Do you ever feel like you prepared for one thing in your life but that didn’t work out and you are lost now. What do you do? Is your training worthless? Did you follow where you thought God was leading, only to find that your path was blocked? Did God make a mistake?
Well, the answer to the last question is an unequivocal NO. God did not, indeed He cannot, make a mistake.
I suggest that when your life path takes an unexpected twist that you find disconcerting or even disappointing, God is preparing you for His purpose.
When we were in England, we saw the quintessential examples of English life – the postal box and the telephone booth. The postal box was still used for its originally intended purpose.
However, just as in the U.S., the telephone booth was a thing of the past. As we noticed throughout the country, England has a history of preserving things rather than demolishing them. There were houses that were well over 500 years old, still in use and still as they were centuries ago, at least on the outside. Given that culture of preserving things, in the village of Watchfield, England, the telephone booth was not removed, it was simply put to another use.
While the phone connections were removed, shelves were installed and the antiquated phone booth became a Book Swap location. In fact, the booth probably had more business with people depositing, taking and returning books than it had before its “repurposing”.
When it appears that God fits you for one task and then that assignment changes, from a human perspective, we become discouraged and sometimes we even question whether we misunderstood what God wanted us to do in the first place.
I know because it is exactly what I experienced. I believed that God wanted me to be a teacher, specifically an elementary school teacher, when I went to college. After two years in ElemEd, I had less than a stellar grade in “Games and Rhythms”, a course that all the students took to get “an easy A”. I was active in music, both instrumentally and vocal, but for some reason I was almost flunking this course.
I spoke with my guidance counselor and he suggested that, perhaps, God was telling me to change my major. After considering that Math, Science and History were not realistic options for me, I changed my college major to English secondary education. In this drastically harder curriculum I had a grade level of 3.8 (out of 4, not 10).
I believed that God had a purpose for this curriculum change but that conviction was challenged when I could not find any teaching position upon graduation. Instead, I found myself working as a secretary/administrative assistant in banking and the law for the next 11 years.
Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.
1 Chronicles 16:23
Did I misunderstand what God wanted me to do? Was that wasted time? It certainly did not help me as a secretary but that doesn’t mean that they were wasted years.
I suggest that God used all of that training in various ways through the years. In working with children in youth clubs at church, in leading vacation Bible school events with young children, in teaching older children in Sunday School, in developing youth programs at various churches I have attended.
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
The digression from education into an office environment proved providential also – in each position that I held, my employer noted my abilities and suggested that I attend law school, even where there was no law school in the immediate area. Eleven years post-college, I did attend law school and a 30 year career as an attorney followed.
When the phone booth no longer is relevant, it is time to repurpose and it becomes a well-worn book swap. If we leave our spiritual eyes open, He will lead us. He will not leave you stranded … He loves you and He desires for you to be useful in His kingdom. He uses every event, every experience, every class … He uses everything in your past to pour into your future service for Him.
Why? Because He know exactly what His plan is for you.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
He not only has a plan, He wants us to tell others about what He has done in our life through His plan: we are to be witnesses to others about His grace and love.
saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in Him.”
God knows exactly who He is going to put in your way so that
- you can recount your similar experience to support and encourage that person in their walk with the Lord. “Tell of all His wondrous works.”
- you can recount how He worked in your life when problems seemed insurmountable so that you can counsel the other person with the knowledge that God does not change, He will work on their behalf just as he did for you. “Tell of his salvation from day to day”
- you can recount the blessings that He has brought to your life. “I will tell of your name to my brothers”
Repurposing is not bad – it is one way that God equips us for the walk that He has predestined for us. In your “waiting time”, don’t give up. He is teaching you something even as you are waiting for “the” assignment. In fact, that waiting period may well be just the assignment that He has for you. Thank Him for it and see how your attitude and appreciation for the work and for your Lord grows day by day.
Here Damaris presents the song “I know the plans I have for you” from her album The Heart of God.
Lord, I pray that I would be patient and confident in Your guidance and love for me, even in the waiting periods of life. I pray that even when I would do the work that You would have me to do, it would be all for Your glory through the power of the Holy Spirit and for the praise of God, the Father Almighty.