Me: God, I can’t take this. I honestly think I’m falling apart.
God: What would be so wrong with you falling apart?
Me: Well…I mean, I’ve got this thing you gave me to do. And I don’t think I can do it anymore. I think I’m going to have to go sell French fries at McDonald’s.
God: Who told you you couldn’t work at McDonald’s?
For a long time I have been working in jobs that are not my calling. I’ve been employed in my current job longer than my entire pastoral career. But still, in my heart of hearts, I know that God has called me to preach and teach.
And there are days where not preaching or teaching, not being in the job I know I supposed to be in drives me crazy. I feel like I’m dying on the inside, or I’m being unfaithful to God, or I have failed as a Christian.
Jonathan Martin’s new book, How To Survive A Shipwreck, talks about two central exchanges he had with God, throughout his life. They all boiled down to the quote above.
That resonated with me because I know I have had the same conversations with God. I have been frustrated and unsure when I am not doing what I know God has called me to. I feel like I’m wasting away when I’m not preaching and teaching. Or in the words of Martin, “falling apart”.
How powerful a reminder that I am not alone in these feelings, and neither are you. And that these feelings aren’t wrong.
Then God’s response…an uneasy reminder to say that least. Whether I am working in the job that He has called me to or not, He is working. It may be small. It may be a complete overhaul, but God is working.
And working in me was the key that made me the most uneasy. Most of the time, I think that God is working on other people, on the situation, because that is where the problem must lie. But the truth is, I am a mess of saint and sinner. I am a patient in the midst of an operation, and I need to let a Holy Physician do his work.
That might be painful, it might mean I feel like I’m falling apart. It might mean I work in places and with people that I never thought I would. It might mean that I head in the opposite direction, away from the call and job that God has on me. But that doesn’t mean it is the end.
You might be falling apart. You might feel far away from where you are supposed to be. I feel like that often.
But look at the conversation that Martin and God had again.
God doesn’t say that the calling is gone. God doesn’t abandon him. Even though the shipwreck, even though the winding journey, God is there. God is at work, no matter where we may go, and in what state we travel. This is true for Jonathan Martin. This is true for me. This is true for you.
You may be in the same place as I am, not in the place of our calling, or maybe you are feeling like you are falling apart. Take heart. You are not alone.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:5
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