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Finding God’s Will

One of the most often asked questions I get is, “How do I know God’s will for my life?” When we face a big decision, we’d like to know that God is leading us and will speak to us.
Tina McNeel and Judy Barker recently faced a big decision when we asked them to serve on our Deacon Board. Let me share with you how they made their decisions. I think you’ll find that it may help you as you face your next big decision. First, both Tina and Judy felt like being a deacon was beyond them. Both of them said things like, “Who am I to be a deacon,” or “I don’t consider myself worthy,” or “That’s for people who are more righteous than me.” In other words, they were both very humble. This was a sign for me that God may have been leading them to become Deacons because humility is a key trait for being a Deacon. Also, they both believed that the size of the task was beyond them. When God speaks to us, He will often lead us to tasks that are bigger than what we think we can handle. I firmly believe God doesn’t want us too comfortable and He will often give us opportunities to grow by asking us to take a step of faith into an uncomfortable situation.
Mark, Tina, Luke and Faith McNeel
Mark, Tina, Luke and Faith McNeel
With that said, here’s how Tina and Judy made their decisions. Both of them started by praying and after they prayed, they paid attention. Tina said, “For me the signs that the Lord was leading me in this direction were everywhere. It wasn’t just one thing, but a multiplicity of things. The first thing I did was to talk with my husband Mark and then I started researching about being a deacon. As I read scripture and devotionals on the internet and I was left with the feeling that this was going to be a leap of faith. Then I was working around the house one day and I had a Hallmark Movie playing in the background. It was a Christian based movie set during the Korean War called, ‘Though none go with me.’ In the movie, there was a minister who joined the war. A quote from his sermon before he left for the war got my attention. The quote was, ‘The most important and challenging spiritual test is turning our lives over to God. Though no decision can be more fulfilling. Inevitably something will happen that will make us realize, that our own power is not enough to get us through the especially difficult times. Our personal power is limited, but God’s power is infinite. All that is required is one simple prayer, ‘Not my will Lord but yours.’ Why are we so afraid of turning our lives over to a greater will? Why do we seek guidance, but fear what that guidance will say to us? Because it means we have to say to God, ‘I will accept whatever you have chosen for me and I trust that you will give me the strength to deal with it.’ There is an old hymn that says it better. ‘Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back.’” That quote really spoke to me. Finally, I was sharing with a friend at work, who is also in music ministry. Sometimes she will sing at work when she thinks she is alone. When I told her about the quote from the song, she began singing the song to try to figure out which song it was. When she started singing the chorus, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” I knew that was God’s way of telling me the answer to my decision. As I walked out of the hospital that evening, I texted Todd to say, “Yes, I’ll be a deacon.”
Judy Barker
Judy Barker
Judy said the Lord led her through, “Lots and lots of prayer. I found myself praying even more than normal as thoughts came to me. I also talked with Todd and with a past deacon. One of the things I know I need to improve upon is that I talk too much and need to do a better job of listening. One of the things this past deacon said was, ‘Some people just want to have someone to talk with.’ I also talked with two of my sisters, each of whom I consider more worthy than I. One of my sisters said, ‘Well, listening to others is something you’ll work on.’ I also knew it would be very good for me to become more involved in the needs of other people. Then I read 2 Timothy and I considered everything I was seeing, what people were telling me, and what I heard through scripture. Even though I never felt like I heard a clear direct word, I had a lot of little things that pointed me in this direction and I felt a peace about it. That kind of peace comes only from God. I do feel like I will grow from doing this and I’ll be able to contribute to others. It’s something that I need to be doing. I know the Lord will be with me and provide the guidance, understanding and strength I need for this mission.”
I really appreciate the careful, thoughtful, prayerful way that Tina and Judy approached their decisions. I also appreciate Judy’s self-awareness as she confessed that she thinks she needs to be a better listener. When it comes to making decisions that are “God led,” there are some common themes in Tina and Judy’s stories. They both prayed, read scripture, sought the council of others, then they watched and listened for the Lord to speak. The Lord did speak in a variety of very subtle ways. The key to hearing the Lord comes down to one thing, intentionality. Both Tina and Judy took this decision very seriously and they were intent on hearing from the Lord. They paid attention, they anticipated that the Lord would speak, and God did speak in a variety of ways.
The next time you have a decision to make, remember to pray, read scripture, seek wise council, and pay close, close attention to what’s happening in your life and I believe the Lord will lead you, just as He’s led Tina and Judy. I’m really excited to have them both on our Deacon Board for next year. I want to thank them for how they made their decision and ask that you pray for them and please pray for all of our deacons. May God bless Tina and her family, Judy and her family, and may God continue to bless our Bethel Church family.
With love for you all.

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