November 25, 2019
Do any of the following thoughts sound familiar to you?
“I’m still hanging in there, trying my best, but sometimes it feels like I’m barely making any headway. Pretty much everything I was counting on has fallen flat. Finances are low and I’m struggling with discouragement, wondering if I did something wrong.
“Where do I go from here? Do I hang on to what the Lord initially showed me to do, or do I change plans? How long does He want me to hold on when what I was expecting doesn’t seem to be materializing?”
If you are or have been facing some version of the scenario expressed above, it might seem as though things shouldn’t be happening the way they are. You might feel that since the Lord gave you His confirmation on your plans, it seems that you should be seeing His blessings manifested in the form of at least some supply and open doors, or some substantial progress toward your goals.
Life can look pretty bleak when you find yourself at such a point. But often the sought-for results are just delayed for the time being. They may come with more time. Until that happens, maybe there’s something else that the Lord is trying to draw your attention to. Or maybe the Lord has a different plan. Maybe He started you out on a certain course in order to get you to a particular place, where He’ll then show you the next step—something different from what you were expecting or planning.
But it’s important to remember that even the small things and the people you meet—that’s all part of changing the world. That’s part of helping people and making an impact—one heart at a time! Our job for the Lord isn’t necessarily about big accomplishments and big works. Big and prominent works usually grow out of many small acts done faithfully. We want to influence people for good, and sometimes that happens in big ways and other times it happens in small ways. The Bible says Jesus went about doing good.1 He healed people and fed the 5,000 and walked on the water, but He also spent a lot of time encouraging and praying for individuals and teaching them.
Things just take time. It takes a lot of patience when you’re building a new venture or business or work. It rarely yields fruit right away. Like this little devotional message that I read this morning: “If in climbing a mountain you keep your eyes on each stone or difficult place as you ascend, seeing only that, how weary your climb. But if you think of each step as leading to the summit of achievement from which glories and beauties will open before you, then your climb will be so different.”2
I wonder if maybe the Lord wants to make you aware of how important some of these seemingly little things you’re doing actually are. Could it be that perhaps you’re not seeing the value of all those things that you are doing day by day because you’re comparing them to the “greater” things that you wish you could be doing and that you know you’re capable of? Maybe that’s why it feels like you’re spinning your wheels while doing these other things, instead of realizing how valuable they are. There is such a wealth of possibilities that may come about because you just go about “doing good” and teaching others by your example. As Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”3
Even though you may not be reaching as many people collectively right now as you might reach later with a more far-reaching ministry, who knows but that one or two of the people you meet today may go on to reach many more people.
Plus, I think that learning to look at things the way God looks at them is an extremely valuable quality and one that is difficult to develop. The things that we minimize or dismiss as not so great in value can be very valuable in the Lord’s eyes. It’s a matter of faith, because often the things that the Lord values don’t look like much at first glance. But if we look at the things that we’ve been doing lately through this filter, maybe we can see some accomplishments.
The Lord sometimes provides us the opportunity to stop, look, and listen. He slows us down sometimes—by sickness or closed doors or changes of circumstances—so we can reflect and see where our core values are, where we want to go, and what is the true meaning of life, so we don’t just rush headlong into anything and everything. He uses these times to help us to see clearly what our goals are and to make wise decisions. He wants us to get filled up with Him and see that He values us for ourselves, and He values our love for Him, and He is proud of us for making the best of whatever situation He has put us in.
If we could look at things through the Lord’s eyes, we might realize that we are doing the most important thing just by following Him and showing His love to others as we go.
Our mission doesn’t only consist of great big things. Actually, it’s often all those little things that add up to be great things. Any big thing is usually made up of a multitude of smaller things. If you can be patient and have faith even when He hasn’t opened the doors you had hoped for, if you can realize how important what you’re doing now is in pointing others to Jesus and helping them to grow closer to Him, that will bring contentment.
If you are seeking His will and doing your best to do what you know to do, and nothing else has materialized, then I believe you can trust that you’re right where He wants you, doing the things He wants you to do.
When you face times of uncertainty, it can test your faith. But when you keep moving forward and carrying on in your service for Him, that’s something you can be proud of. There is no reason to believe that God is not going to come through for you today and in the future. He’s brought you this far through all these years. He’s still got more for you to do.
Whenever you have a change in your job or in your life or your calling, there’s normally a learning curve for the next stage. This interim period is an important time of preparation for what is next. You have to find a new groove and get the Lord’s mind on your new circumstances and challenges. If you take the time that you need to seek Him about things, and stay close to Him and His Word, I know He’ll come through for you.
Regardless of whether you think you’re impacting people in a big way or not, as you share your faith and His love with others, you can know that your witness is changing hearts one by one. When your heart and mind are stayed on Jesus, then you can claim that perfect peace of knowing that He’s working in your life and He doesn’t fail.
Originally published on April 2011. Adapted and republished November 2019.
Read by Carol Andrews.
Copyright © 2024 The Family International