This Versus That: God’s Gentle Persuasion

(ROCKWALL/HEATH, TX – April 9, 2017) I tried to push the sewing needle through the layers of fabric again and again before assuming I had a dull needle. Choosing another one, I kept at it—without success.

Everyone around me in the quilters’ club worked easily while I spent half an hour trying to make one stitch. Embarrassed, I mentally scratched this activity off my list of possible ministries to join at our new church.

Yet, besides the embarrassment, I felt struck by the realization that God may have actually answered the prayer I had prayed before heading to the church that night: Please help me to know if I belong in this group.

Driving back home, I felt disappointed about missing the opportunity to spend time with the older members of that group, women with a lifetime of wisdom I could’ve tapped into. And I wondered if it really mattered to God whether I chose to serve in this ministry or another.

The Epistle of James supplies an answer to that question:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15*).

Those few verses remind me that God knows our future. And he’s willing to provide wisdom and direction based on his foreknowledge—if we ask him(James 1:5).

Jesus, preparing for his death on the cross and return to heaven, comforted his disciples with a promise of the Holy Spirit: “another Counselor… he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

Soon after my quilting club failure, our pastor’s wife asked me to consider serving as a coordinator for a women’s ministry, which would involve recruiting volunteers. I felt unsuited—and unenthusiastic—about this role. Yet, after praying about it, I sensed the gentle persuasion of the Holy Spirit.

I couldn’t believe my good “luck” when a woman signed up to assist me and soon began recruiting senior-adult friends. For the next ten years, I served regularly with more than a dozen well-seasoned saints.

I’m thankful God knows best about this versus that. 

*This and all verses taken from the New International Version (NIV Bible)

By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter of Heath.  

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