In these times of economic uncertainty and belt tightening, many have lost their jobs due to downsizing. So when our conference voiced concern that due to budgetary considerations, several jobs would need to be cut, I believe that most pastors and office staff felt anxious. I know I did! And when I heard that I was one to be cut, I sat in disbelief.
Am I angry? Am I bitter? Am I talking badly about my conference now?
The answer to all of the above is NO! Folks finer than myself were cut.
Last Christmas I gave everyone in my office a little yellow booklet that had greatly impressed me: Help in Daily Living, which includes the last four chapters from Ministry of Healing. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I see now that the Lord was preparing me for the change that would occur in my life. Inspired advice such as this quotation has sustained me: “Many who profess to be Christ’s followers have an anxious, troubled heart because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him, for they shrink from the consequences that such surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender they cannot find peace” (Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, p. 480-81).
Why was I anxious? Do I really believe and trust in God?
There are only two choices in this life—either I trust God and depend wholly on Him, or I trust in self and depend wholly on myself. There is no in between!
My life is not my own. I gave it to Christ years ago. And if I really belong to Christ, then I must trust Him. Anything else is just a sham! Faith is easy when things are going well. It’s when things seem out of control that the real rubber meets the road. Difficult times reveal who is really in charge of our lives.
If Christ is in charge of my life, then He has a master plan that includes a blessing for myself and for others. Romans 8:28 reminds us again that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” God uses our life to work out His will for us. Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do in my life but it is God’s idea of what He wants to do in my life. I am again reminded that He is the boss and that Father does know best.
Of course, the enemy is always right there trying to stir up unhealthy feelings—but our faith must press through the dark shadow he puts in front of us. We must not give him a foothold!
I understand now that God is broadening my ministry of training people to enlarge the work and glorify His name. I believe that His plans were much larger than mine. At first glance it seemed that He had abandoned me, but now I realize that this was only part of His magnificent plan.
Another thought from that booklet gives me courage: “We cannot afford to let our spirits chafe over any real or supposed wrong done to ourselves. Self is the enemy we most need to fear… We should not allow our feelings to be easily wounded. We are to live, not to guard our feelings or our reputation, but to save souls” (Ministry of Healing, p. 485, emphasis supplied).
I have much more important things to do than worry and fret, like sharing the precious charms of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to a dying world. So it’s off to another training event… another Bible study! What a privilege, and a pleasure.
Karen Lewis, former director for the Bible worker training program for her local conference, is now working independently conducting training for churches and conferences in lay outreach. She is the author of the Lifting up Jesus lessons by Color Press. Her website is www.liftingupjesus.net.