Back in 1996 I was browsing in a Christian bookstore in Burien. At the time I was discussing the Bible and Catholicism with a friend who was Catholic and I was also visiting a local Nazarene church and I had a hope that God would restore a church with the good in it that a previous church I had attended had had.
A woman came to me and asked if I had been Mormon previously and I said yes. She said she had a message from God for me and the message was
There is a calling on your life to minister;
God is in the work you have begun;
God will provide.
What I wonder is if that was a message from God and if so, why it has not been done. As best I can determine God has not provided for “my” ministry or for a ministry of God done by me. As best I can determine, God has not been in some unknown work I had begun.
Now, we could suppose that God had an interest in people learning that they could go nude at the Solstice parade or go nude at Denny-Blaine Park or go topless or wear a thong while sunbathing or walking at Greenlake and not have legal problems or that God had an interest in people being able to carry a knife or a switchblade in Seattle. We could suppose that God had an interest in seeing that these things were done and that God has provided for them by giving me enough motivation and wisdom to fight successfully for them.
Or, we could suppose that God has an interest in my being a nice person who at times smiles at people or one who prays for those who are sick or injured once in a while. Prior to 1996 I kind of learned that it was nice for others to pray for me and so at times I pray for others. If I had no money perhaps I would pray for others less.
However, usually when we think of being called to minister we think of something else or at least, in addition to smiling, being nice and praying once in a while for the sick. If we were to think of “the work you have begun” do we just think of smiling and once in a while praying for someone who is sick or injured?
If God was in the work I had begun, I would tend to think it would have been done and been useful to God or others. Did God and I abandon the work I had begun after realizing it was not worthwhile?
If God were going to provide for something, I would tend to think that God would provide finances, but also a meaningful reason to do the work that, supposedly, God wished or wanted done and which I, supposedly, had begun. Like most of the people who became soldiers in WWII, we would hope that he would be trained to fight and provided with equipment, guidance about where and when and how to fight, and given moral encouragement consisting of the reasons to fight. It seems to me that in order to accomplish some important things, a person needs equipment, training, guidance and a reason to do the thing.
Perhaps the most essential and first thing of these things is the reason to do the thing, because, without the reason, a person is not likely to do as well in being trained or in following the guidance.
Back in the time of WWII, the US government commissioned some propaganda films entitled Why we fight. When armies of nations or states fight, things go better for the armies that have soldiers who believe in the cause for which they are fighting. Once in a while an army which is smaller or weaker may defeat a larger and stronger army, when the soldiers in one army believe in the cause and the soldiers of another army believe in nothing and have no cause or they are not passionate about the cause.
Back in 1688, William of Orange printed up pamphlets and had banners and flags made declaring why he was in England contesting the throne. There was James II of England and he had been making mistakes and there was not a lot of good reason for him to remain as king.
So, a lot of people were encouraging William to come to England and even people who were supposed to support the English king James abandoned him. People normally support their own king rather than foreigners. But because there was a reason, people abandoned the king and supported the foreigner.
So, God’s hoping that I would do one or more somewhat vague things is a bit like God expecting the English to support James II against William the prince of Orange. Without a reason, it did not work out.
God had done sufficiently little in my life in 1996 that at times I shared the testimonies of persons such as Josh McDowell or others but I had little reason to hope that God would be in the lives of others as he had been in my life, cause God was seemingly mostly absent. From my point of view, God could have talked to me to help me with several things and God had not and God seemed to help other persons significantly more. So, why would I have an interest in my life, spiritually speaking, being partly reproduced in the lives of others?
Paul speaks of himself as being the father in Christ of the Corinthians to whom he had preached, I Corinthians 4:15. Now, and to a lesser extent in the 90s, I would have been afraid of anyone having a spiritual life such as mine.
So, what ministry, if any, did God provide for? The ministry of walking nude at the Solstice parade or topless or in a thong at Greenlake? The ministry of my praying for someone I do not know who is wearing a surgical mask because she has some airborne disease a few times a year when I see a person who is sick or injured?
Maybe those things are significant and maybe God has provided for them . . .
The ministry of my creating or helping to create a church is kind of like Stalin hoping that the Ukraining he had been killing were going to fight valiantly against the Nazis. At first, until the Nazis proved themselves to be quite bad murderers and maybe worse than Stalin, the Ukrainians did not fight much against the Nazis. Until the Nazis proved themselves to be quite evil, it did not make a lot of sense for the Ukrainians under Stalin to fight to continue a system, communism, that was killing them!
Maybe I am supposed to “find God” but the question is, Why? Lets suppose that I know God and God chooses to not do a lot. OK. Why bother? It seems that in the lives of some people such as Bilquis Sheik God does several interesting and maybe helpful things and in the lives of other people God does not do a lot.
In the life of Rifqa Bary God is alleged to have told her the future once or more and given her helpful guidance. In my life, as of 1996, God had given me, perhaps, a small bit of helpful guidance, but not a lot. Would not people be better off learning from the lives of those to whom God gave more substantial helpful guidance?
God will provide, the woman claimed. Yet, in terms of building and pastoring a church, God did not provide training, guidance, finances or a reason for it to be done or God did not do so with any meaningful persistence. By a reason for it to be done, I mean that God has not blessed and helped my life sufficiently that I have an inclination to wish something like it upon others. In fact, I do not!
I have a friendly acquaintance who claims that God was, supposedly, trying or hoping to get something done by me in the 90s and in the years such as 2004, but that God has given it up!
God, apparently, lacks persistence in several projects and that is why they are not done!
I have one project that I began work on in 1992 or so and which is now in the process of producing for me some good income, after fits and starts and some years of failure and some years of slight success. I persisted and have success after a little bit more than 20 years, in this project to help me make some money. I persisted because the project was worthwhile and it seemed possible, as it is turning out to be.
Yet, allegedly, according to this friendly acquaintance, God was trying or hoping for something in 1996 and 2004 and years around those years, but now God sees it isn’t going to work out cause I am not cooperating enough, doing enough or whatever or something like that!
I suppose that is ok, but does not this mean that God did not keep what was alleged to be his promise to provide? If God wants something to be done, would not God also provide a reason for it to be done to the person who is supposed to be doing the thing?
Back in WWII, yeah, sure, there were here and there some people who did not want to fight the Germans and the Japanese . . . but the US government at least provided the best reason it could to anybody who was listening about why fighting the Germans was a good thing to do.
If my calling was to build and pastor a church of unknown type with unknown and unspecified characteristics, then, God sure has not told people generally to do that thing with any clarity or passion. And wiith me being a bit blind and deaf, spiritually speaking, how would I be able to figure out what to do, if the thing to be done, as some allege God desired it to be done, is not publicly broadcast or stated somewhere?
One could claim that God would have provided me with training and/or finances and I had done more of something or something differently. The problem is, psychologically speaking, in order for me to have done “more of something” or “something differently,” I would have needed either motivation that God did not provide or guidance that God did not provide . . . so, presumably, God had got someone else for whatever work he had in mind, someone to whom God did provide motivation and guidance.
I once spoke on the phone with a woman who is or was pastor of a church. She was born in a family that had promised that they would give their child to be born to God and when she was young, she had a vision or a dream of the place where she later went to Bible college or seminary, years before she got to the place.
So, it seems she had some guidance about where to go and what to do! I, on the other hand, lack such guidance from God or other similar guidance! Without helpful guidance, why would God have expected me to do some somewhat vague and unspecified thing?
If God wants something to be done, not providing a reason for it to be done to the person God wants to do it seems to me to be a serious failing. It is a failure that the US government did not make when fighting WWII. Also, during the Revolutionary War, providing a reason to fight is alleged to be one of the reasons that the Americans won. Thomas Paine wrote pamphlets or a book or two and these essays are alleged to have been read to the soldiers to encourage them to fight and continue to fight. Is the American government wiser than God? When it comes to providing a reason for soldiers to fight, it appears that it may be, at times.
In terms of sharing the faith with others, God has not provided a reason for it to be shared, cause the faith, as I experience it or have experienced it, seems to work out poorly for some people, including myself, and to not make much sense. In terms of sharing “the faith” with others, the questions are “which faith,” and “why?”
I wouldn’t desire to have kids in the physical sense because I wouldn’t want them to have a bad and cursed life. And I would not want to have kids in the spiritual sense for the same reasons . . . So, why would I share the faith when God has John MacArthur and Rick Warren and Joel Osteen and various others who can and will testify of what God is doing for them or in their lives?
So, as I wonder about this strange message, my questions are, “Was the message from God?” Or, “Does God go by wishful thinking and in which He is just dreaming of things that are not reasonable given the character of the people to whom he gives messages?” Or, “Does God or the spiritual realm give some people some true information and then they make up messages on their own that are supposed to be encouraging?” Or, “Does this message refer to something in the indefinite future?”
I hope it is that God is not dumb. A person could suppose that God is good are physics and chemistry and mechanics and engineering, but God is poor at relating to other people and gives them messages that will not come to pass because they are based on ideas that do not fit them, their personality and their character. God could tell me that I will become a great painter and be known world-wide for my painting and then, that not happen, and then God explain things by saying, you did not study or practice painting and I say, “Yeah, well, why should I have done so? What is the point of painting? And, if there is no great point of painting, what is the point of you or someone else giving me a message about it?”
And God says, “You could have studied and practiced painting!”
and I say, “Yeah; well, why? Would I be painting to make money, to change the art world, to have a girlfriend who likes my paintings or for some other reason? And if the reason is to make money, would I have been better off doing something else to make money?”
There is a fellow who has a book and a talk on youtube and the subject is Start with Why. He says that there were at least two groups trying to develop metallic flight. There was the Wright brothers who seemed to be amateurs and there was a government funded group who what seemed to be more qualifications. The Wright brothers believed that metallic flight would change the world and would change the world for the better and the other guy was in it for the money, for the fame or for other reasons less meaningful, perhaps, than the Wright brothers. When the Wright brothers discovered metallic flight the government funded guy quit, rather than then developing and making even better what the Wright brothers had done!