"I replied, 'But my work all seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. Yet I leave it all in the Lord's hand; I will trust God for my reward." Isaiah 49:4..."The Kingdom is given to those who can see beyond the visible and accept the ways of the King....I don't need to understand Your will in order to trust Your heart." Chris Tiegreen
We're a results oriented culture. Couple that with the fact that we're also an immediate gratification one as well, and you come up with recipe for frustration, discouragement, and ongoing feelings of failure. The culture we live in reinforces this. More often than not, so does the culture of the church. It may seem most prevalent in ministry, but really, it has permeated every aspect of our spiritual lives. Prayer, relationships, marriage and family dynamics. We're results oriented. We want to get to where we want to be. We're not much interested in what may be learned in the course of the journey. Especially as to what we may learn of Him.
I have been walking with Him for more than 38 years. I cannot begin to list all the times I have either thought or outright spoken words very similar to Isaiah's. What I was applying my life to, on the surface, seemed exactly as described by Isaiah; useless, a wasting of strength, seemingly to no purpose. Then again, how could I expect anything else when my only way of "seeing" was with eyes and understanding that only saw and measured according to the standards of an earthly kingdom. We have been created for eternity, and His desire is that we see all things from the perspective of eternity. Christ did. Christ does. We are created to as well.
Some years back, one who'd left their mate after struggling for sometime in the marriage, told me, "I've waited 5 years for them to change. Do I have to wait forever?" Such is the way many of us look at our challenges, our circumstances, and yes, our calling. We've been at it a long time. We've been willing to "wait on Him," but we've got an expiration date on that. The attitude, whether spoken or not, is the same; "Do I have to wait forever?" We may put a tremendous amount of energy into our prayers and our efforts, but our eyes continue to be on the results we want to get, not upon the One to whom we are speaking. So we look for what we want Him to be doing....and miss all that He may be saying, teaching, and leading in. We're willing to trust Him to do what we want....so long as it seems He may actually do it. When visible evidence of that fades, or isn't present to begin with, we tend to seek to make our own way....and forsake His. And we miss Him and His Way in doing so.
I'm very aware that there are times when His voice speaks into our spirit and tells us that we've "been in a place long enough." Our tragedy is that we most often decide what is long enough. We do it in every aspect of ministry, relationship, marriage, life. We've stamped an expiration date on our efforts. We're not going to go beyond it. And so we move off. We move on. But what have we missed, and how may we have missed Him?
The Father has called us to only one result; to be faithful. And in our being faithful, to be obedient. And in our obedience, we trust Him. Isaiah and Jeremiah were two prophets called by Him and entrusted with a message. A message that few regarded or listened to. Their times of frustration and discouragement were many. Yet in them, they always came back to the same place. They would obey Him. They would trust Him. They would press on. They would listen to one voice alone; His. Hearing Him. Knowing Him. Following Him. That was the one result they came to live for. And die in. Countless ones who've followed have done the same. Have we? Do we? Paul's end "result" was a prison cell and the headsman's ax....as the world saw it. He had gained the Kingdom, and fullness of fellowship with Christ the King. That was the only result that mattered to Him. He trusted Him to the end. An end defined by Christ. Do we? Do you? Anything else is.......useless.