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20 Things I Learned about God Last Year

During a year of total change in life and ministry, God proved Himself to be more real, more powerful, more present, and more gracious than I’ve ever personally experienced. Can I share with you some things that God reminded me about Himself this year—in very real and personal ways?

1. He will pursue me relentlessly—Like Jonah if I run, or like Joshua if I obey. His pursuit of me is a good thing. I am loved, valued, and significant to Him and in Him!

2. He calls for recurring surrender—What I do for Him is up to Him. Where I do it. How I do it. How fruitful, influential, or useful I am—it’s all up to Him. Surrender let’s it all go, and surrender is not just something you do once when you are a teenager.

3. His will is my privilege—In the economy of God’s will, I am both expendable and essential. In His will, I am privileged to be essential (by His grace.) Resisting His will, expendable—for He could choose to use someone else.

4. He leads with clarity and specificity—If His leading is unclear, I’m either not listening, or it isn’t time to know more. But when it’s time to act, He knows how to make the command undeniable and crystal clear. If it’s not clear—wait, listen, and let God lead. In time, it will be crystal clear!

5. He isn’t in a hurry—His work belongs to Him. He sets the pace. He leads. He guides. He provides. Trying to push Him isn’t going to get things moving forward any faster.

6. His will sometimes leaves your head spinning—When God moves quickly and His will brings rapid transitions in your life, you feel a very real loss of control. Control is an illusion anyway. But His intervention sometimes leaves you with only one option—hold on to Him for dear life!

7. His vision and purpose for my life is sometimes not even on my radar—My plans are small. I’m spiritually short-sighted. My capacity to envision is minuscule compared to His. Which is why…

8. His plans are big, scary, and perfect—He’s a very big, very good God. His BIG plans are scary to our small, faithless, short-sighted, comfortable worlds. But His plans are also perfectly timed, perfectly fitted to you, and perfectly fulfilling.

9. He responds to and rewards faith—If we could see how He’s going to work it all out, following Him would be easy. Faith has to take the risk and then wait and see. But He always comes through!

10. He is patient with doubt, fear, hesitation, and questions—Jonah ran. Jonah was chastened. Moses refuted. Isaiah questioned. Jeremiah panicked. Joshua feared. John the baptist despaired. And Thomas doubted. But God put up with them. Why? Because they went to Him. They asked Him. God will chasten rebellion, but He will work with wrestling. The key is, bring it to HIM!

11. His calling is not something you can work through—Emotional seasons, mid-life crisis, personal struggles can all be worked through. You don’t work through a call. It’s never going away. You submit to it.

12. His wisdom is available upon request—life is an experience in peering through fog. The future is blurry at best. It seems we can never quite get all the information needed to understand a situation and make a right decision. That’s why asking for wisdom is the answer to all the fog.

13. His Word still speaks powerfully and with laser-like focus—His Holy Spirit knows how to take a portion of the living Word and surgically apply it to your heart and circumstances with unimaginable precision. The real key is to open it long enough to hear!

14. His work is not up to me—Me compared to the need is like being tossed into an ocean, given a straw, and told to “drink it all!” Not only can I not succeed. Can I even make a dent? Could I drink enough to even measure the difference? Any difference we make—ANY—is utterly and entirely HIM, not me or you.

15. His work is HIS not MINE—He can move it forward. He can pause it. He can place it into my hands. He can remove it from my hands. I’m not doing for Him. I’m laboring with Him. He sets the pace. He sets the priorities. He yields the fruit. It’s all about Him!

16. He leads us from comfort zones into useful zones—This year He has repeatedly asked me—”Do you want to be comfortable or useful?” My answer is, “Can I be both?” But He showed me that often comfort is the killer of usefulness. Faith is uncomfortable. Risk is uncomfortable. And usefulness requires BOTH.

17. In His economy, the price of disobedience is always higher than the price of obedience—Think Jonah. He loves us too much to let us run for long. And no matter how much you think obeying Him will cost, disobeying Him will cost you more!

18. He will not wrestle with me forever—Following Him is a great privilege. Fearing His will brings paralysis. He will let me wrestle with fear for the short-term, but eventually He will say, “This is the last time I’m going to ask…” Trust Him. Don’t push Him to that point.

19. He cares for my family more than I do—He doesn’t intend to hurt my family with His will. And the very thing I fear might “hurt” them could be the very thing God uses to grow and prepare them for blessings yet unknown!

20. He is with me where He leads me—His presence is all that matters. My plan, my power, my personality, my experience, my strategies, my knowledge, my abilities—they all become useless apart from His presence. The most important thing I can know is that God is with me. And if I’ve obeyed Him to where I am, then He is.

Trials, transition, and tough times are opportunities for you to see God, know God, and love God on a whole new level. Embrace them! Immerse into them! Spit on your fear and leap into His call.

He will catch you! And there’s no better place to be than right in the palm of His hands!

2 Samuel 24:14 “…let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great…”

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2 Comments

  • Love your posts Bro. Cary! You are a great example in the faith – I love reading about and hearing about the work God is performing in and through your ministries. Very encouraging to others behind the plow. I’ve never commented before, but have been reading your posts for long time. Thanks, keep them coming!

  • Bro. Cary,

    Great thoughts about our God! One point that you mentioned that stuck out to me as much as anything was “His work is not up to me.” This thought always amazes me that God does not need me and my performance to make the Gospel come alive to someone. This humbles me, and motivates me at the same time.

    Thanks for sharing!


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