God’s Timing - Part 1

I apologize for yesterday's broken link for the devotional. This one is the one from yesterday re-posted. Please let me know if there are any issues with this one, media@mylivinghope.church

Justin Shields

Today we’re talking about God's timing in our life. How many of you reading this are wishing God's timing was ours? I know for me personally I am an “I want it now” kinda guy. I know its a work in progress for many, so I felt led to share a personal story on God's timing in my life. I hope you will follow my devotionals for the next few days to see how God's timing can not always be ours.

Almost 6 years ago my family and I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of our lives when we decided to leave this church. We all had different reasons within the family, but we knew it was time to part ways. With lots of prayer, and hurt hearts, we knew we should start looking for another church that would allow our family to grow in a different way. When we began the new church, I had never felt such different emotions in all my life. You can say I was pretty depressed and discouraged. After not feeling very welcome by people at this church for weeks, I began to start asking myself if this was really what God wanted me to do. I believe it was, but I wasn't in my heart ready to make that change. I had left my heart at Living Hope after 19-20 years of service. It wasn't until one day I remember what I had told my friend Brian in our Sunday School class when he first started visiting. I told him, “You came to this church for a reason. You came to share your heart and love to us. It is just as much your job to put in the effort as it is for our church.” I remember him looking at me like I was a jerk, but from that day forward Brian gave everything he had to this church. He loved this church because he gave to the church. He quickly realized church is more than sitting in a pew waiting to be fed. The church was about giving yourself without always wanting something in return.

That next week I decided to go by myself to a Wednesday night Bible study they were having. I still didn't really know anyone and for weeks nobody even spoke to me. I would come home and tell my wife this church stunk and I hated the fact I left our other church and friends. My wife assured me it would get better in time and that we needed to give it a chance. Well, because I was so patient I knew it had to be true. :)

After weeks of going to church, Bible study, and prayer on Sunday night, people began to start recognizing me. I would get a “Hi Eric,” hand shake from a deacon, or a little nod with a smile. Before long, these eventually started becoming fist bumps and hugs. I could finally feel the same love that Living Hope had and what I missed so much of.

I'm going to fast forward almost two years later. I was already playing in the praise band, went on a mission trip to Mexico, landscaped gardens at the church, and was just about to be asked to become a deacon there. During this time I was building a new relationship with the Worship Pastor. I also was building one with the Pastor. Unfortunately the two of them did not see eye to eye about some serious things and the Worship Leader was fired. My heart was once more broken. I felt I had to make a decision once more to follow my heart, or follow what was comfortable. I had spent the past two years building new relationships and opportunities within the church, and I was giving everything I had to my new church home. During this time some things were going on here at Living Hope. Without going into details, the Pastor here was let go. Almost to the week, I am watching what I think is Satan’s biggest attack in my life. Two churches that I care about deeply going through the worst possible situations. I never felt such helplessness when it came to church in my entire life. I knew that I needed to leave the other church for many different reasons, but I had no idea what I could do for Living Hope.

After about a week of prayer and conversation with my family, we decided we would come and help Living Hope with the V.B.S. that summer. During this same time we thought we would pray about where else we could go and visit, since in my mind we were done with Living Hope, and my heart had finally healed from that pain of living.

A week or so had gone by and something that I could not have imagined in a million years happened. My brother was asked to be the new Pastor. This was not something he ever felt led to do, but agreed to the challenge if the church would support me to come on staff with him to help. Never in a million years did I think my wife and family would ever agree to this. I remember my brother and I talking and saying, “If this is something God and the church really want, then we need to get a 95% approval.” Basically at this time, that only allowed 1 person to say no. If we had more than 1 person not approve of this calling, we both would have declined the position.

I think about this all the time. How God, in His timing, arranged and worked out what seemed to be a nightmare into something so imaginable that only God, in His mercy, could have pulled off.

As I sit in my office this morning writing this I think of my friend Brian Booth, for his testimony to our church. How we all have to put forth an effort whether we are a visitor or a member. Then I think about my life at the other church and how God allowed them to humble me. I feel the lessons I learned over there have helped me here today. I cannot even begin to thank Living Hope for the encouragement and support they have shown my brother and I. Looking back, I truly feel that in God's timing He gave me my hearts desire and much more.

It is my prayer today that if you are having a hard time, please know that God is listening. You have to believe He wants nothing but the best for you. You may have to go through a hard period of time, but it’s only because He is working out things for you. His ways and His thoughts are not always ours. Be patient and be willing to wait on the Lord to direct your path.

Thank you Living Hope for your love and your support.

God bless,

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