By: Beth Doohan
“I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!” Matthew 11:11
“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.” Charles Spurgeon
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One of my favorite biblical heroes is John the Baptist. I love the miraculous story of his birth, how God used him as a fulfillment of prophesies and his life’s work to prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The other day I was reading the story of his birth and ministry work in Luke chapters 1 to 3 and was struck by something that had never stood out to me before. (Isn’t God cool like that, how He enlightens His Word as we seek Him?)
As an introduction to the adult John the Baptist, the Bible describes the historical setting of who was ruling and who the high priests were at that time. Then in Luke 3:2-3 it says, “At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had turned to God to receive forgiveness for their sins.” Now, hold on and think of all the prophesies that had gone before John, even at his birth:
- The prophet Isaiah said, “Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, ‘Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord!’” (Isaiah 40:3).
- The prophet Malachi declared, “’Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me’” (Malachi 3:1).
- By the power of the Holy Spirit, John’s father Zachariah said, “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77).
With all these amazing prophesies and the call of God on John’s life, you would think many eyes would be upon him to see what would come of him, or that John himself would be constantly searching for ways to fulfill God’s calling on his life. But from all appearances, John grew up loving the Lord as a somewhat ordinary follower until one day “a message from God” came to him and “then” John began proclaiming the coming of Christ with all vigilance and passion of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:2). We are not given the details of the message John received, but it is obvious that God gave him instruction and authority to begin preparing the way for Jesus. Even though John knew this was his mission beforehand, he waited in a season of preparation for God’s timing and sought the Lord for His purpose and plan.
Wholehearted women, each of us has a specific calling from God on our lives. What dreams and passions has God laid on your heart? Maybe you have known for years that you want to be a wife and mother. Perhaps you feel drawn to missions work, or helping with a particular charitable cause. Maybe an area of church ministry interests you, or you long to make a difference in your local community. Can I encourage you that these passions and heart desires are God-given? As His daughters, God has given us a greater purpose of serving others and drawing hearts to Him through ministry.
Just like John the Baptist, God calls us to serve, but He also has a plan to prepare us for this work and to bring it to pass in His timing. Sometimes, our passions can burn so deeply in our hearts that we feel we cannot wait any longer for their fulfillment. But God encourages us in the waiting to “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you…if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:9, 13). He knows our hearts’ yearnings because He made us, and is asking us to seek Him in the waiting.
While we are in a season of preparation for God’s calling, we are to serve Him where we are at. The Bible promises that, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones,” meaning God can entrust you with more as you show yourself faithful (Luke 16:10). God may call you to serve on a small scale at a food bank before giving you the missions work you yearn to have. He may ask you to serve at a small school program in preparation for the community leadership role you desire. God may have areas of your heart that He wants surrendered to Him and to make whole before bringing your future spouse into your life. No matter what, time spent serving God and pursuing His will is never wasted. He has the best plan in mind and leads us as we press into Him.
I have a good friend who feels called by God to be an author and writer. She published her first book in the last year and does freelance writing and book marketing. While these things are laying the foundation for a writing career, she is also being faithful where she is at by working in an unrelated field to support herself. While many would be tempted to have a “clock-in, clock-out,” “this is boring” attitude in this work, my friend has chosen to see it as a way to honor and bring glory to God, even if it is temporary. She is being faithful in little things, so that God can entrust her with much: the career of her heart’s desires.
How many of us know someone who has tried to rush God’s timing and settled for something that was not “God’s best” in their lives? It can be very tempting to try to make our own plans succeed without God’s direction or attempt to bring His calling to pass in the wrong way or timing. Ultimately, trying to rush God’s plan, or pursue our own, results in heartache. That is not to say that God abandons us when we go our own way or that we can no longer have His blessings, but anything outside of God’s will, call and timing is “second best” and we will miss the very best that He had in store for us.
Ladies, we have been called by God but must walk in obedience, seek His will, and sanctify ourselves for His work and blessing. Deuteronomy 30:15-16 says, “Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you.” Did you catch the promise at the end? When we follow God’s plan in obedience, He will bless us with a truly abundant life and fulfill our hearts’ desires more deeply than we could have possibly imagined. In this, we will bring Him great glory and be richly satisfied.
One final thought: I know sometimes a season of preparation can seem like it will never end, or we may not know how God is going to fulfill His calling. In these times, we are to ask our faithful Heavenly Father for wisdom and understanding. He will answer and give us direction as we cry out to Him. This is our God’s heart: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5).
I encourage you to be bold and pray specifically over your future. Ask God for wisdom about options you have in pursuit of your calling. Pray specifically for your future spouse, asking God to show you character qualities and personality traits that you need in a mate. Or like my friend who desires a writing career, work faithfully as unto the Lord right where you are at even if your heart’s desire is for something more. Ephesians 3:12 says, “Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” This means that, as daughters of the King, we have authority to make our requests to God. He knows the number of hairs on your head, and will show you His plan to fulfill His calling as you seek Him. Our God loves and delights in you as His daughter. Spend time with Him today and allow Him to speak to you.
We are praying for you in your journeys, wholehearted women! Remember that no matter what, time spent serving God and pursuing His will is never wasted. He has the best plan in mind and is faithful in the waiting!
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