The God-Yielded Will
By James McConkey
Download Audio (8MB)
Talk God’s plan and consecration to it to Christian men and straightway many of them think you mean them to give up their business and head at once for the pulpit or the foreign missionary field. To come into God’s plan is to go into some other place, as they view it. But there never was a greater mistake. Consecration is not necessarily dislocation. Not by any means. God’s plan for a man’s life does not of necessity lift him out from his present realm of life and surroundings. It is not a new sphere God is seeking. It is a new man in the present sphere! It is not transference; it is transformation. The trouble is not usually with the place; it is with the man in the place. And when a man consecrates his life to God to find and enter into God’s perfect plan for that life, God will usually keep him right where he is, but living for God and His kingdom instead of living for self. So until God shows you differently, stay where you are and live for God. If God wants you elsewhere, He will lead you there; be sure to follow.
We have seen that consecration is not necessarily dislocation. Yet it may be. God may lift you clear out from the sphere in which you are moving. God may completely change your environment, as well as change you. God may take you out of your business or profession and send you to the uttermost parts of the earth as a chosen messenger of His. “But how will this come about,” do you say? As you do the next thing.
The golden chain of God’s great purpose for your life and mine is woven of the single links which we lay hold of, one at a time, along the pathway of daily opportunity. By and by, when we have gathered enough links, the chain begins to appear. The man who faithfully picks up the links need never fear about missing the chain. Therefore, do the next thing. As you do it, this thread of daily service becomes in God’s hands like the clue to a maze. By it God leads you on in your pathway until you are out from all the labyrinth of darkness and uncertainty, into the clear shining of His will for your life. Therefore, do it patiently, faithfully, lovingly. Teach the class, visit the sick, comfort the sorrowing, preach the Word, use the tract and leaflet, witness for Him just where you are. And as you thus serve, if God wants you elsewhere, He will surely lead you there. Only do you be sure to follow. And thus following, some of us will land in China, India, Africa. And some of us will abide just where we are. But all of us will be where He wants us, and that is, in the plan.
“Ah,” says someone, “this is all very well for the young and the strong who have all of life before them. But it is too late for me. My life has been full of blunders and failures. It is only after years of wandering that I have come to Christ. There is naught left for me but the memory of mistakes and the fragments of a vanished and broken life.” Listen, friend, to this truth: God is the only one who can take a seemingly shattered life and make a beautiful life from the fragments.
Have you ever heard this story? In a certain old town was a great cathedral. And in that cathedral was a wondrous stained-glass window. Its fame had gone abroad over the land. From miles around people pilgrimaged to gaze upon the splendor of this masterpiece of art. One day there came a great storm. The violence of the tempest forced in the window; and it crashed to the marble floor, shattered into a hundred pieces. Great was the grief of the people at the catastrophe which had suddenly bereft the town of its proudest work of art. They gathered up the fragments, huddled them in a box, and carried them to the cellar of the church.
One day there came along a stranger who craved permission to see the beautiful window. They told him of its fate. When he asked what they had done with the fragments, they took him to the vault and showed him the broken morsels of glass. “Would you mind giving these to me?” asked the stranger. “Take them along,” was the reply. “They are no longer of any use to us.” The visitor carefully lifted the box and carried it away in his arms. Weeks passed by; then one day there came an invitation to the custodians of the cathedral. It was from a famous artist, noted for his master skill in glass-craft. It summoned them to his study to inspect a stained-glass window, the work of his genius.
Ushering them into his studio, he stood them before a great veil of canvas. At the touch of his hand upon a cord the canvas dropped. And there before their astonished gaze shone a stained-glass window surpassing in beauty all their eyes had ever beheld. As they gazed entranced upon its rich tints, wondrous pattern, and cunning workmanship, the artist turned and said, “This window I have wrought from the fragments of your shattered one, and it is now ready to be replaced.” Once more a great window shed its beauteous light into the dim aisles of the old cathedral. But the splendor of the new far surpassed the glory of the old, and the fame of its strange fashioning filled the land.
Do you say that your plans have been crushed? Thank God and take heart. Have you not long since learned that the best place for many of your plans is the trash pile? And that often you must fling them there before your blinded eyes can see God’s own better plan for your life? And how is it with your life? Has sin blighted it? Have mistakes of early years seemingly wrecked it? Have joy and sweetness vanished from it? Does there seem nought left for you but to walk its weary treadmill until its days of darkness and drudgery shall end? Then know this: Jesus Christ is a matchless life mender. He will take that seemingly shattered life and fashion a far more beautiful one from its fragments than you yourself could ever have wrought from the whole. In Him your weary soul shall find its longed-for rest.
Why do I drift on a pathless sea,
With neither compass, nor star, nor chart,
When, as I drift, God’s own plan for me
Waits at the door of my slow-trusting heart?
Down from the heavens it drops like a scroll,
Each day a bit will my Lord unroll,
Each day a mite of the veil will uplift,
Why should I stray? Why falter and drift?
Drifting—while God’s at the helm to steer;
Drifting—when God lays the course, so clear;
Drifting—when straight into port I might sail;
Drifting—when heaven lies just within hail.
Help me, my God, in the plan to believe:
Help me my fragment each day to receive,
Oh, that my will may with Thine have no strife!
For the God-yielded will finds the God-planned life.1
Originally published in Life Talks: A Series of Bible Talks on the Christian Life, 1911.
Published on Anchor February 2013. Read by Simon Peterson.
1 Author unknown.