I had a chance to get an update on a friend’s story early this summer. (It was at our new It’s Your Time Weekend). I was struck by the interaction of God in his life. I was both inspired and enlightened by it.
Michael Williams came to one my first Calling Intensive events about eight years ago. During a small group time, he shared various pictures that captured his heart (from the Picture Exercise) and then narrowed it down to several that felt core to who we was, though he wasn’t sure why.
The first picture was of a basketball player who had been passed the ball to take the final (almost full-court) shot as the ending buzzer sounded. The ball swopped in and his team won the game. He had turned the game around for his team. Michael shared this picture and back-story with tears in his eyes.
The second picture was of a rough, weathered cross on a mountain slope. It commemorated the death of thirteen smokejumpers who died in the Mann Gulch fire in 1949 written about in Norman Maclean’s book, Young Men and Fire. He explained that as the men ran for their life during the fire “blow-up”, one man improvised by creating a “circle of safety” by setting an escape fire in front of him. He encouraged the other men to do the same, but staying with their trainin they refused and were overtaken by the flames. This also brought tears to his eyes.
As we pressed him on what God may be saying through these pictures about his calling (his God-intended effect), his heart erupted with something like, I want to be that man who the team turns to to turn things around and who creates circles-of-safety in dangerous situation.
In the years to follow, Michael was asked to head up a struggling hospital where he was an anesthesiologist. He did…and he turned it around.
Just recently, has was asked to take leadership of a medical university that was facing some significant difficulties.
In the midst of all of this, Michael is one of the most humble, sincere, caring men I know. God has given him both the desires of the heart and the strength of heart to handle the assignments He has given him.
So, here is the inspiration and enlightenment I received from his story:
We need to –
Pursue God and our heart
- This is not a one way, one thing or one time process. It will be through retreats, time alone with God, worship, being in the company and counsel of others, books, movies, personal ministry times and so much more. Seek them all. The first answer to every question should be, “Come to Me”. Matt. 11:28
Pray toward the revelation God has give us
- It so easy to simply think and dream about what we desire, but not ask. We need to continually ask and listen. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Desires of your heart, literally means “that which the deepest, truest part of you continually seeks or prays for.”
- For the sake of conscience, I need to admit to you that I can overlook the first two (intimacy with God and prayer). Leigh is my greatest encourager and example of these.
Prepare for the appointed moments
- There are two elements of waiting on God. One is not losing hope or heart. The other is actively preparing for that moment. Preparation often involves studying, experimenting, formal training, feedback, reading and being mentored. All of this is life-giving if its in the pursuit and deepening of your heart’s desire.
Participate with God
- When an opportunity presents itself, whether small and obscure or large and risky, walk into it fully with the presence of God. When God gives us an opportunity, we need to fully invest in it, multiply it as Jesus emphasized in the Parable of the Talents and then more will come.
- “The master answered, ‘You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me.’” Matt. 25:21 NCV
Let’s pursue, pray, prepare and participate together.