“My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I always considered myself to be a good pastor. When I preached, I felt confident. I enjoyed giving Bible studies and visiting the homes of families who needed pastoral counseling. Being a pastor was my thing.
But I had a hard time not being able to control everything. I wanted every church member to remain committed, not be discouraged, and be willing to share Jesus with others. I tried hard to convince people to be baptized and become disciples. It seemed that when I tried to lift one part of our church, the other part began to fall, a very frustrating and often discouraging situation. Have you ever felt that way?
I was making an enormous mistake. Trying to control what others think or do was NOT my job; and, over time, I began to understand.
Today, I live a different experience. Among the Pnong tribes, one of our main goals as a project is to prepare the locals so well that they can worship God in their own culture for themselves. If their gathering to worship God or share Jesus with others depends exclusively on me, I am making a mistake in how I prepare them.
You can imagine how much I had to change my old ways of thinking.
One of the methods we use to help them maintain a consistent and quality Bible study is the Discovery Bible Study (see page 5). For some months, I was training our church in this method. But I soon started to feel nervous, because I would have a work trip to another country and would not be there for a month.
My old self would attack me again: “One month? Anything can happen in one month! If I am not there, they will not make it.” But I was wrong again.
When I left for my trip, I gave control to the only Person who could truly carry that burden, our God.
When I returned, I was met with a wonderful surprise.
All the Laoka members handled the DBS perfectly. They asked questions and discussed the Bible verse with admirable ease. One of the church sisters could barely read when I left. In one month, she was reading the Bible and leading the studies in such a way that even I could not repeat.
What happened here? How did this happen? God answered me clearly, “You don’t control MY mission. I do.”
So many times, I have found myself trying to take God’s place, not realizing that I was hindering the work He was already doing.
Friend, do not forget to make room for the Holy Spirit to work. Trust Him because He will do what you have wished to do for so long, but in your own strength, you could not.
I now know that being in control of everything was never my responsibility. Not being in control can be good because that is when God will manifest Himself the most.