I was more than disappointed, I was angry – angry at God for waiting until the very last minute to close a door of opportunity that had opened for me six months prior. I did not go looking for a new career, but when it came knocking on my door, I was intrigued, so I applied. The recruiter said I was a great fit. The interview panel loved me. The hiring officials told me that my skills, leadership style, and expertise were exactly what they needed. Then God closed the door.
After receiving the news, I sat in my car in the parking lot in disbelief. I did not understand why God would allow me to spend so much energy on something that was never His will. Three years prior, I had a vision that God would call me out of my Federal career. When I was approached about the prospect of becoming the Human Resources Director for a local entity, I believed this was the door leading to my calling. The opportunity had risks; to accept meant giving up the security of a 25-year Federal career for the instability of an ‘at-will’ position, and I would have to discard thousands of hours of accumulated annual and sick leave. The workday would be long as would the commute, but I believed God was telling me to go, so I went.
That evening, I took a walk to clear my head. I felt horrible for being angry with God, yet I wasn’t quite ready to talk to Him. As I scuffled along the leaf-covered sidewalk, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper the word ‘obey’ in the breeze, and then the movie Field of Dreams came to mind.
This classic, Kevin Costner fantasy drama about baseball is one of my favorites. The storyline centers around an Iowa farmer named Ray Kinsella who, while walking through his cornfield, hears a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come.” He sees a vision of a baseball diamond in the cornfield and believes that he is supposed to plow his field and build the diamond. Although he does not understand, he takes a step of faith and builds the field. Throughout the movie, Ray is given messages upon which, he must act before receiving further direction. Ray naturally grows frustrated and angry that his obedience has yet to unveil the purpose behind the field, until one day, it is all revealed. Suddenly, Ray understands – everything makes perfect sense. His faith and obedience to walk through open doors, despite his lack of understanding, was rewarded in the end.
God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), but He is a kind and loving Father whose plans and purpose for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11). I was reminded of this as I replayed the actions of Ray in my mind. My heart softened and my spirit repented as I realized what God was doing in my own life. He was teaching me about obedience.
Like Ray, I have a calling and a purpose. We both acted upon promptings and walked through opened doors, even though neither of us understood why. Ray and I were willing to sacrifice for what we believed we were being called to do, and we took the leaps of faith necessary to do it. Neither Ray nor I waivered at adversity or listened to the nay-sayers – we plowed on. We obeyed. At the end of the hour and forty-five-minute movie, Ray’s calling and purpose were fulfilled and he reaped the benefits of his unwavering obedience.
I have yet to reach the end of my story. As I pen this blog, my story is still being written, but I know God is pleased. I passed the “Obedience Test”. When the time comes, He knows He can trust me to take another leap of faith, no matter how big or small, He knows I will plow on.
John 13:7 NIV
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Isaiah 1:19 NIV
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Heavenly Father, we come before you with humble hearts. We acknowledge that your ways are higher than our ways, and your wisdom surpasses our understanding. Help us when we find ourselves in situations where we don’t fully grasp Your plan, and we struggle to comprehend Your will for us. Help us to have the faith to obey you, even when the path before us is unclear. Give us the courage to act in accordance with Your will, knowing that You have promised to guide us. Grant us the patience to wait on your perfect timing, even when we desire immediate answers. Amen.