The world sets the agenda for the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man.” John Piper
I want to share a remarkable story that involved a friend of mine, John Moorhead.
I invited John to attend a Calling Intensive in Colorado this past month. Though he wanted to come, he was unable because he was taking a friend to a Wild at Heart retreat that same weekend. At the last moment, things changed. He emailed me a week before the Calling Intensive to say that he was now available. With sorrow, I had to tell him that there was not room.
Two days after the Calling Intensive he wrote me this email:
“As you might recall, a good friend and I were waitlisted for a Boot Camp, and he dropped out, leaving me terribly disappointed. I then tried to catch what I previously missed in your offering last weekend. That didn’t work out, either. In the midst of my frustration and confusion, while seeking God one morning, he moved me to turn on the TV and watch a re-run of Gunsmoke. Yep…it was as clear as pulling me to a Scripture, a book or a movie. It was weird, but I did what He asked.
The story was about Doc Adams, who was kidnapped, in danger, then emerged risking to trust a young man who was involved, but whom he believed had a good heart. Doc began mentoring the young man in medicine, and at one point the young man asked him why, at his age and with his experience, he did not return east and join a medical school to teach. Doc’s response went straight to my heart. The words were for me: “I believe you should stay where you’re needed and do what you can.” I immediately thought that had something to do with dealing with family issues, which are big. I was wrong.
Three days later, a man I have known for over 30 years, one of my best friends, previously healthy and only 59, had a cardiac arrest at home. The EMT’s could not get a pulse for an hour, and the ER doc failed for another half-hour, and came to tell us (family and friends) that he wouldn’t make it. I have never been more convicted of God’s assignment for me…in this case to lead the family and bring healing prayers to Jack (my friend). Jack finally got a pulse, was found to have huge damage to his heart, and almost died that night. He was shocked 4 times, and was stiff, white, cold, and lifeless, except for the blips on the monitor.
Today, 8 days later, he is sitting up in a chair, fully awake and oriented. He is expected to go home on Friday. Gary, as a physician, I used to take care of patients like Jack. They almost never survive something like this, and if they do, there is brain damage. The power of Jack’s healing has shaken everyone around him, including me. In my 34 years of practice, I’ve never seen anything like it. To state the obvious, if there had been room for me at your retreat last weekend, I would have had to cancel.
One of the names God has given me is ‘Compassionate Warrior, faithful and true…apprentice to Christ, called to bring healing in his name…’ As a physician no longer seeing patients, he nevertheless is calling me up. I now believe it; I now will live out of it; my best days are ahead of me.”
One disappointment leading to yet another, in which God speaks in an unexpected way, positioning him unknowingly in a critical moment that would require the glory (weightiness, splendor, strength) of his life, and revealing at a deeper level the effect of his life – his calling. Wow.
Sometimes the genesis of disappointment is actually the origin of deeper joy, clarity, restoration and release. Many times I am somewhere between puzzled and upset with God when something I think ought to have happened doesn’t. Though I still often respond poorly to my plans and desires being blocked, I am becoming more and more patient, curious and attentive to God in the midst of changing circumstances.
This email from John Moorhead and the personal reflection he inspired reminds me of something we hear from God’s lips frequently:
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on our 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.” Prov. 3:5-7 Message Version
Becoming more patient, curious and attentive to God with you,