Solomon, regarded as the wisest of all people, put it so well when he wrote about seasons in Ecclesiastes 3:1 ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’
Then, in following verses, he lists many things that have a season in God’s timing. The word season indicates ‘a fixed time or an appointment’ and the Message Bible puts verse one this way: ‘There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time…’
Feeling that God has been endeavouring to speak to your heart regarding an opportune time – about moving into something new that you’re not quite clear on? You’re not alone!
As we’ve ministered in different churches this year we’ve casually mentioned that something was in the air, that the Lord was seeking to do something new with those with open hearts and were willing to move on. That it was difficult to put a finger on it all, but that things would become clearer toward year-end. That it is all a matter of trusting God and being open to whatever he had destined for us
Some listeners agreed, saying ‘I’ve been feeling that in my heart.’ Others, over cautious, remained content with the status quo. But we’ve heard of many moving willingly into positions of responsibility as God has provided opportunity to serve him more deeply.
And recently we’ve heard of those in ministry who’ve been aware that God is opening new doors for them and have willingly accepted the challenge to move on, even resigning from secure positions, yet not knowing exactly how everything is going to work out.
It speaks of steps of faith, trust and an awareness of God’s timing.
Trusting God in everything
There are indeed times when the Lord calls us to move on into new areas…career, locale and ministry.
But we need to know that we’ve really heard from him. I’ve had unsure Christians say, ‘Dr Robert, you move in the prophetic…I think I’m meant to move on to (somewhere). Tell me that I’m right.’ I immediately ask if they have really sought the mind of God and the usual answer is ‘No.’ So I challenge them to seek the Lord, not me!
We can’t afford to stab in the dark if we claim to have committed ourselves to him. ‘Season’ refers to an appointed occasion – not a willy-nilly, shot-in-the-dark, hope-it-works-out possibility.
Solomon, in Proverbs 3:5-7 wisely advises: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.’
This means what it says… he will direct us in everything – if we commit all, everything, to him in faith and trust! The Message Bible puts it this way: ‘Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.’
Verse 23 gives comforting assurance: ‘You’ll walk safely, and your foot will not stumble.’ That’s good news indeed! If we are willing to acknowledge God in absolutely everything, he will clearly lead us.
At times we won’t get immediate step-by-step directions … the dedicated Christian life is lived on a daily step-by-step basis. But virtually every day will present some opportunity to commit to God something simple or something involved and discover his leading.
Over many years we’ve proven God in respect of his fatherly concern to lead us aright in every aspect of life…career, health, finance, schooling and careers for the kids, counselling troubled people, encouraging pressured ministers, homes and cars, little things, huge matters, new ministry and more.
A simple practical example: Recently we went to our favourite restaurant for lunch and found the background music was unusually extremely loud. I went to find the manager to have it turned down. But even as I approached him, he was already doing this.
Returning to Maureen, she said that she had claimed the scripture above: ‘God is concerned with everything to do with us and I simply committed the noise to him, requesting that he move the manager act. Robert, you didn’t even have to move, oh ye of little faith!’
A more serious example: Some years ago, it became obvious that the Holy Spirit was speaking to our hearts to move on into new areas of ministry. This meant, what seemed to others, to be taking a chance, a huge step with no guarantees, no financial or specific local church support, no new church or ministry to go to. But late one Monday night before each other and before the Lord, we agreed to do so, committing to a resolute decision to trust God completely and to dare to take a faith step into the unknown.
I typed up a resignation letter regarding our then current ministry. Admittedly for a few moments we wondered about our future. But we had sensed deep in our hearts that God had spoken to us and as we know his voice and leadings from decades of experience, we knew it was the right thing to do. We also knew that often we have to make a move to allow God to make his. So we relaxed and enjoyed a good nights’ sleep.
The very next morning the phone rang, not at the business hour of nine but much earlier, and a voice enquired: ’Dr Robert? Where have you been all these years? We’ve been searching for you…can you come next Sunday and minister for us?’ It was the beginning of our new season!
Move and see God confirm
An out-of-the-blue God-confirmation from his fatherly heart! His way of letting us know we were on track as we committed our future to him and trusted him completely to direct our path.
For us, it was the commencement of a broad itinerant ministry of moving around many churches of different denominations and blessing many with inspiring clear teaching from God’s word as well as moving encouragingly in the Holy Spirit’s supernatural.
Still sensing that something is stirring within? Search your heart in case it’s just some inner dissatisfaction that needs to be dealt with. If you really know that the Holy Spirit is leading, keep searching God, read his word, be open when visiting ministries speak at your church, talk with your pastor, if married talk with your spouse (a priority!) and – without seeking out ‘some prophet’ – be open to prophetic words that are spoken over you in your local church.
Don’t miss whatever it is that God wants of you as we move toward and into a new year. Jesus warned in Luke 12:56-57 (Mge), ‘You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season of God, the God-season we’re in right now. You don’t have to be a genius to understand these things. Just use your common sense…’