Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Through Stone Walls

Somebody once asked William Carey what made him successful in ministry. His answer? "I plod."

I have been doing a lot of plodding here in The Location. And I'm not bragging about plodding. There's nothing fun about it. There's nothing telling me for sure that my plodding will lead to any success. Mostly, I'm plodding because I don't know what else to do and don't feel that God has called me to do anything else. I am in this for the long haul.

We have been waiting for an important piece of paperwork from the government for two and a half years. (Three pieces, actually.) The government promises that an answer will be given in 15 days of submission of our proposal, and that the whole process will be completed in 45 days. Here we are roughly 900 days later and now they are telling us they are "putting it on hold" just when we thought we were about to finalize everything. So, what to do? Plod.

I know many others would have given up by now. And I'm not saying that is the wrong thing to do. However, I have never been one who has felt like obstacles were signs from God that we shouldn't continue down a certain path. I tend to believe that God makes us strong to meet those obstacles, overcome them, and then glorify him. I think a few hundred thousand former slaves of Egypt might agree with me after they finally climbed up the opposite shore of the Sea of Reeds.

I once heard a former missionary say, "I no longer believe in a God who leads us through open doors. I believe in a God who leads us through stone walls."

Me too.


  1. I just saw a stat the other day that said the average ministry here in the States was three years. The average guy stays in professional ministry for seven years. That means he'll be at roughly three churches before he gives up.

    I know guys I went to college with who are still in professional ministry, but have moved about every three years. Why? Obstacles. They couldn't do what they thought was necessary quickly enough. They took slowness as a sign of unfruitfulness, and bolted for a "better deal." It takes roughly seven years in one church to gain enough influence to make major changes. They barely made it halfway, and the cycle starts all over again.

    Struggle, obstacles, and simply waiting are a necessary part of what we're called to do. We do ourselves a huge disservice when we run from those things. How will we be able to endure the truly big things if we can't endure the little stuff (that only seems big at the moment)?

    As always, great stuff, K.

  2. Yeah...I had an i-Plod once. Stupid knock offs...

    wv: melike - "Melike the real iPods."

  3. I like this and re-launching a church in Juneau, AK- it feels much the same way. I wonder some days if it will make a difference and other days I am so filled with faith. There are many challenges and like you said, you just follow God.

    That said, I do feel there are times when we hold on to things or ideas that relate more to our thinking about God or things and He may show us that's not the way to go. The key is knowing God and listening closely...

    I love that quote at the end! Thanks for the great post.

  4. Yes, Jason, listening to God... you're right!