I don’t know how you see God at work in your life, but in mine He seems to reveal His will to me in a re-occurring fashion. Whenever I find myself passionate about a ministry opportunity and begin the steps of faith to move in that direction, I find myself being reminded that God has been preparing me for it from my past. I typically don’t see this right away but more as a confirmation afterwards. As Terri and I continue in our training for cross-cultural mission to unreached peoples, the opportunity that we sense God is leading us towards is one that will require great physical stamina. To fully serve the Lord in His calling we must prepare in mind, spirit, and body.
Growing up I was tall, thin, and terribly un-athletic. I was the slowest kid in junior high coming in last in the 100 yard dash. I remember the coach just shook his head when I finally crossed the finish line. In high school, I dropped out of football on the second day because I was too sore to move after the first day of training. After graduating high school I took a very physically demanding job as a roughneck on a drilling rig in south Texas. The experience taught me that while I lacked speed and strength, I found I had great determination and endurance. I stayed the course for 5 years, after which, I left the physical demands of the oilfield and took a job in the printing industry.
At age 30 I weighed 145 lbs. and allergies kept me sick most of the time. I actually thought I was dying. Determination kicked in and I decided that I wouldn’t go without a fight. I joined a gym and began working out. I went almost every day. I read books on weight lifting, drank gallons of weight gainer and protein drinks, and developed a very rigorous workout routine. Once again, I stayed the course and at age 33 I had an athletic build and weighed in at 180 lbs. I spent the few years training in different gyms until I took a job in management. The time required for my job took me away from the gym and basically ended my workout routine. Several years have passed since I’ve seen the inside of a gym.
Now at age 48, there is stirring in me the desire to get back into shape. I have to admit that my earlier motives were entirely selfish. Now, having hopefully grown in mind and spirit, my desire to be more physically fit are rooted in Kingdom purposes. As Terri and I have began working to get in better shape, we realize that it is not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those whom we are called to serve. The front room of our home is now the training ground for the physical demands of cross-cultural missions. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed a good workout. All of my past experiences are coming back as I develop a routine for better fitness. It is like coming full circle but with a new perspective, His perspective.
I hope you find encouragement from this brief testimony of how the Lord has been working in a very practical way in our lives. More importantly is how He has been working inwardly to show us His heart and desires. As Terri and I continue to prepare we know it is not in our strength but in His. Our service is founded in our love for our God. Psalm 18:1 says it very well, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” We are learning to lean upon Jesus as our strength and reminded how He can take the fullness of our lives and use it for His glory. So how has God been using your past to prepare you for His future?