“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”
-1 Kings 19v11-12
How often do we focus on the wind and the rain and not the silent intervals of a storm? How often do we search for the powerful acts of God, that we miss the quiet, gentle works that He is doing?
But now that I am here, can I really handle that?
Before coming on my YWAM outreach I heard several stories from former DTS students. They all had these unbelievable stories of how God moved in incredible, obvious ways. How He used them and showed them his will and power. I could not wait for my outreach and to experience many of these things. I could not wait to see God at work.
We would be on an island that is nearly entirely Hindu and Islamic. Our ministry would not consist of amazing amounts of salvations and miracles. Instead we would be serving in practical ministries, and spending nights in intense prayer and intercession. God had told me before outreach that we would be doing plenty of seed planting but little harvesting. At the time I was okay with that. But now that I am here, can I really handle that?
My heart held my will, and it was clenching it tight.
I had my own expectations for outreach. I did not mean for them to be expectations, I simply believed that was what happens while on outreach. You see God move. Unfortunately, I was only searching for God in the extravagant, supernatural ways. I never stopped to consider that maybe He was moving in a different way. My faith was small, my faith was dependent on the physical, on the seen. I wanted to see things happening, and I was expectant on God to meet my plans for outreach.
God began to speak to me about laying down my will. I looked at my life; it looked as though I was doing a decent job at that. Then, I looked at my heart. The yearning to see God at work was at the top of my idol list. I had spent two weeks of my outreach waiting for God to follow my agenda. My heart held my will and it was clenching it tight.
By placing God in a box of powerful, miraculous deeds, and only watching for the thunder and the wind, I was missing out on all the work he was doing. I was missing out on the blessings and opportunities He was giving my team. I was missing out on trusting that He is at work even if I cannot see it happening.
This is not my outreach, this is God’s outreach.
Sometimes God works through simple, practical ways. Like teaching English to children and hotel staff. Or visiting a young lady who will spend a third of her life in a foreign prison. He even works through relationships, such as providing opportunities for you to make friends with two ladies who sell you vegetables at the local morning markets. Or by leading you towards two girls on the beach who you will become instant friends with. Finally what I believe is his favorite, God works through serving. He presents opportunities for you to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ, and encourage them. Whether if it is by allowing them to have a day free from their responsibilities so they can spend time with their Father, or if it is preparing and serving them afternoon tea and filling them with delicious fruits.
After I laid down my will for this outreach I began to see more and more of the blessings God was giving my team. Once I quieted my own wants, I was able to hear the wants of God. For in reality, this is not my outreach, this is God’s outreach. Who am I to question the plans He has made for it?
He is a still, gentle voice.
My God is not fleeting, He is eternal. He does not work for the momentary, He works for the everlasting. I was in a mindset of the here and now, I was blind to the things that last forever. This outreach is not about what we are doing now, but instead of what is to come. It is the future of the ministries and missionaries already here, it is the future of children. It is about paving a way practically through breaking down language barriers, and paving spiritually by breaking down demonic barriers for those to come.
God is not a noisy destructive storm or a burning fire. God is calm, He is caring, He is practical, He is relational, He is serving. He is a still, gentle voice. When He is gentle and quiet His power is magnified.