It’s so hard to follow God when He answers our prayers so differently than we imagined He would. I know I’ve experienced this many times in my own life and today I’m so thrilled to be welcoming my friend Stephanie Shott to the picket fence to share the lessons she learned when God answered a prayer in a way that didn’t make any sense at the time. I know we can all relate to this and I pray you are encouraged by her words!
I thought he had lost his mind! Costa Rica? That’s on the other side of the globe!
For seven years my heart heard drums pounding hard in the distance. I visioned lions lying in wait for their prey and Swahili spoken in villages full of precious people in need of Christ.
My prayers and plans had taken root in Africa but my new reality was beginning to unfold in an unfamiliar land and in an unexpected plan.
I knew God was calling us to the mission field for seven long years before my husband heard the call. Day after day I cried out to God to place on my husband’s heart the same passion He had placed on mine. At times the burden was too much to bear.
But one day, in the midst of the ordinary, God whispered His call to my husband’s heart and everything changed. Like a snowball down a steep hill, our circumstances rolled quickly in an entirely different direction than I had anticipated. God’s call was clearly to Costa Rica, but it just didn’t make sense.
I have to admit I began to freak out a bit. Okay – a lot! Costa Rica meant I had to learn Spanish not Swahili. Frustrated, frazzled and confused, I recklessly began a wrestling match of the Divine kind and I started begging God for answers…
Were all those years of prayer wasted? What about all that research? Lord, why would You lead me to pray like crazy for a country I would never step foot on? Why would my heart be broken for people I would never reach?
The Creator of the Universe was clearly blazing an irrefutable path to Costa Rica yet my heart still clung tight to Africa.
As I began to cry out for clarity in the midst of the madness, God gently breathed… “You prayed for Africa, didn’t you!?”
It was then I began to understand not every dream is meant to be fulfilled the way we think it should. My prayers were as real as my burden and not one of them was wasted. God had called my heart to Africa to pray like crazy for a people I would never meet and a place I would never go.
And then He chartered our course to a land I knew nothing about and a people I had never considered. Not so He could throw a wrench in my plans – not so He could rock my world and hurt my heart – but so He could remind me that real faith is following God even when it doesn’t make sense.
Not every good idea is a God idea. But we’re not the only ones whose grandest attempts to understand the totality of God’s plan led them to do what didn’t make sense.
• Abraham was called to charter a course for an unknown destination. I’m sure it didn’t make sense…but he was faithful.
• Moses was called to go toe-to-toe with Pharaoh. I’m sure it didn’t make sense…but he was faithful.
• Mary was called to be the mother of the Son of God. I’m sure it didn’t make sense…but she was faithful.
We don’t always understand the end in the beginning. The call rarely comes with a blueprint and is usually something that is beyond us. But aren’t you glad we can look at those who have gone before us and, like them, declare that regardless of whether or not it makes sense, we will be faithful.
I want to hear your story. What is God leading you to do that doesn’t make sense? Have you been in a wrestling match of the Divine kind recently? How can I pray for you today?
Stephanie Shott is a conference speaker, Bible teacher, author, and founder of The MOM Initiative, a ministry devoted to helping churches and missionaries impact their communities and this culture for Christ through the power of missional mentoring. She is called upon by media outlets to share her story of abuse, brokenness, and redemption. To find out more visit www.stephanieshott.com and www.themominitiative.com.