I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s post is from the bestselling author of Love & Respect, Emerson Eggerichs. His latest book, The 4 Wills of God, launched on April 1. You may have had questions about what God’s will is for your life. If so, this is a very helpful book for you.
By Emerson Eggerichs
When you received Christ, you received eternal life. But something else transpired. I will share two truths that changed me, and still are. I am in process. Jesus captures these two ideas when He says in John 14:20, “you in Me, and I in you.” Again in John 15:4 He says, “Abide in Me, and I in you.”
This raises the question: What does it mean for you to be in Christ and Christ in you?
This is important because there will come moments of questioning. Back in 2003, at age fifty-one, I wrote in my journal:
“For me, twenty-seven years ago, at age twenty-five, I decided to wait on God for twenty-five years before I authored a book. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned at age fifty a national ministry. Well, fifty has come and gone. I am now fifty-one. Unlike Henry Blackaby, a friend and author of Experiencing God, who has five thousand requests to speak, I have none on the table at present. This doesn’t sound like a national ministry to me because it isn’t. What I envisioned happening has not happened, and may never happen. Is God unfaithful? Or, have I set up a formula with stringent expectations? The carnal deal is: ‘I wait for twenty-five years and You are obligated to act when I anticipate You acting.’ I could get depressed and say, ‘Forget it, God.’ Or, I can quote the Lord, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts.’ I can focus my heart on Him. I can abide in Him and enjoy my relationship with Him, knowing who I am in Him. As Paul said, ‘unknown yet known.’ Clyde McDowell, my good buddy is now dead. Dying of a brain tumor soon after becoming President of Denver Seminary was not part of Clyde’s plan. Before dying he wrote a pamphlet, The Unexpected Journey. Clyde did not expect this. Along with Clyde, I must show myself faithful, not believe I am running in vain, and not grow weary and lose heart. What matters is my fellowship with Christ who indwells me, and understand and enjoy who I am in Him.”
I still recall the moment Clyde called me to tell me of the tumor and to ask for prayer. Sarah and I prayed for Clyde’s earthly healing, but the Lord in His wisdom directed the steps of Clyde to a heavenly healing. All of us must allow for the unexpected journey.
This teaching about me being in Christ and Christ being in me helped me in the face of what appeared to be delays if not denials to my prayer requests. This served me to continue to ask for Him to reveal His unique will even though years passed in the face of apparent silence about His unique will on many fronts. I don’t mean to downplay God’s unique will, but at one level, it didn’t matter once I knew who I was in Christ and what God felt about me. I had confidence that He was listening and caring though I heard nothing from Him.
Some folks stop trusting and following the Lord because they interpret the long periods of silence to mean that God doesn’t care or have the power to orchestrate their lives. They draw negative conclusions about the character of God based on their seasons of silence. They shut down on the four wills instead of finding pleasure from knowing they are pleasing Him, even if He does not respond to them as they hoped.
Thus, we must keep in mind two things: One, God’s timing usually differs from our own. Two, He may direct us in unforeseen ways.