I was chatting with a friend at church recently. We were talking about the need for satellite churches around the city. As we were discussing locations that would be good, he brought up a certain area of town. He broke down and began to cry. He said, “We’ve got to get in there and take the Gospel to the people who live there.” I could tell his heart was breaking for that demographic. I believe God has given this man that burden and that’s why it bothered Him so much that there were so few churches in that area trying to reach them. His passion touched me, and it got me to thinking about the importance of anguish in a Christian’s life.
Several years ago, David Wilkerson preached a sermon called, “A Call to Anguish”. It’s one of those sermons I’ve listened to many times because it fires me up. In it, he says, “Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. The agony of God’s heart.“ That’s what was going on in my friend, and to be honest, I was a little jealous because I wanted to feel God’s anguish like that.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah wanted a son. Every day she was reminded of her barrenness. God put it in her heart to have a child so she went to the Tabernacle to pray. Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). I believe her anguish was born in her heart by God. I believe it’s something every one of us need. If you’re not feeling God’s anguish today for a brokenness in the world, ask God to share part of His heart with you. It’s time we wept in anguish for the things that break God’s heart so we can do something about it.
Take five minutes today to listen to these excerpts from David Wilkerson’s sermon “A Call to Anguish” and ask God to share part of His heart with you.
Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash
To me, one of the most interesting decisions anyone made in the Bible came from Peter and the disciples in John 21:3. Peter told the disciples, “‘I’m going fishing.’ And they all replied, ‘We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and fished through the night, but caught nothing” (TPT). Three years earlier, Jesus had called Peter away from the fishing boats to fish for men instead. For three years, they watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle. Then they saw Jesus crucified and resurrected. He wanted them to meet Him in Galilee, yet when they arrived, they went back to their old jobs.
I don’t know how long it was after they returned to Galilee before they went fishing, but it’s very indicative of what we all do. God tells us to wait, we wait, He doesn’t show up during our time table and we do something else. We reason, “Maybe we missed God.” Instead of moving forward, we go backwards to what’s familiar to us. We pick up our old nets and step away from our calling. Just like this night of fishing for the disciples, it’s unproductive and unsatisfying. Once you’ve had a taste of your calling, it’s hard to be fulfilled by anything else. Yet Jesus doesn’t leave us there. He chases after us like the lost sheep and redirects us.
I love in this story how when Jesus tells them to cast on the other side and the nets fill with fish, Peter doesn’t wait to bring them in. He jumps out of the boat and swims to shore. I believe that’s what God is asking each us to do. It’s time we jump out of the boat of the familiar and moved toward Jesus. It may be uncharted waters for you, but the fulfillment you seek is to be using the gifts He’s given you in the calling He’s placed on your life. If you’re in the sea of the familiar right now, jump out of the boat and swim to where God is calling you.
Photo by Brooklyn Morgan on Unsplash
Have you ever tried to get something done, but kept getting distracted? The distractions weren’t there until you decided to start. The moment you engage the project, it seems that the whole world falls apart. Someone calls and needs something right away. You realize you forgot to do something else that you were supposed to do. What you’re using to complete the project breaks or quits working. It gets pretty frustrating doesn’t it?
I gotta say, it happens to all of us and I’m not sure why. Then there’s the whole procrastination thing. When you’ve got a big project you need to be working on, sometimes starting it is the hardest thing to do. Where do I begin? What if I get into this and the distractions start? How long is this going to take? Do I have time to complete it? Why do today what I can put off till tomorrow? We question ourselves and talk ourselves out if starting. It’s easy to do, and I’m pretty sure I’m the king of it.
As Solomon was becoming king himself, his father David handed him the blueprints for the Temple. It was a daunting project that would require years to complete with thousands of moving parts. Combine that with trying to run a country and you’ve got both distractions and procrastination creeping at your door. In I Chronicles 28:20, David encouraged him by saying, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you” (NLT).
Let that be an encouragement to you today. Do the work that you’re called to do. Push past the procrastination and stay focused through the distractions. Don’t be afraid of the outcome or discouraged by what others may say. You are uniquely qualified to do what God has called you to do. If He didn’t think you could do it, He wouldn’t have called you to it. Be strong, courageous and confident. Take your next step today and trust that God is with you and will be faithful to help you complete it.