“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing great- ness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
In the Summer of 1986, my wife, Janna, and I moved from Lubbock, Texas, to Dallas. My goal was to begin education at Criswell College on the campus of First Baptist Church. In 1988, we had our daughter, and Janna left her job to stay home with her, something we had wanted and agreed on before we married. By November of 1989, I was completing my undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies, and we were pregnant with our son. I was working full-time on the church’s maintenance staff with an hourly wage, working as many hours as I could, taking odd jobs to supplement my income, and attending full-time classes at Criswell College while trying to be a good husband and father. I was exhausted, weary, and discouraged, and I felt like nothing was working in my favor.
One of my final assignments for undergrad was in a preaching class. I was assigned a passage, but it wasn’t coming together in my mind. I was supposed to preach on my assigned passage the following day, but I had a mental block which led me to question my direction in life.
The night before, I came in from working late, changed my clothes, and went out the front door, walking, but not knowing where I was going or what I needed to do. I was not ready for my preaching class the following day, and I decided that I was quitting. I was leaving school because I was unsure of the ministry to which God had called me. I had no idea what to do, but I was “QUITTING.”
I found myself at a playground next to a church parking lot about a mile from where I lived. I crawled up into the playground equipment, out of the drizzle, and just sat to commiserate, grumble, and question God on what I would do. I don’t know what I thought, said, or prayed at that point, but I do remember feeling alone and questioning how I would provide for my family.
When I entered the house, I heard my wife tell someone on the phone that she heard me come in, and she hung up. I didn’t know it then, but my wife had called several people and had enlisted a prayer team for me. I walked past my wife, went to the bedroom, changed, and went to bed. Janna came to the side of the bed and reminded me that I had to preach the next day and that I needed to prepare. I told her that I had quit and was going to sleep.
But I couldn’t sleep. The passage in the Bible that I was assigned kept going through my mind. I had studied the passage but could not get clarity on the message until that time. My mind began to clear, and I began to understand the passage as I had not in my study. Shortly after, I arrived at the school and told my professor that I did not have my message typed up yet, but I delivered the message that had become clear in my mind. I later typed the message and turned the paper in, completed my other classes, and completed the last semester of my undergraduate year Cum Laude in a few days.
My thinking had been irrational, clouded by the evil one that wanted to discourage and eliminate me from service to God in the capacity that God had intended. The difficulty of my life and the circumstances that surrounded and overwhelmed me eclipsed my view of God and what He wanted. Through the prayers of God’s people and my wife, God intervened and worked in me to restore
my confidence in His call and purpose in my life. God remained faithful to me. He did not want me to leave ministry but pursue Him for clarity and leadership.
God’s intervention to me on that night, and many times since, has deepened my dependence on Him, knowing that God is for me and not against me. I learned that God would equip and use anyone submitted to HIM. God is dependable in all circumstances.
I want to encourage every Christian, regardless of your circumstances, that God will make a way when there seems to be no way if you will depend upon HIM. Surround yourself with those who love the Lord and those who will love, encourage, and pray for you in your walk with God. He answers the prayers of His children, and He will lead you in victory to WIN NOW!
Questions for Thought
1. Are you seeking to accomplish what God has called you to accomplish in your life?
2 . Are you depending on God, or are you depending on your skills and abilities alone to lead you?
Regardless of your profession, job, or skill, focus on the Great Commission God has given us. Determine how you can best fulfill that task with your commitment, talents, giftedness, and possessions!
Learn more about Mission 1:8 WIN NOW here!
Minister of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Alan has served full-time on the staff of First Baptist Church of Dallas since May of 1987. He has a passion for ministering to and assisting the body of Christ in experiencing God’s fullest blessings. He is passionate about the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, and he is passionate about his family. Alan and his wife, Janna, have three adult married children and seven grandchildren.