As Job was going through the difficulty of coping with the loss of everything, his friend Elihu said in Job 34:33 “Should it be according to thy mind?” His friend bluntly revealed to Job that sometimes life does not go as planned. Whenever uncertainty enters our life, we are prone to imagine how pleasant life would be had our plan only been implemented in place of God’s. And Elihu, through God’s Word, asks the question: “Should it be according to our minds?”
Charles Spurgeon gave the following illustration about a happy cricket whose world was turned upside down. He said:
The cricket, in the spring, builds his house in the meadow and chirps for joy because all is going so well for him. But when he hears the sound of the plough a few furrows off, and the thunder of the oxen’s tread, then his sky begins to darken, and his young heart fails him. Soon the plough comes noisily along, and turns his dwelling bottom-side up, and as he goes rolling over and over, without a house and without a home, he says, “Oh, the foundations of the world are bearing up and everything is hastening to destruction.” But the farmer, as he walks behind the plough, does he think the foundations of the world are breaking up? No. He is thinking only of the harvest that is to follow in the wake of the plough. And if the cricket will but wait, will see the farmer’s purpose. We are all like crickets. When we get our own way, we are happy and contend. When we’re subjected to disappointment, we become victims of despair.
If things always followed our plan, God’s glory would be obscured in our lives. There is nothing more revealing in a Christian’s life than how they respond to difficult situations. It is through these difficulties that we are able to act in a supernatural way that brings honor and glory to Him.
Just recently our church began the process of searching for its next pastor. As head of the pulpit committee (and son of the pastor), I am faced with choices that can seem overwhelming. But I take comfort in knowing that God is in control. And as long as we recognize that fact and focus on what God has given us, He will perform a work that will show His power.
Here are three comforting thoughts to realize:
God has chosen the next pastor
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” – Jer 3:15
As the chief Shepherd, He is not only concerned with his sheep, but is greatly concerned about the direction of Calvary and who should be its Pastor. The Lord has chosen an under-shepherd who will fulfill the calling of the church through its members. How comforting to know that God has been preparing His choice for many years! How assuring to know that God knows and has chosen a man who will be able to manage all the unique aspects of our ministry.
God knows what the church needs more than I do
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” – Isa 55:8
If we allow ourselves to begin determining specific attributes and characteristics of this person, then we limit God. God told Samuel, “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh at the heart.” Outward appearances and characteristics do often revel what is in a person’s heart; however it is also possible to draw incorrect conclusions based on what we see and know.
God has a specific role for His people in this decision
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matt 17:20-21
While God does have everything in control, and He has chosen a pastor according to His heart, our response should not be one of laziness or carelessness. It is possible for the church to incorrectly discern the will of God because of the flesh.
So what is our responsibility as a church? We are to be spiritually prepared for the process. Nothing of eternal value is accomplished through our own strength, wisdom, or knowledge. We must lean on God in faith so that we can be spiritually tuned to His will. In great earnestness we should fall on our faces before God prayerfully asking for guidance and wisdom.
As our church begins the process of finding the Pastor of God’s choosing, I find myself developing the perspective of that little cricket: my whole world is turned upside down! But it is important to understand that God has a perspective that far exceeds my own and He has bigger plans. Life might not go as you plan, but it is exciting to know that it will go according to His!