I had hoped never to have to say these words. I had hoped that you would be moved to obedience through intercessory prayer – sometimes, with gentle prayers for your softening; other times, with intense prayers for your breaking; most recently, with anguished cries out for vindication. I had hoped you – and this situation – would be won without a word. I had hoped.
But prayer is only a part of my gift, God reminds me, and sometimes, words must also be used. It is my prayer that every word in this letter is Spirit-led and Spirit-filled, that this letter is sure and true in hitting its target.
First of all, you are dearly loved, and it has nothing to do with your platform. God didn’t re-route me from Seattle because you’re a great preacher, because of any charisma you possess, because you were right or even on the right path; God called me here to pray for you – to be a prayer warrior in the thick of the battle. He knows that if I had gone to Seattle, my burden for you and your family would have faded.
That being said, God didn’t twist my arm into this calling, either: He gave me a choice to lean into this burden or to shed it. I chose to lean into it, because I care about you, and I care about your family. I chose not to care about what people would say about a single woman “following” her divorced pastor out of state, rumors that continue to echo and have repercussions in my life. And I would do it again.
So, when I say what I have been called to say, what I have been given authority to say, whatever your response may be, you cannot misconstrue my words as coming from a place of malice towards you. Such a theory simply does not match the reality of what my actions towards you have been, as anyone will be able to see.
And here it is: you need to do what God has called you to do. That is not the same thing as what you’ve been telling people for over two years that God has told you to do. Maybe you’re convinced this niggling call in the bottom of your heart and the back of your mind is the work of the enemy, designed to distract you from your true calling. It’s not. It’s from God, and you need to listen. Here’s what concerns me: I think you already know it’s from God in the bottom of your heart and the back of your mind, but it does not fit what you want, and so you’re ignoring and running from it.
In the process, you’re putting other people in danger. Think about Jonah. The storm didn’t come to that ship on its way to Tarshish to test Jonah’s faith; it came because he was running away from God and what God was calling him to do, and God was determined to get him on the right path. The ship threatened to break up. Think. You are His child, too; God is just as determined to get you on the right path. What is it going to take? You have to ask them to release you to God’s call.
I know you love God. You want to tell as many people about Him as possible. What God is asking you to do doesn’t seem to fit that desire. You’ve reached a lot of people in this place God has allowed you to be, but do you think it matters to Him if you’re neglecting the ones to whom He’s calling you to minister?
Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many wonderful things.’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you'” (Matthew 7:21-23a NIV). Don’t take His name in vain doing what you perceive to be big things for Him, while neglecting what He is calling you to do.
“[The Lord] frustrates the words of the unfaithful” (Proverbs 22:12b NIV).
You can release your will, your desires to Him, and do what He is asking you to do, or He will frustrate you at every turn and arrest your will, your desires, your obedience. Any effectiveness you think you have will be lost until you do things His way.
I’ll say it again: you are HIS child. He’s not about to let you live any kind of life. He loves you way too much for that.
He’s not going to love you any less if you never preach another sermon, if you never share the gospel with another person, if you never counsel another person, or ever do any of the things in which you place so much value.
And, He’s not going to love you any less if you keep doing what you’re doing, either, but you’d miss something about knowing Him, and He’s doing His part to make sure that doesn’t happen.
You can run, but you can’t hide.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there; if I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10 NIV).