I feel that my discipleship isn’t where I want it to be, I often ask myself these questions never realizing that I may be going about my discipleship the wrong way. I also like when you stated, “Perseverance is a necessity in the face of inevitable storms.”

    I agree that perseverance is a necessity becuase even with school; I always had a hard time in school except for History. Even now, in college I have a hard time but I learn to persevere through the storm.

    I also liked in the post when you said,

    “He had not considered God as part of the equation.”

    “Maybe, like me and Mo’, you have occasionally said “Choose someone else, Lord. Let mesail my boat in safer waters.”

    I agree with post of these statements. I think sometimes we don’t consider God to be apart of our equation in our lives, but He should be. I am like that sometimes, where I say that maybe God could choose someone else instead of me.

    I agree with your statement, “God’s plan often includes both the powerful demonstration of God’s glory as well as the development of my faith.” I think we as Christians need to remember that sometimes the stormy waters are designed to develop our faith in God and demonstrate His power.

    I also like when you stated, “The journey isn’t easy. And even though we follow God’s call, we may encounter storms.

    Through it all,  God builds our faith and ultimately rewards our perseverance.

    Yup.  God uses every part of our journey–including our “flubs”– to bring about a miraculous transformation.”

    It’s only when you and I go through the storm that we are able to see God’s miraculous power and the development of our faith and trust in Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Joshua, for your thoughtful response! Your words truly encourage me! I’m so glad this post resonated with you. It’s so nice to know that my friends are on the same journey as they grow in Christ. God bless you big time!

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  9. Amen! We are being transformed!!! I needed this reminder. Moses really touches my heart because I feel God gave me the pen as my Aaron. I also am reminded despite Moses’ fears and anger, he had a very personal relationship with God, the only man to have that kind of relationship with Him until the New Testament. God buried Moses when he died.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great post, Lynn! How true it is for us as humans to sometimes decide, when the going gets tough, that we’re going to go away from it, or question if it’s really what we’re supposed to do.

    Your picture reminds me so much of a B & B we stayed at once when we were in MD; it was in St. Michael’s, too!

    Hugs to you, my sweet friend! And kudos for keeping on keeping on when trying to water ski, or live the life God wants for you!

    Blessings~ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes… it’s so easy to wish for calmer waters, isn’t it?
      You stayed in St. Michael’s? How wonderful! I wonder if it was the same place? Next time you visit there, let me know. 🙂 I’ll make an effort to drive up and meet you for lunch 😉 Love and hugs to you, my wonderful friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It surely is, Lynn.
        We were in St. Michael’s years ago when we lived in the Maryland area (a little less than 25 years. WOW! Does time fly?!?!?! I just realized how long it had been!)
        We haven’t been back since. However, our youngest lives in the DC metro area if that’near you, perhaps (if we ever get back up there), it would be close enough for a visit or to meet half-way? If we head that way, I’ll let you know! ❤ 🙂 ❤
        Blessings~

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for a beautiful post, I love the picture!
    Trouble is actually to be expected, but Jesus told us “be of good cheer” because He’s already overcome the world for us (John 16:33). The cheer part is challenging but your post reminds all who read it to look farther than just the surface. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you Lynn. Excellent job. What you reveal here proves the existence of unseen sinister forces opposing anything and everything the Lord attempts to do. These forces strike hard at the beginning of any venture, as demonstrated in the life of Moses. He had to continually persevere in order to overcome them and achieve the objective. Without these negative, evil, opposing forces in the way things would obviously be much easier. We see the same pattern in the lives of all the spiritual stalwarts, especially in the life of the Lord. Persecution proves the ones who are dedicated and the ones who are not. The latter are stopped somewhere along the way. The former never are. It is why the Lord always tells us to continue on, to trust Him, to fight through it, to exercise our faith and trust in Him, to know a good and most likely great outcome will happen, and to know HE, and thus WE will eventually prevail. Every story He writes has a happy ending. Amen. Be Blessed.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Great post Lynn!

    Things don’t seem to come easy for me either…….another thing we have in common! But when I started abiding with my Savior I learned that the journey and what HE does within me, in my character and soul is most important…….especially learning perseverance! Remember: life is NOT a sprint, it is a MARATHON. Be at peace with the journey, the ups and downs…….HIS plan for each of us in HIS grace and HE continues to write our stories each and every day. Blessings on you!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you, Lynn, for this wonderful article and the reminder that when we flub, we can look to God to pick us up, brush us off, then work in and through us just like He wanted to from the start. I flubbed today—bigtime. So your post came at just the right moment for me because just now I feel like a zero with the ring rubbed out.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, your poetry is painting with words! I LOVE it! Have a beautiful weekend! ❤ and hugs!!

        P.S. I look forward to your sharing your painting sometime! I just know it will be as beautiful as your poetry… anyone who can paint with words as you do is very present in the moment and sees the beautiful details that compose a visual scene! 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have seen my painting. It’s a little known secret, but it’s on The Abundant Heart Blog. 😉 And you just reminded me that I also promised to share some of my acrylic paintings. I promise they are coming….

        Like

  15. You and I have so much in common. I was 16 when I was diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity/Environmental Illness. The food allergies started much younger, but I can look back and clearly see how God used the health trials to steer me to his plan. My plan was much different, and not nearly as good as what He had in mind! *Hug* to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes! You are so right, Linda. And looking back now, I actually am grateful for the way He used my health to direct me. He had something better in mind for me as well. And obviously, He had a Bible teaching ministry in mind for you! Your teaching is such a blessing! I’m so grateful for have met you! And it is so encouraging to know that we share so much in common. I love that. God bless you, my wonderful and godly friend! ❤ and hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

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