WHAT'S THAT, YOU SAY?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Have you ever been fooled by what you thought was God's leading?

The church where I last preached for fifteen years was looking for a new preacher. They indicated they might be considering me to "fill in" a few Sundays and maybe for every Sunday until they could find someone. But they didn't call! Days and weeks went by and I was praying and waiting and wondering. I wanted to be of help if needed and God seemed to be leading in that direction.

One day I was floating in the pool, looking at the beautiful sky and clouds and thinking about God. I was talking to him as I often do and I said, "Father, if you want me to preach at Lincoln Heights I need to know about it. I have got to get on with my life. If one of the elders doesn't call today I am going to forget about it. If they call later when I am involved in other things I am going to say "No." Now, I'm not suggesting you pray like this or start " putting out fleece" or anything like that, I'm just saying this is what I did.

Shortly after that I got out of the pool and went in the house and was getting ready to "jump" into the shower. The phone rang and it was an elder. He asked me to come to Lincoln Heights and preach for the month of September. I was standing, buck naked, with the phone in my hand talking to an elder. I felt like he could see me. When I hung up I said, "Well Lord, you certainly do have a sense of humor. You caught me with my pants down this time. I wanted a call today but I never expected You to act this fast."

I saw that call as a sign from God. I have been learning to PAY ATTENTION!

Well, to make a long story short. That same elder called back today to say they have a new preacher who will be coming in September. He had to get his young children enrolled in school here. Bottom line: They don't need me after all.

Disappointed? Yes! But I told this long story to say this: If I can so readily accept the invitation to preach as the leading of God then I must accept the withdrawing of the invitation as a sign from God. He has closed the door. And disappointed as I may be, I am accepting His decision and I am excited to see what adventure He is leading me to next. I want to be ready when He calls and not be caught with my pants down.

How about you? Are you paying attention to the leading of God?

25 comments:

Lori said...

Cliff, you managed to uplift, edify and instruct all at the same time! Great post, I am so glad God has a sense of humor aren't you? Lori

Whidbey Woman said...

:) God answers prayer! Sometimes in the most unexpected circumstances. Lol.
Happy Spiritual Sunday, Clif.

Loren said...

OK!!! That is just tooo funny and doggone it I am disappointed too! I can only imagine how this story would be great from the Pulpit....well, at least the first half! You know what though, God knows your heart, HE know you have sought HIM, Obeyed HIM and now accept HIS will and honestly as a parent I can only imagine how "pleased" HE must be with you Clif! Isn't that how we all want the Lord to be with us?? PLEASED
Even in your disappointment you inspire me my friend!
Thank you for that!

Love and blessings!

Virginia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mevely317 said...

Wonderfully put, Clif.
"Thy will be done" can sometimes feel like a bitter pill!
As you say, it's so much better to anticipate and look forward.

Virginia said...

Cliff ,You are a very inspiring and funny men. Enjoyed your story a lot, amusing and well-advised .
Thank God, He created us with a sense of humor and with the ability to laugh at ourselves.
Joy & Blessings,
Virginia

Daughter of the KING said...

Cliff, I enjoyed your post today! You have a way to tell it like it is. I admire that! I also must say we too have been in waiting for 6 years now - from a full time position as a director of counseling in a great church to God why have you brought us here. I too will wait and pray that I am ready when the call comes! God doesn't have unfinished business, right?

Blessings,
Linda J

Dianne said...

That is so funny, Clif. But you did get your prayer answered, right??

Happy Spiritual Sunday!

Merana Leigh said...

GREAT post & SOOOO true! It is SO hard when we put so much trust in Him & get the answer we were hoping for, only to have the door close. But for those of us who trust Him so much, we realize that it's only something THAT MUCH BETTER for us & others that will come.
I BUSTED out laughing ... standing "exposed" before Him in answer to your prayer. {giggling now!} And yes He DOES have a sense of humor. I remember praying once that "if this is what You want for me, let me see a monarch butterfly". Next thing I know - SPLAT against my window...was a monarch butterfly. Ummm....how do I take that one -- the answer b/c I saw it? or don't go that route b/c it splatted? LOL!
The only thing I can say that the Holy Spirit shared with me is when praying & earnestly seeking His counsel, if you don't have a peace about the decision, it's not from Him & was reminded of John 14:27. Even just sitting in limbo with no definitive answer, is an answer if you have peace about it. He's telling you that He's working everything ELSE out about the situation to which He will call you soon. Just sit in that place & wait for Him as it tells us in Psalm 37:7.
Great post! Thanks so much for sharing. Will be praying for what better things He has in store for you!
Hugs ~ Merana

sarah said...

Hi Cliff. this really made me smile. Loved how you wrote it and what you said. Hits home. You so inspire...and with a sense of humour.

Pain to Purpose said...

What a great attitude to have in time of disappointment. There is a song we sing at church: He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say, Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Saleslady371 said...

Clif, this is a great teaching. I bet you are a wonderful pastor. I'm going to ask Charlotte & Ginger if you can be our Spiritual Sundays Pastor and teach us every week. Bet you have bunches of lessons in your files. I'm eager to learn.

Renee said...

Great story....put a smile on my face and had me nodding my head with how something seems to fall into place and then change so quickly...All we are left with is our trust in God...not a bad place to be!

Meredith said...

I loved this post Clif! I confess that I am often discouraged when things like this happen to me. In fact, I was just talking to someone about it this week. I will often feel like I obviously misread Him and it makes me wonder if I know His voice at all. This blog encouraged me along those lines. For whatever the reason...God does indeed have a reason. I just pray that I will be able to hear you preach again.

Joan said...

Indeed your prayer was answered - and yes, I believe God does have a sense of humor.

God has plans for you, Clif. His plans aren't always what we expect, but are always best.

Blessings,
Joan

sewingseeds4U said...

Great post. It seems that sometimes God answers prayer and then closes the door just to make sure we're still listening. Sorry for the disappointment. Patty

Merana Leigh said...

Me again. Just wanted to thank you for sharing your "library" on the sidebar. I spent some time on Amazon looking at review & descriptions & can't wait to get some of these from the library. Really looking fwd to Lumby series! (I LOVED Mitford) ~ Merana

Anita Johnson said...

Love the story and the message it contained too! :-)

Mildred said...

Thanks for sharing this Clif. My husband is disabled and we felt led to put our home for sale last Dec. We prayed, we waited, we thought it was sold then it wasn't. As you say, we were disappointed BUT we felt like God made the answer very clear. We have now taken the house off the market and as you say, we eagerly await what the Lord has in store for us. My sister, Karen @ Lily Valley, and I have had this same type of discussion before. Thanks again.

The Paint Splash said...

Oh Cliff, I can only imagine how difficult that phone call was. you made me laugh today, thank you. I am sure you were disappointed but isn't wonderful know God is in control. Have a blessed week. Debbie

Gayle said...

Very funny, Clif. Just recently, I was so wrong about something that seemed so right. I still get angry at myself over the whole ordeal.

A Busy Single Mom said...

Very humorous and encouraging! The Lord definitely has other plans and ways to use you! And, as others have pointed out, your prayer was answered that day! Thank you for your generous comments on my blog.

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

Thanks for a delightful Spiritual Sunday. I love God's sense of humor. And this was such a good reminder of Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust Him, don't lean on our own understanding, and HE will make our paths straight - even if they don't always seem like it. :) Very encouraging!

Cathy said...

Smiling, a cute story, Clif ~ I'm sorry you did not get to preach. But I know God has good plans for your life. Blessings ~

bp said...

This was very encouraging to me to pay attention to God and His leading. Please keep our family in your prayers as we have some upcoming big decisions and situations we are seeking God about.