Did you, like me, have dreams of what you were going to do for God, when you first became a believer? I was full of ideas of doing great things for Him. In retrospect I’m so glad that my dreams didn’t come true, because His ways and His thoughts are so much better than mine. I had this idea that God wanted me to find somewhere to set up as a retreat for those in need of rest and respite, just a small place where one or two could could find the peace they needed. My ever patient husband put up with my desire and we travelled to Dorset in search of ‘the right place’. We saw one or two lovely places, but they weren’t for us. You see, I was restless, discontented, unhappy in the church we attended at that time and, really in all honesty, I just wanted to run away. Of course it never happened, at least not in the way I expected. Some time later friends told us that when they had been praying for us, they felt that God wanted us to be parents. We kind of dismissed that idea, after all we had brought up four children and our fourth was almost into teenage by then, and certainly God had never laid it on our hearts to be foster parents. Then God showed us it was time at last to leave the church we were members of and to move to Calvary Chapel; and that’s when things began to happen.
We started by giving a temporary home to a young lady from Scotland who wanted to work at the church as an intern for a while, and that was just the beginning. We gave a home to several young people over the years, some for a few days, some for months. Sometimes things went well, sometimes they didn’t. We learnt a lot during those years. We became known as ‘the Bennett Hotel’.
It has been amazing the way God has used the home He provided for us, and it has been very well used over the years. So you see, my desire to help others did come about, but in the home we already had, not in pastures new. Our friends’ word from the Lord came about too, because in the main, our visitors were young people who looked on us as substitute parents while they were with us.
So I share this with you all, with some experience of what it means to ‘bloom where you’re planted’. Now I can only speak from my own experience, I cannot speak from yours. You each have your own individual experiences,, but perhaps you can relate to where I’m coming from. Perhaps you can more easily relate to Esther’s experience in that she found herself trapped in a situation not of her own making, or perhaps, because of choices made before you were a believer, you find yourself in a position that seems inescapable. Whatever your situation, every experience we have as believers becomes part of the learning curve of life. If we do not learn from those experiences, then something is wrong.
Maybe like I was, you are restless and feel dissatisfied with the way your life is going.
Maybe your life is full of difficulties and problems which sometimes you feel are too hard to cope with.
Maybe you are tired and drained because you feel that too much is expected of you.
Maybe you feel unfulfilled in your life.
Maybe you feel unworthy to be used by God.
Maybe your life is just fine, you feel happy with the way things are, change would be an inconvenience.
I could go on; but do you see that every example I’ve used depends on feelings?
Now let me emphasise that feelings in themselves are not wrong, but very often our feelings can lead us in the wrong direction. It’s when we depend on our feelings that we tend to go off on a tangent and do our own thing, or try to, instead of depending on God. Rushing ahead of God, trying to organise Him, trying to get Him to think the way we do, instead of the other way around. Then when things don’t work out as our feelings wanted them to our faith can falter and we can believe that God doesn’t care, when all we needed was to go to the facts, the Word of God, and seek His guidance, His direction, and follow His lead.
Here is a little rhyme that says it all: Three men were walking on a wall – Feeling, Faith and Fact; When Feeling took an awful fall and Faith was taken back; So close was Faith to Feeling, he stumbled and fell too, But Fact remained and pulled Faith back and Faith brought Feeling too. Feeling was leading the way with Faith close behind him and Fact at the rear. Feeling had nothing to focus on, so he stumbled and fell off the wall. Faith was following Feeling, hugely influenced by him and when Feeling fell, he fell too, because his focus was on Feeling. Fact only had his eyes on the goal and when he saw his friends fall, he rescued them. From then on Fact led the way with Faith behind and Feeling bringing up the rear, and all was well.
That’s how it is when we let our feelings take over, our faith is damaged too; but if we keep focussed on facts, on truth, on the Word of God, then faith and feelings fall into their proper place. We can only ‘bloom where we are planted’ when we get this sorted out in our hearts and in our minds.
The following scripture is one of those passages that stays with me and I turn to the words frequently for sustenance when I am in need;
‘You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH the Lord is everlasting strength.’ (Isaiah 26:3-4)
May God bless and keep you in His perfect peace.
Next time, God can use you where you are.