Ministry is all about discerning the open doors and invitations to use our gifts to share the message of Christ. So, how do we handle those times of lull, when not much is happening and we are unsure of what to do next?
This is a question I’ve asked myself recently, after breaking my foot while speaking at a women’s retreat. My plan to leave my job and pursue writing and speaking full-time seemed to have a huge YIELD sign descend from above. Because of the fracture, I wasn’t able to finish my last week at the office, leaving without any goodbyes; I had to cancel the second weekend of speaking at the women’s retreat. What did it all mean? His plan obviously altered mine, but for what purpose?
My thoughts, rather than planning my next step of ministry, labored over every faltering step with my crutches. I submitted my heart, mind and will for my next move because I had no other choice. I know everything happens for a reason—and for some reason my broken foot was part of His plan.
Everything I’ve learned in Scripture tells me that when the cloud descends, to wait. I gained this principle from reading about the Israelite journey through the desert. When they left Egypt, God’s presence led them as a cloud by day and a fire by night. When the cloud descended, they made camp.
So, I’ve been ‘making camp’ for the last six weeks. I don’t want to move forward without Him, while the details of my destination are obscured by a misty haze. Something I’ve discovered in past clouds is to continue doing the last thing I received instruction about—so I am praying, listening, posting my blog, writing in my journal, and polishing some messages I have presented this year. I am ‘being faithful’ while I ask God to clarify the 5W’s:
- WHO is my audience?
- WHAT is my passion?
- WHEN is it time?
- WHERE is God leading?
- WHY does it matter?
As I seek to know whether this season is meant to slow me down long enough to reassess or clarify my next step, I am listening intently to Him.
I know the work He’s planned for me was planned from the beginning (Ephesians 2:10).
If I hadn’t broken my foot, I would have sprinted off in a direction as soon as I left my job. The cloud’s presence and my being a captive audience in my living room recliner help me to be still and know He is God: LORD over my broken foot; LORD over my life; LORD over my ministry.
It will be interesting to see HOW all things work together for good. This wasn’t part of my plans, but He has a way of orchestrating unique circumstances for His glory; and it’s part of the adventure in following His presence. I am praying to know how to proceed next, as soon as the cloud moves.
How is He leading you?
Jeanne Doyon’s ministry, Pausing to See God Clearly, encourages us to draw nearer to the Lover of our soul. She connects the truths in Scripture to the ordinary events of life and shares her reflections on her blog, The Stream’s Edge, as well as at women’s retreats and events.
Jeanne enjoys photography, tea, meeting with friends, and creating with beads. She and her husband John live in Connecticut; they have three grown children and a daughter-in-love, all who live too far away.
(When the Cloud Descends previously published at VondaSkelton.com on October 30, 2012.)