I won’t lie; it was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. After 20 years as a full-time worship pastor, God asked me to trust Him and transition into a new season. My initial reaction when God asked me was hesitation.
“God, are you sure?”
It’s been over 3 years now since I stepped down from serving in that role at River of Life Worship Center, and I’ve seen God provide for me in ways I could have never imagined. Writing and launching my first Bible study, speaking around the country, and ministering in Africa and Israel, I’ve experienced God’s guidance every step of the way. Perhaps you’ve experienced a time when you heard God’s voice, prompting you to release something or someone you held dear…your house is a little quieter with kids grown or away at college…your bank account is a little slimmer with less income from a change in career…your calendar is a little emptier with necessary adjustments in your schedule due to health or circumstances.
We know God speaks. But when He asks us to surrender what we hold dear, it doesn’t mean our sacrifice is easy. It’s tempting to respond fearfully, “God, are you sure?” As I grieved that transition for a few months, God strengthened my fragile heart through His encouragement that He wasn’t finished using me in music and worship ministry. He’s made a way for me to lead worship in various places throughout the past 3 years, start my own vocal studio with 20 students, and serve as a Music Director for numerous theater companies. He knows what our hearts need. This week, I was offered a completely unexpected opportunity, and once again, I was reminded of the many ways God provides what He promises.
Abraham ascribed that very characteristic to God — “The God who provides” — in one of the greatest moments of testing recorded in Scripture. In Genesis 22 (NIV), God asks Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah as an act of worship. Without a breath of argument, Abraham obeyed. The words I so often struggle with never came out of his mouth: “God, are you sure?”
He knew God’s voice, twice responding to God’s call with three simple words: “Here I am.” He made himself completely available to the one true God he knew was trustworthy. In his heart of hearts, He knew God would provide. How am I sure? Look at verse 5. As he leaves his servant to travel up the remainder of the mountain with Isaac, he shares these words to him:
“We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham’s faith propelled him toward obedience, even when what was being asked of him didn’t seem to make sense.
“6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.”
The angel of the Lord stops Abraham in just the nick of time.
“Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
God provides a ram for the sacrifice, and it is in this critical moment that Abraham ascribes “Jehovah Jireh “— God will provide” as a name of God. It literally means, “God will see to it.” God promises to bless Abraham — and He promises to bless us — for obedience. Sometimes, God asks us to sacrifice the good in our lives to make room for His best. He will see to it that this act of worship does not go unnoticed.
Blessing lies on the other side of obedience.
Last week, God once again reminded me of that truth. I received an invitation to lead worship for a conference in a place I have never visited: Romania. I sensed God’s clear direction that this was a divinely-orchestrated open door. And yet, I hadn’t planned for it or set aside funds. Immediately, he dropped this into my spirit: “You’ve invested into many lives through worship, and some of them will want to invest into you leading these precious, broken women into My presence.” That was all I needed to hear. He even laid out a plan: “If 100 people will donate $28, you’ll have the $2,800 you need for this trip raised.”
I will be joining Sue Willis & A Time To Heal Beyond Survival Ministry Team as we minister with Assemblies of God World Missionaries, Mike & Ana Dascalescu. I will be leading worship for all conference events, preaching at a local church, and distributing copies of “Finding Joy When Life is Out of Focus: A Study of Philippians for Joy-Thirsty Women” to the leaders at the National Leaders Training. I believe strongly in the vision of A Time To Heal Beyond Survival to bring hope and healing to at-risk women and teens and victims of sex trafficking:
“Inside of every hurting woman is the desire to heal, a craving for freedom, and the desire to return to the woman she was originally designed and created to be. The heartbeat of A Time to Heal Beyond Survival is to help women who have struggled in the areas of rape, sexual abuse/assault or are a survivor of sex trafficking reach these goals by ministering the love, compassion, and transforming power of Jesus Christ.” – ATTHBS
I’m still learning how to walk by faith, but I’m sure of this: Blessing lies on the other side of obedience.
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on angeladonadio.com.
Featured Image by Karsten Würth