Opportunities & Sovereignty


It is amazing how opportunities present themselves. God has placed a desire within my heart to teach His Word. The ultimate capacity in which I will do this, I do not know, but I do know that I have an overwhelming desire to teach His Word. I am and have been in desperate prayer over how God wants to use me and exactly what He is calling me to, but I know that in some form or another it will involve teaching His Word. Obviously, with this desire to teach burning within me, I have been seeking opportunities to teach. I have been leading Bible studies on campus the last three semesters, two of which were led through well known books (Radical & Crazy Love). This semester I have been teaching through the book of Matthew. However, trials in my own personal life along with difficukt classloads among my small group has led to a slowing in our group meetings. This has greatly discouraged me as I haven’t taught in a few weeks. However, God has presented me with a unique opportunity to lead and teach youths in my local church. Already being blessed with the opportunity to teach children one Sunday every month, I was in our church’s Family Life Center interacting with the children and helping them play games and make their snack. As I was standing there, a young man approached me and we began to talk about basketball. He loves basketball and has big dreams and goals. After graduating from high school and due to an injury I suffered, my competitive basketball years are behind me. I really hadn’t had many conversations about high school basketball in a couple years. I noticed his excitement in talking about basketball and hearing about my experiences in high school. Our conversation then turned to our faith. We talked briefly about the struggles of being in high school and dealing with more and more non-believers. He confessed to me that he had decided to follow Christ two years earlier yet hadn’t been baptized. It is obvious that he is a seeking young believer and he is eager to learn. I loved sharing with him about baptism and what the Bible teaches about it. I encouraged him to follow Christ obediently in baptism and I pray we will discuss this even more. After this great conversation, I was thinking about how joyous it was to encourage and talk to this young guy. Thinking back on the encounter, I could tell thatr he was wanting to ask me something but he was a little unsure. Hesitantly, he asked me if I would come in and play basketball with him and help him in areas he needs to improve. I was thrilled with this opportunity and saw another avenue in which I could lead and teach. I proceeded to ask him if he would like it if I lead them in prayer and a short devotion before we play or workout. His eyes widened and something happened that brought me more joy than anything in the conversation up to this point. He was noticeably more excited about learning from the Word of God than playing basketball. He was concerned about the salvation of his friends and most directly, his father. I saw this opportunity as the eyes of my heart were opened to the eagerness in this new believer. God is working in his life as well as mine. My prayer is that I don’t get in His way, but instead glorify Him and disciple this young brother in Christ of mine. Will we play basketball? Of course! Do we have something more important to do? Most definately! He is curious about missions, baptism, evangelism, and a slew of other aspects of the Christian life. He is excited and I am even more excited to disciple him.

With all of this said, there was one thing that this young man said to me that has stuck with me since. He said that “he’s not sure if he believes in destiny or not but he does know that he needs someone to teach him and his friends from the Bible and strengthen his faith and that God must have set this up.” I have to say that I agree. God is sovereign. God knew that he was seeking Him for the only way for him to seek God would be if God opened his eyes and convicted his heart. God knew that I was desiring to teach. God knew. God knows. His will is perfect and every good gift comes from Him. I am amazed that even through this time of suffering in my own personal life, God is still at work in advancing His Kingdom through His people. While He doesn’t need me, He chooses to use me if I would but follow Him and believe in His Son. I guess one take away from this experience of mine is perseverance. If you feel God is calling you to something, yet nothing seems to be happening, do not force opportunities to happen for God more than likely will not be in it. Wait for the Lord. Trust in Him. Persevere and pray. Remain faithful to Him. One reason opportunities may not be presenting themselves to you may be that you are not ready for them. Grow closer to God daily and trust in His perfect will and timing. When God does present you with an opportunity to take part in His calling on your life, grab hold of it and never let go. Be grateful and bring glory to the Father. I can tell you that no matter the circumstance you are in and no matter how much suffering you are going through, it is not outside the grace and sovereignty of God and I praise Him for that this very moment before I go to sleep. When you trust in God and persevere in faith in Christ as Lord, He will contine to work in your life. Opportunities will come. God’s sovereignty is perfect and good.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

Nothing will separate you from His love and care. Even suffering and death is turned into good by God in His grace and sovereignty. Trust. Persevere. Pray.

By His Grace,

Mathew Gilbert

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