I’ve been absent in my blogging for the last few weeks due a time in the wilderness. I’ve been asking some tough questions, looking at some tougher goals, and dealing with impossible expectations.
I had the opportunity this fall to take Dan (10), Peter (8), and Sage (10 months) duck hunting for the first time at the beginning of October. We got to the pond early one morning, set our decoys, had to sit still, and enthusiastically watched hundreds of ducks flying around. As a father, I had idealized memories of my first successful duck hunt; expectations of the boys hitting every duck they shot at, and ducks coming in to the decoys just like the videos we’ve been watching at home preparing for this day. So at the end of the day, we were tired and only got two ducks. I couldn’t call in a duck to save my life. The boys went through two boxes of shells, and I almost had to go swimming because the dog didn’t want to get the first duck. In short, the day was nothing like we originally imagined. So I asked the question, “Was the day a failure or was it successful because we finally got two ducks after 10 hours or was it God?” It’s ironic how closely this experience mimics our aspirations in our churches and ministries. You know, the times you try to replicate for others a meaningful experience in your past and it doesn’t meet your expectations. Was it a failure? A success? Or did God work in the situation and you didn’t see it?
You see, God calls us to do His will and not our own. He cares for each one of us enough to work in unique ways because He understands who we are. He can do this because He is perfect and cannot fail, but He has chosen us to fulfill His works in His own time.
That day of duck hunting, my boys got to spend a day with their dad. Dan killed his first two ducks while talking about life and the wonderful world God created for us. For the boys, they learned who God is in a unique way with their dad, regardless of expectations or goals. What we all need to learn is to follow God’s leading by the Holy Spirit, trusting that He will work as only He can. We need to realize not to ask if we have failed or succeeded, but to thank God for what He has done, is doing, and yet to do. Then ask God, what next.