I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. (Psalm 142:1-2)
Read: 2 Kings 6:1 – 7:20, Acts 15:36 – 16:15, Psalm 142:1-7, Proverbs 17:24-25
Relate: I heard from another pastor recently about a time when he was preaching about being a witness in your workplace. He began to feel a nudging from the Holy Spirit at one point and so he stopped. He told his congregation that he felt God was telling him that someone there did not like their job and were planning on quitting. The felt that God was telling him they cannot quit because they were the only Christian in that place and God wanted to remain there and be a light in the darkness.
After the service a lady came up to this pastor and told him that the message had been for her. She said, “You just don’t understand. I hate that place. I really do. I just want out so bad.” So this pastor talked with her for a bit, they prayed together, and then they went their seperate ways.
The next week, before service even started, this lady sought him out. “Pastor, pastor, this is your chance.” She said. She pointed out a man sitting next to her husband in their pew. “That’s John. He’s the worst sinner in the bunch. If you can get him saved this week then there will be someone else and I can finally quit that place.”
React: I love where God has placed me. I love the city and the neighborhood, I love the culture, I love the language I am learning. I love the other international students and workers that I am getting to know. I love the environment so much more than other places I have been. Before coming here, I loved Binghamton. Still do. I love the church I was a part of. I loved the community there. I loved both weeks of sunshine that Binghamton gets. Before that I loved (and still love) the church and people in Oswego even though I absolutely hate the nine months of winter that dump on that poor town. Before that… well…
There have been other times and places that have not been so pleasant. No offense, but I absolutely hated my six months in Texas a good dozen years back. I never did like the ministry I was a part of, I didn’t care much for the community I was around in Tomball, I enjoyed skipping winter, but Texan culture is just not me. Neither did I much enjoy Long Island. The best thing about my time there was the proximity to NYC and some family I had living there. Unlike my time in TX, I didn’t even bother waiting for God to release me. Instead I went and got myself fired. Dumbest thing I ever did.
God doesn’t always place us in the best of situations. Sometimes, like that lady above, we might completely hate where God has placed us. Even as we pray for God to give us a love for it, we must also pray for endurance. Sometimes, He has us there for a reason and we have no right leaving. Titus wasn’t a big fan of Crete, yet that was where he was called to minister. After heaven, being an itinerant homeless rabbi in the backwoods of Palestine probably wasn’t the ideal career move for Jesus either, but He was obedient to the Father even so and I am so glad He was. No matter where we are, and no matter what we are going through, we have one who sympathizes with our weaknesses. No matter what circumstances might throw at us, we have someone who hears and is willing to listen. Let us pour our troubles at His feet. Even if He tells us to stay, He will stay with us.
God, I am so grateful that You have given me a love to match the calling for where You have led me. But even if everything goes south, still I will be obedient to You. I know that no matter what might be going on in my life, You are there. You hear. You know. God, I pray for those who might be reading this who You might have called into a hard or a hostile environment. Be with them. Help them understand that Your calling for us to be light sometimes leads into the darkest of places. Give them grace to continue. Give them confidence to come to You with their tears and complaints knowing that You are there. You hear. You know. You care.