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The Lord of the Inconvenient

Has God ever inconvenienced you?

by David A. DePra

     I thought I'd never sell the mobile home. For 4 years it was up
for sale and no offers. No offers? Not even one person came to
look at it! Finally, someone did. And they wanted to buy it. I was
excited -- until I heard the offer. And then my excitement
evaporated. What they offered wasn't even close to what I owed
on it.
     I was given much advice. "You might as well take the loss," one
person said. "It is clear that it is the best offer you will get." But I
couldn't do it. I don't think it was the money, either. It was just
that everytime, before God, in prayer, that I considered taking the
offer, I had this sick feeling. I couldn't explain it, but I simply had
no freedom to take the offer.
     Time passed and finally another person came to look at the
mobile home. He wanted it. And his offer was more than I owed
on it! At last. We could move.
     There was a reason we had to move. It was called, "outgrowing
your home." We had a new baby, less than a week old. And two
other grade-school children. And only one bedroom for all three
of them. And that bedroom would probably fit inside of some
people's bathroom. There wasn't even room for another bed in
that bedroom.
     But now God had brought a buyer. And right on time. Exactly
when we needed to move.
     Isn't it amazing how God always waits until the last minute? In
fact, until things started to loosen up, there wasn't the slightest
hint that the place would ever sell. The market for mobile homes
was bad. But I just kept saying, "I don't need many possibilities. I
just need one. And God is able to send that one person to me."
Finally, He did.
     Excitement quickly turned to panic, however. I found out that to
close the deal on a mobile home doesn't take any where near as
long as it does for a house. Where I live, a house usually takes at
least one month -- usually 6 to 8 weeks. But with this mobile
home, I was told that I had to be OUT in 2 weeks. I had not even
started looking for a place to which we could move.
     In the area I live, houses for rent are NOT plentiful. Especially
one you would need for a family of five. On any given day, you are
fortunate if you can find a newspaper ad for 1 or 2 possibilities for
a family. And there was another problem -- and it turned out to
be a big one. We owned a dog -- a big dog. A golden retriever.
Of the few houses that we thought we could rent, none of them
accepted pets. "No pets allowed" concluded almost every ad in
the paper.
     On top of all of that, I had another problem. Not only did I have
to be out of my mobile home in two weeks, but during that time I
had to do all the packing and all the moving. The packing was the
easy part. My wife could help with much of it. But the moving had
to be done mostly by me. And I had no help. There was no one
available. So it was going to take me at least two weekends. It
was going to take the entire time I had left. And I had to start
moving NOW.
     This was fine. But how do you start moving NOW when you
don't have any place to go? Where do you start moving your
     I had to have contingency plans. Afterall, it was entirely
possible that I would not find a place to move in time. Perhaps
God would allow that inconvience. Such an inconvience seemed
to be a waste to me, but how could I know what God had in mind,
and why? So I rented a storage area and began moving all of our
stuff there. One week of the two had already passed. I was down
to only one week left.
     Of course we couldn't LIVE in the storage shed. So I figured
that we would go to a motel until God got us a place. Again, that
seemed like such a waste of money. But the fact was, God had
not opened up a place to which we could move. And time was
     I prayed. I prayed hard. But I wasn't getting any specific
answers. So I knew that I needed to believe God was leading me,
and within the bounds of obedience and common sense, do the
next thing which I felt I had to do.
     At last, 5 days before we had to be out, we found out about a
townhouse which was available. The people who lived there had a
lease, but wanted to move out. They needed to find someone to
replace them as tenants. And here we were, more than willing. It
was a nice place. But in the conversation, I found out two things.
First, to move in, I had to sign a two-year lease. And secondly,
pets were out of the question. We would have to get rid of our
     The two-year lease wasn't what I had in mind. But maybe it
was what God wanted. I was willing to tie myself down there for
two years. The "no pets" rule, however, was another matter.
Despite the fact that I am not overly fond of dogs, this did not set
well in my spirit. In fact, once again I had this terrible heaviness
about the whole thing. The more I prayed, the worse it got.
     So here I was. It was Wednesday and we had to be out by the
next Monday morning. I was in the middle of moving all my stuff
to a storage area. I had no leads at all as to where I was going to
move my family except this one. And no matter how much I tried
to feel right about it, I couldn't. I felt like moving there was going
to be a big mistake.
One Step at a Time
     Have you ever been in a situation like this one? You MUST
hear from God. But He isn't saying anything. And because of
that, you begin to think you are crazy. Or you begin to wonder
what you are doing wrong, such that God is silent. Fortunately, in
the midst of this mess, I began to realize that I HAD heard from
God.  No, He had not mapped out the end of the matter for me.
But He had at least made it clear to me what the next step was
NOT.  And I had to go with that:   I turned down the townhouse.
     None of this, of course, came to me with signs and wonders.
No. It was very much a step in the dark. I believed I knew what
God wanted, but as most of us know, there is always a nagging
"What if I heard God wrong?" in the back of our minds. But this
was not a situation I could linger over. I had to decide that day,
and did. We were back to having nowhere to go.
     Too often we expect that when God is leading us that we are
going to be SO sure about where He is leading that there will be
no temptation to fear or doubt. But this is rarely so. That's
because when God is leading He usually doesn't tell us WHERE
we are going. He just says, "Trust ME to know."
     As Friday dawned, I began to wonder about a couple of things.
In two days, I was going to be living in a motel with my family, with
all of our belongings in a storage area. Why had this happened?
Had I passed up the one place God had opened? If God were
leading me, how could things be in such disarray? Even if I now
found a place, I was going to have to once again move all my stuff
from the storage area to that place. Do things work this way when
God is leading? Why all the hassle?
     Something began to dawn on me. It was something I already
knew, but which was now coming to me in a fresh way. I began to
realize that my focus had been wrong. My focus had been on
trying to DO the right thing -- so things would work out. God's
focus, however, was otherwise. His focus was on whether I
trusted Him. Period. WHAT I was doing, in the mind of God, was
completely secondary to whether I was doing it in faith.
     This principle is fundamental to the Christian walk. WHAT we
do is important. But WHY we are doing it is essential.
     Note the distinction. God tells us that "whatever is not of faith is
sin." (Rom. 10:17) This is because whatever is not of faith is
usually born out of self-will. It is motivated by us wanting our own
way. Thus, anything I do -- even if it looks right -- is tainted by
the motivation of self-will. It is actually SIN. But if I am walking by
faith -- unconditional surrender to God -- then I want GOD'S
will. Thus, what I DO -- howbeit imperfect -- is nevertheless
under the right motive. It is "of faith." And God will honor it.
     This really made things simple for me. It meant that it didn't
matter whether I had done everything right. It didn't even matter if
I heard God perfectly. Indeed, I began to see that nothing
depended on me at all. As long as I trusted God, it all depended
on Him. He would bring to pass HIS will despite my imperfections.
All I needed to do was keep surrendered to Him. What I didn't
know was then HIS responsibility.
     Some Christian teaching has suggested that if you are
surrendered to God you CANNOT make mistakes of discernment.
But this is not the Truth. Indeed, if you surrender to God, He may
allow you to make many mistakes of discernment. Why? So that
you may be set free from what caused your mistake! In other
words, if you walk by faith, and surrender to God, you will find the
Truth. It's just that in order to do so, you might have to see how
wrong you were to begin with. You cannot possess the Truth
unless God adjusts YOU to it.
     Being led by the Holy Spirit is not merely a matter of getting
marching orders from God, and then following them. Being led of
the Holy Spirit is impossible -- when all is said and done --
unless you surrender to God. And once you surrender to God, He
will lead you. But you aren't going to know where you are going.
You'll only know WHO is leading.
     Along the way, however, you will make mistakes of
discernment. Perhaps some big ones. But if God allows these,
He does so only to later use them. This doesn't mean your
mistakes are God's highest will. It just means that they were IN
you; in your heart. God had to let you act them out so that you
would be exposed for who you are -- and thus be set free.
     Now the issue here is this: If a person is surrendered to God,
they are going to also be surrendered for such exposure. They
are going to realize that even the possibility that God will allow
them to make mistakes is within His purpose for them. That
doesn't mean we ever get reckless or take license. It simply
means I know I am in God's hand, and that He knows me better
than I know myself. And that as long as I trust Him and seek His
will, He will get His way. If that means God must allow me to make
mistakes along the way, well, then I also trust that He has a
purpose for allowing that as well.
     In the Bible we see one example after another where God
allowed those whom He used to make mistakes of discernment.
Abraham is at the top of the list. God promised Him a son through
Sarah. But then God disappeared for a few years. Abraham and
Sarah, who were already aged, got older. So Abraham began to
suppose that God probably didn't REALLY mean Sarah would
have a son. God "probably meant" Sarah would have a son
"through" a proxy. Thus, Ismael was born.
     Now note. It was never God's will for Ismael to be born. Not
His highest will. But when Abraham began to drift a bit as to
discernment, and come to the wrong conclusions as to what God
meant, did God come down and set him straight? Nope. That's
because God knew that within Abraham were some unresolved
problems. And only if God allowed Abraham to try to bring to
pass in his own strength what God had promised, could Abraham
finally get free of them.
     Don't misunderstand. Abraham did not doubt God. To the
contrary, the Bible says,
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the
father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So
shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not
his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years
old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not
at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith,
giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had
promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was
imputed to him for righteousness. (Rom. 4:18-21)
     Isn't that amazing? It seems like Abraham made every mistake
possible. Big ones. But God says, "he staggered not." Despite
misinterpreting God, Abraham never doubted Him.
     What we are finding is this: We may doubt our ability to hear
God, and even our ability to interpret God correctly. We may
doubt our ability to do everything right. But we don't need to
doubt God. Our faith is not to be in our ability to hear God. It is
not to be in our ability to interpret Him or figure Him out. Our faith
is to be in God Himself. If we trust Him, and consequently,
unconditionally surrender ourselves to Him, God WILL have His
way with us.
     God did have His way with Abraham. He basically said to
Abraham, "I had to allow you to try to bring to pass My will in your
own strength, so that you would would become depleted of your
own efforts. Now, are you finished? Good. I have seen your faith,
despite your misconceptions of Me. I am therefore going to bring
to pass My will in My way, and in My time. I will have My will, and
will bless YOU in the process."
The Will of God
     Here we see the grace of God. Because God is the God of all
grace, and is redemptive in nature, He is not going to settle for
anything less than His will. Certainly, we have the choice as to
whether we will submit to His will nor not. But He shall have it --
whether we decide to be part of it or not. And if we surrender to
Him -- whether we presently know His specific will or not -- He
will see to it that all things work together unto His will in our lives.
Paul says this in Romans. He says,
All things work together for good to them that love God, to them
who are called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
     Now note: When we read that "all things work together for
good to those who love God," we must be clear about what God is
saying. He is not giving US the freedom to define what "good" is.
No. Human nature will always define "good" as "getting our way."
But God defines "good" as getting HIS way. HIS will is the "good"
towards which "all things" work. It is the ONLY "good" there really
     We see this in the next verses. Paul goes on to say,
For whom He did foreknow, He did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn of many
brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also
called, and whom He called, them He also justified, and whom He
justified, He also glorified." (Rom. 8:29-30)
     Here we see the "good" toward which "all things" work. Here
we see the will of God. He is working all things in us, and through
us, and on the outside of us, unto conforming us to the image of
His Son. He is working an eternal purpose.
     Back to the move. It was Friday. I had to be out by Monday
morning. Had I missed the boat? Had God opened up to me a
place to move, only to see me turn it down? Was all this
inconvience the result of being out of God's will?
     It was late that Friday that out of nowhere I found a little house
that we were able to rent, and which served us well for the time
being. So, that weekend I began moving everything from the
storage area to the new place. What was left in the mobile had to
be moved as well. It took me until an hour before the new owners
were to arrive to get it all out. And just to make things interesting, I
had to do it all right in the middle of a major snow storm. But we
did have a place to go. God had come through at the last minute.
     Inconvience. So often we think that inconvience cannot
possibly be part of God's will. Afterall, God can do anything He
wants. So if He is doing His will, then why does He allow such
inconvenient things to get in the way? Why couldn't God have
simply opened up this house to me at the beginning of the two
weeks? Why did I have to move TWICE during that time, and the
second time in the middle of a snow storm? Why did I have to end
up paying for a storage area which I used less than a week?
     If you walk with Jesus Christ long enough, you are going to find
out that God isn't concerned about whether things are convenient
for you. Indeed, God will even use those aggravating
circumstances to do a work in you. They too, are a part of God's
calling and plan.
     We see this in the story of the birth of Jesus. If there was ever
an event which was the will of God, this was it. But if there were
ever circumstances which were inconvenient to those in God's
will, these were the circumstances.
     Consider some of them. Mary had been to visit Elizabeth only
a few months earlier. But now, nine months pregnant, she had to
make the journey to Bethlehem for the census. Why didn't God let
her know ahead of time, so that she could simply stay in that area?
The trip she now had to make must have been incredibly difficult.
It COULD have been avoided.
     Then there was the fact that when they got to Bethlehem there
was not one room available. Here was Mary, fully conscious of the
fact that her pregnancy was a miracle of God. But the same God
who had worked this unheard-of miracle could not even provide
a suitable room for her to give birth?  What was going on here?
Was the fact there was no room evidence that they were OUT of
God's will?
     Of course, God DID provide something: A stable. But imagine
how that must have felt at the time.
     When we read the story of the birth of Jesus, we see that even
for the birth of His own Son, God allowed MUCH inconvenience to
come upon those who were in His will. But in the end, because
they believed, God had His will. A child was born.
     So it is with us. God shall have His way. But we are not
guaranteed a smooth ride along the way. In fact, if we read
scripture, we are guaranteed the opposite. We are told to expect
obsticles of every kind -- obsticles of our own doing, and of our
own temperment. But also of circumstances. Yet God will use
them "work all things together unto good" -- His good. His will.
     So do I want to be led into the will of God? Then I must
surrender to God. Do I want to possess the Truth? Then I must
allow the Truth to possess me. Do I want to make sure that I end
up in the purpose of God for my life? Then I must surrender my
life to God. If I do, then I may make mistakes, but God's purpose
will not depend on my mistakes. His purpose will depend on Him.
Thus, my faith will not rest on my ability to find God, but on God's
faithfulness to find me -- and to conform me to Jesus Christ.

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