Have you ever prayed “Lord, your will be done”?
That’s a dangerous prayer. When we pray that prayer, sometimes we’re unknowingly asking God to impede our own will.
In order to answer this prayer, God may have to stand in our way!
When a fire destroyed the masonic temple in downtown Zanesville last February, we were displaced because we happen to occupy the building across the street. As the days turned into weeks waiting for the demolition and cleanup to be done, we began to look for a more permanent space for The Company (at the time still The School of Kingdom Writers). We were planning to move to a more permanent space eventually, so it seemed like it might be appropriate to seize the opportunity.
We found a good building downtown and while it lacked character, it was nice and ready to use. It had been for sale for months so we put in a full price offer, assuming it would be ours. Surprisingly, the owners said “no,” and decided they would rather lease it instead of sell it.
A few weeks later the masonic temple was cleaned up and we were back in our building. We saw that a really neat property, a renovated old school overlooking the city, was up for sale. We looked through it and dreamed about how we could perfectly fit our program in it. We knew it would be a stretch financially but put in a full price offer certain that if God was in it we could do it.
Someone outbid us and we were left in the dark again. I was very disappointed; how in the world do we put two full price offers in and not get either one?
All we could say was that God must have something even better for us.
Last year we felt like it was time to set down permanent roots for the school to grow in. That was the right leading, because that’s exactly what’s happening now. But at the time we didn’t know that God was planning a move for us to Cambridge, the next town over, in a year’s time.
If we had gotten either of those buildings we would be stuck in Zanesville. God’s will was for us to move to Cambridge, so he stopped our desires so that could be a reality.
I’m grateful for the way God is moving in Cambridge, Ohio and know that so much favor and support and community will comes from us moving 25 minutes east.
I won’t pretend to know why we couldn’t just have that in Zanesville, but instead I say “Thank you, Lord” for impeding our will so many times over the past few years so that we could be fully free to move when God called.
In Acts 16, Paul talks abut the “spirit of Jesus” preventing him from going to Asia. He went to Macedonia instead. We don’t get the whole story to understand why Paul’s story played out that way and can only assume that the fullness of God’s time was not ripe for Asia yet. There were people in Macedonia ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus from Paul and his companions. We see that Paul was imprisoned soon after arrival (that definitely would have felt like it was not the right place to go if it were me!) but God shook the jail with an earthquake and Paul was released. Because of this miracle many people in Macedonia saw God’s greatness and were saved!
God’s time works differently than ours. God is OK waiting for the fullness of His time, even if it feels like an earthly eternity.
In many seasons God gives us the ability to choose our path forward. He has given us a wise and discerning mind, and often fully trusts us to make good decisions with it.
Sometimes we think we are making wise and sound decisions for the Kingdom but our plans are hindered over and over again. In those moments, perhaps God has an even bigger and better plan in place that is not yet visible.
When our hearts are surrendered, The Lord, in His mercy, will stop our plans so that His can go forward.
It feels like the wilderness when our plans don’t work out, but if we are praying that God’s will be done with all our whole heart then we can really trust in His goodness and provision.
God protected us from investing too heavily in Zanesville so we were free to move to Cambridge a year later.
If you feel like you are in a desert place, take heart! If your plans have been impeded, ask the Lord for discernment. Ask God to show you if your challenges are coming from the enemy, or if your challenges are an expression of God’s mercy because He has a different plan for you.
God isn’t finished with you yet. Trust in His timing fully, lean into his comfort and grace, and know that when you’re fully surrendered to His will, at just the right time “suddenly” he will pour out all you’ve been waiting for.
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