As I was skimming through this article, Has God Called You?, by Albert Mohler, I nodded in TOTAL agreement to the bolded part below.
One key issue here is a common misunderstanding about the will of God. Some models of evangelical piety imply that God's will is something difficult for us to accept. We sometimes confuse this further by talking about "surrendering" to the will of God. As Paul makes clear in Romans 12:2, the will of God is good, worthy of eager acceptance, and perfect. Those called by God to preach will be given a desire to preach as well as the gifts of preaching. Beyond this, the God-called preacher will feel the same compulsion as the great Apostle, who said, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" [1 Corinthians 9:16, ESV]
Consider your calling. Do you sense that God is calling you to ministry, whether as pastor or another servant of the Church? Do you burn with a compulsion to proclaim the Word, share the Gospel, and care for God's flock? Has this call been confirmed and encouraged by those Christians who know you best?
God still calls . . . has He called you?
When I was finishing up grad school in 2002-2003, I was faced with "what next?"
I actually considered the fact that I desired to be in Taiwan a sign that it must not be God's will for me. I actually thought that I should have to struggle and surrender to a task that I didn't want to do in order for it to be pleasing to God.
WHAT!?!?! Why would I think such a thing?
So, I started looking at other countries. Some friends in Japan had invited me to come work along side them, so I replied with interest. I began to look at organizations that I could serve with in China.
Then another terrible thought occurred to me . . . "what if it is not Asia?" So, I contemplated South America and Africa.
I cannot explain in mere words what this was doing to my heart. I was willing to follow God anywhere He wanted to send me, but I was sure that meant I must suffer, that I couldn't be happy or joyful about it. Why I fell prey to this evangelical piety line of thinking remains to me a mystery.
However, this reopening of looking for a place to go was making me much like those waves in the first chapter of James--driven and tossed by the wind. I remember in at least one sermon long ago, my dad compared that Greek word used there to the agitation cycle of a washing machine. The twist and turn, twist and turn of all that water going no where. Yep, that what it was . . . my heart stuck in a perpetual spin-cycle of emotion.
By God's merciful grace, a godly couple I had met on a mission trip to Hong Kong some years before were in town and wanted to meet up. As we sat in the Chinese restaurant, and I poured out my heart, expressing my desire to
follow God suffer for God.
Oh, I will never, ever forget the looks on their faces. I was unable to discern the falsehood of the evangelical piety lies I had fallen subject to, but they sure were able to. They responded first in utter shock to the words spewing from my mouth and then with loving kindness spoke scripture to me.
For the first time in months, I was able to see that when we follow God's will there IS joy. And that is OK. That being obedient, although not easy and not without sacrifice, is a thing that is full of joy and happiness. Oh how everything changed that day! Praise God for the people in our lives who speak the truth in love to us!
Please don't hear me wrong--being obedient is not easy. But that doesn't mean it must be a dreadful, terrible thing that we will hate doing. God is kind. Like that second quote by Betty Scott Stam I posted two weeks ago, when we release the little trinkets we've been clinging to, He replaces them with precious treasures. Letting go of those little trinkets might seem hard at the time, but accepting those precious treasures? Never.
Our God is a God who gives desires to His children who delight in him. How neat is that!?! Oh, what a great God He is!!
God's will is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). Amen!