Why is Serving God Such a Struggle?

Why is Serving God Such a Struggle?

Ropes pulling against each other.

… as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.


And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

— 1 Kings 19:11-13 NLT


For the past year I have been struggling with a company-wide layoff that has left me unemployed. I am only now beginning to realize my actual struggle was with serving God. The layoff was God polite way a saying it is time. My response was to ignore His call despite my calling Him Lord.

The layoff came at one of those turning points each of us have during our lives. Being over sixty-five, my wife and I talked about retirement. My primary argument to keep working was one of fear, we did not have enough money set aside for me to retire. But behind the money issue was also the fear of losing my identity. If you are interesting in my struggles with my identity, refer to this blog post. Pride also entered the picture. I did not want someone else to tell me when to retire, much less force me to retire. I was not ready to retire. So of course I hit the job sites looking for a new job, and perhaps a new identity within the SharePoint world.

During my job hunting, I kept God in the loop. As I applied to various jobs, I would pray about them and even asked God to shut the door on a particular opportunity if it was not in His will. Still, it was during the the quiet times in my prayers that I heard whispers that this “freed up time” was given to me in order that this blog site would get set up and running, along with regular blog posts. These are the same whispers that I have been having for fifteen years to build this site, which I never did until I was laid off last year, with the newly found free time that I had.

While the tugging in my prayers to retire were not exactly persistent, the continued rejection of job applications were.

Around three or four months ago, I compromised a bit and told myself and God, that I could do part time consulting. I was still unwilling to let go of my identity or my plans for retirement. Yes, I had given my life to Jesus as Savior and Lord; yes, I should have listened more closely to the Holy Spirit’s whispering; and yes, He has never steered me wrong in the past. But again, I did not choose to retire, and I was not ready to retire.

I do not think God has a problem with me working either full or part time. However, I did seem to have a problem doing what He was asking of me while working full time. He waited patently fifteen years for me to build the site on my own schedule before He took action. Just another wonderful example of God’s loving grace.

So, with my newly formed commitment to only work part-time, the invitations to interview for jobs suddenly skyrocketed and I was not even applying. Headhunters were calling me out of the blue for positions they were trying to fill. I was happy to apply. In each case, I was among the final two choices. Each time the company chose the other person.

Again, I do not feel God has a problem with me working, the problem was me. Those positions were for full-time work, not part-time I had promised to pursue. I still was not being honest with myself. I wanted my old life back and when I was ready to retire, retire on my own terms. God used these headhunters to help me realize there was an internal struggle I did not even know I was having.

God has given me a gift to write these blogs. I enjoy writing them. As I write them, I know I am doing what I was meant to do. So, I must ask myself, “What the heck are you doing Rob. Why are you running away from what you feel God has called you to do?”.

Took a year but I finally realized the struggle was with fear, fear of the unknown. For some reason, despite my trust in God, I was afraid to step out in faith and do what He was asking me to do. I was trying to run in one direction while God wanted me to head in another direction. Rather than debate it with me, He simply stopped me in my tracks and going further down the wrong direction.

Now I am not comparing myself to Elijah, but he was struggling with the same issue when God asked him the same question. Nor was He singling Elijah out. God basically asked the same question to countless people throughout the Bible, starting with Adam and Eve [Genesis 3:8-9]. Elijah just been used by God to judge King Ahab and the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah [1 Kings 18:22-39], yet the very next day he ran in fear of his life. Jonah, called by God to pass judgment against the city of Nineveh, ran in the opposite direction of the city [Jonah 1:1-3]. Let us not forget Abraham [Genesis 20:1-13]. Then there was Saul, who was to become Paul [Acts 9:3-6]. And yes, I believe that Saul was afraid. He was afraid that everything he believed was being threatened by the Good News about Jesus—so afraid that he did everything in his power to destroy it.

The list goes on and on. Each walked in faith… each one was afraid… as I was afraid… as Jesus must have been when He faced the cross, but Jesus still moved forward in the Father’s will, not His own.

Nothing has really changed in the past year except I have a better understanding of my fears. Nor is God asking me to retire, He simply wants what He has always wanted for me, to be in His will. Part of His will has been for me to write blogs about my faith journey, the good and the bad. Perhaps I may even take on an actual part time job as long as it does not get in the way my serving God, in His will, not mine.

What is keeping you from serving God? Possibly your own will?

Blessings in the name of Jesus Christ,

Rob Nimchuk

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Rob Nimchuk

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