Are You in the Zone of God’s Will?

Posted on June 29, 2008. Filed under: Personal Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

“One day, while playing on the field, he heard a voice saying, “Are you going to run after Me like you run after that ball?” Edward knew it was a clear call from God, and decided to dedicate his life to Him.”


From the article Fearless Living

By Edward John

(July 2008 issue of Crossroads Compass)



As I read Edward John’s words describing with great clarity his calling from God, rivers of contradictory feelings simultaneously flowed through my mind, contained only by the finite parameters of human understanding.


In one sense it generated a feeling of exhilaration and great awe that the Creator of our universe, the One who “created my inmost being,” and “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139) would so clearly and definitively communicate with a single individual on such a personal level.


While I too have experienced brief moments of the audibly, inaudible “promptings” of a Loving Father, I have learnt that the clarity of understanding comes in the “knowing” and not just the “hearing.”  A gentle yet constant pressure upon my inner soul to take action or to pause and look at something through a renewed lens of patience and compassion.


In fact the very words that are penned through this humble servant are as the ocean’s tide, which seems to come silently out of nowhere, weaving together what at the first stroke of the pen (or click of the keyboard) are a culmination of disparate ideas and points of scripture, bound by experiences that transcend my life’s timelines.  It is this peaceful junction of knowing and hearing that both strengthens and refreshes.  And not surprisingly, it is where I derive my greatest sense of fulfillment.


Athletes often refer to it as being “in the zone.”  A point in time where to the batter in baseball, the ball seems to move towards the plate in a series of slow motion frames.


To a golfer, it is the sensation of that perfect swing where the usually elusive sweet spot of his or her iron connects perfectly with the ball.  I once had a hole in one, but for the life of me I could never replicate that one swing where the elements, club, ball and golfer converged at the intersection of perfect balance.


And this is perhaps at the heart of the contradictory feelings of momentary sadness and frustration that also “slipped into” my consciousness when I read the Edward John article.


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


Certainly the complexity of these competing emotions give testimony in and of themselves as to how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139 once again).  Just having the capacity to entertain multiple streams of diverse thoughts and emotions point to the complexity of our individual make-up and the genius of God.


That said I cannot help but recall the lyrics from a late sixties song titled MacArthur Park, where the singer bemoans the fact that “someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again.”


In truth we are creatures of complex and at times contradictory feelings and not just intellectual postulations.  This means that by reasoning alone and in our limited capacity, we cannot of our own accord create or duplicate those moments that serve as the lynchpins of our ordained lives – I’ll never have that recipe again.


But unlike the song, we never had the recipe for our life’s calling in the first place.  And so as we (both Christian and non-Christian) search for the greater meaning of life, the truth is that outside of our Creator’s divine plan, there is none – at least not for a sustainable period of time, and certainly not for eternity.  And this is perhaps where the disconnected feelings of sadness and frustration’s elemental roots originate.


Think back for a moment to the golfing analogy, and my hole in one.  On the very next hole, try as I might, I could not duplicate that perfect moment of convergence on the previous hole.  In fact I shot a seven or eight, prompting one of the other golfers to suggest that it would be a good idea if I just picked-up the ball and threw it in the general vicinity of the green.  From the mountaintop of excellence to the valley of incompetence in a few short swings!  


My point here is that the coexistence of these contradictory experiences are perhaps an example of the ongoing battle we have between letting go to the divine wisdom of our God, and our deeply rooted tendency towards self-determination.  And it is only when one actually lets go and truly surrenders his or her will to Jesus Christ that the consistency of result, or in the case of Edward John the calming clarity of the certainty of one’s purpose, can ultimately be attained.


Perhaps this is what Ravi Zacharias meant when in his book Cries of the Heart he stated that “a life that seeks fulfillment in its expertise before it finds fulfillment in its being is bound to feel deeply the ache of fragmentation.”


Few Are Immune


Regardless of the length of your journey with Christ no human being while present in the body is immune to moments of duplicity.


In her teaching series Who Do You Trust, Beth Moore talked about double mindedness and the inherent risk of vain imaginations for the Christian who is not deeply rooted in God’s word.  For some this can be represented by a dramatic crisis of faith, while for others it is the self-probing question asking if this is really God talking to me or is it just me talking to me?


Notwithstanding your place in this wide spectrum of inner debate, you will hopefully and prayerfully find comfort in the fact that it is an experience all Christians to varying degrees encounter at one time or another in their walk.  And it is an experience that you can confidently lay before the Lord.


In fact, our biggest strength in the Christian walk is actually the admission of our own frailty and fallibility.  Paul’s acknowledgement of his personal struggles in 2 Corinthians 12:10 “for when I am weak, then am I strong” illustrates the universal nature of the human condition as well as the divine solution.


Far too often however we keep a stiff upper lip, and when asked how things are going we smile and say great!  Meanwhile we could be mired in a feeling of lostness, afraid that the open acknowledgement of our struggle somehow diminishes us as Christians.  And instead of pulling together and seeking God with greater reverence, we tend to withdraw in a cloud of silent, isolated defeat.


In her teaching series, Sheri Rose Shepherd courageously talked about her desire to leave her ministry and husband as she had found herself emotionally drawn to another man.  Rather than hide her inner struggle, she reached out to her support network of Christians who intervened and ultimately helped her to get back on track and wonderfully fulfill her purpose – which was God’s purpose, for her life.


Are You Living a Life of Delayed Purpose?


And this leads us back to where I started.  Specifically, how can a Christian experience both wonderment and frustration at the same time, or certainty and doubt about one’s divine calling? The answer rests in our universal humanness.  The solution is not to deny these (or the existence of any) feelings, but instead to admit them and submit them at the cross of our Savior.  One has no need to look any further.


Like the picture hidden within a picture that can only be seen when you stop looking and simply relax your eyes, it is in this cradled state of forgiveness when we yield, rest and trust in God that the picture of our life becomes clear. 


When we do this, we begin to filter out the noise of our human existence, and begin to hear and know the purpose of our eternal mission.  And it is at this point that the clarity of purpose to which Edward John referred becomes real in our own lives.


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