IDENTIFYING THE IDEAL
The King said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.
When God gives you a dream, He includes His resources.
Nehemiah was a prayerful man who sensed it was time to return from exile and help the people in Jerusalem. Risking his own life, he was prepared to ask the king for permission to leave Persia. Through the favor of God, he was granted permission and not punished for making his request. But he did not stop there. Nehemiah continued as he also asked for protection and supplies from the king too! He was a man who acted with boldness because he knew what God wanted and what God would provide. Because of his faith, he received everything he asked from the king. Have you ever been bold for a particular cause that is very important to you?
Disappointment is often part of the journey, but you can overcome it with God’s help. I played professional soccer in Zimbabwe until that season of my life suddenly ended. My doctor had given me a prescription drug to prevent malaria. Unfortunately, my body was unable to break down the drug, and it reached toxic levels in my system. It took many years to recover. I was waiting for God’s healing, because even the doctors were confused and unsure how to treat me. It was a difficult period in my life as the doctors told me they had no solutions. There were very serious complications throughout my body, including a highly elevated heart rate of 160 beats a minute while resting and an abnormal rhythm. I eventually realized that if I were ever able to physically recover or help anyone, it would be a gift from God. I want to add that perspective to this section because the truth is that any abilities we have, are simply the result of God’s grace.
Having said that, do you ever settle for less than what God wants to give you? Some people are afraid to recognize their ideal because they do not want to ever face any disappointment. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. When I played professional soccer in Zimbabwe, another desire was to tutor students and live in Bulawayo. My friend, Tommy Clark, and I were able to assist students at the Youth Contact Center. Listening to the children sing in their classrooms was incredibly inspiring. Helping them to complete their schoolwork was also very humbling. If we only played soccer, we would have missed a major reason for living in Africa.
When that season ended for me because of a physical illness, God started a new direction that included caring for peoples’ souls. I was reluctant initially to become a pastor, but God carried me through the transition and confirmed His fulfilling plan. Identify how God is stirring your heart. Then step out of your normal routine and dream with Him about the big picture. Tommy now leads an organization (www.grassrootsoccer.org) to mobilize the global soccer community in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Be intentional about not settling for second-rate plans or empty traditions. And be confident that when God is the One who opens a door, no one can shut it (Revelation 3:7-8).
What is your ultimate purpose in life and how can you boldly pursue it in this season?
For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org