Help?

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Many of the posts here on That Reformed Blog deal with deep theological issues or historical events that are fun to think about. As someone who enjoys academia just as much as the next person, I love pondering the deep tenants of  what it means–and what it looks like–to be Reformed.

And yet there are times when the practicality of life just seems to get in the way of these deeper intellectual pursuits. And I find that this has been happening to me a lot lately. I just returned from ten days of training at the InterVarsity headquarters in Madison, and while there was a lot of good information, it also was exactly like we’d been warned: the amount of information we were presented with over that span of time made us feel like we were trying to drink from a fire hose. Drinking from the fire hose wasn’t successful. Nope, instead of drinking deeply from this pool of knowledge, I was more like Billy the Kid in The Green Mile: thrown back against the wall of the jail cell by the sheer force of the water coming at me.

So now I have all this information, and I’m left to grapple with how, exactly, God wants me to use all of it. My basic dream is this: to see students come to know Jesus in a deeper way, to come to know him for the first time, or perhaps to simply come with their questions. As a result of their relationship with him, I long to see these students change the world wherever they go, whatever field of work they go into. God has called each  of us to something, that  in some way will change the corner of the world we live in; perhaps we’ll even impact the world more than we think we will. God uses people in mighty ways.

And how to begin implementing this grandiose vision has got me all tripped up. The fact is, I’m not a visionary. I’m terrible at coming up with amazing, captivating ideas. I certainly don’t see myself as very imaginative. What I am is a structural architect: if someone else can come up with the idea, then I can come up with some steps to make it happen. And I’m also missional, obviously. But everything starts with vision, and I got nada.

Which is what leads me to my many cries of “Help!” lately. I can talk to all the random students I want, but on a campus of 15,000 the probability is high that I can talk to a student and literally never see them again in my life, especially if my follow-ups don’t yield anything. And all of the students are so busy, that it’s easy to see why making something like InterVarsity fit into their lives is difficult. I get it. I totally get it.

But I also know that God has called me here. Really, when you get right down to it, all of us are struggling with the how of doing what the Lord has called us to do–whether we’re in formal ministry or not. How do I start to tell my coworkers about my faith? How do I begin to help this person address this problem? How will we continue ministry when those in charge don’t want us here? How do we live with integrity? How do I relate to this person whose beliefs are so different from mine–keeping the lines of communication open, while at the same time hoping to eventually take the conversation to the ultimate answer–Jesus?

It makes me feel a lot like King Solomon, who begged the Lord for wisdom after assuming the throne. He knew that he couldn’t run a kingdom on his own. I know that I can’t do what God has called me to on my own. And so I petition the heavens, hoping for a word to come eventually. Because I know you’re listening, God. Help?

How about you? What calling has God placed upon your life? In what areas do you feel prepared? Or not? How have you heard God speak?

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2 thoughts on “Help?

  1. Thank you for this. As an RCA clergy for 34 years, Classis stated clerk for 2 years, you might call me entrenched. BUT AT 61 years of age, I still wonder what God will do with me when I grow up?! Your desire for practicality following the ‘firehose’ is wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. It is where people live – especially non-clergy types. It translates well to their world and to ours. Yet, our call is not just to contemporaneous…you and I are called to be prophetic…leading practical people into a spirit filled, spirit inspired and spirit led future. Frankly, as uncomfortable as all this is..
    Think “Just As I Am” – count your blessings (no matter how uncertain and tentative they may seem – and as Luther was won’t to say, “Go forth and sin boldly”….for just as bold is God’s grace for you and your students. And as we grow up, we’ll see it more and more. “SO MOTE IT BE!”

  2. Thank you as well for this post, fits well into where I am at in ministry. I’m far enough in my first call to know the ministry activities that I am passionate about. I am seeing where my strengths are. But my questions are centered on how I use my gifts to tend to my flock. In addition, I am part of a cohort through Journey at WTS whose focus is the soul of leadership. When I’m reading for the group I love what I learn but struggle to know how to apply it. And when I do think about how to apply it, I feel overwhelmed as to where to start. May God lead us all…

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