BEING IN GOD’S WILL CAN BE A THRILL
Years ago I traveled to one of the more remote areas of what was once called Yugoslavia, now Serbia, to preach for the pastor of a congregation in a small farming village. As I turned off the paved highway onto a dirt country road to reach the village, I saw, that because of recent rains, the road was a mix of deep crisscrossing ruts made by wagon wheels. I knew my little Volkswagen would not be able to make it if my wheels fell into these ruts. So I stopped, and while looking at the scrambled tracks in front of me, offered a prayer for the Lord to guide me.
As I then started up the road, the Holy Spirit guided my eyes to a particular set of ruts and I felt Him urge me to straddle one of them, and I did so without hesitation. I gripped the steering wheel as we drove, knowing that if the track I was straddling intersected, we’d either have to back up all the way and start over, or walk to the village from there. It seemed like forever, but we finally arrived in the village safe and sound. It was a miracle, that was the only rut that was not crisscrossed by other ruts the whole two kilometers. I thanked the Lord for His guidance and sensed that something good was about to happen.
At that time in Yugoslavia, church services were conducted as follows: Opening prayer, welcoming visitors, one song, then the sermon, followed by an hour of praise and worship. As I meditated on the text I had chosen for my sermon, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would use it to speak to these precious people. However, as I sat on a small platform, in a barn converted for worship services, listening to the opening song, I suddenly felt a strong urge to change and speak on the Trinity. Since I didn’t have time to prepare an outline, I knew I would have to do it as the Spirit led me. So when I got up to preach, I told the congregation about this leading by the Holy Spirit. Much to my surprise, they all began to weep and cry. I couldn’t understand why it would strike them that way. I finished over an hour later—because of the need for translation, of course – they sang and worshiped and prayed with such great fervor it made me weep.
Following the service as we were eating a meal in the pastor’s home, he came to me with tears in his eyes. He told me that a few weeks ago another visiting minister had preached against the Trinity, declaring that God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit were really just one person and His name was Jesus. It brought instant division in the church. So he told them all to pray for God to send another preacher. They agreed whatever that preacher said about the Trinity, whether he was for or against it, they would accept it to be the truth. So when I stood up and shared about the leading of the Holy Spirit to preach on the Trinity, the whole church accepted it as God’s message to them.
I learned that night when God uses His gifts of the Spirit He does so under circumstances that should convince anyone that they are doing the right thing by following His urging. It’s not easy, we are so set in our ways that sometimes the Spirit has to really jolt us into changing. This is not only true of altering a sermon theme, but also of modifying our decisions and actions. I drove away from that little village full of more faith and courage, I rejoiced in the knowledge that we all can be part of God’s will if we are only willing to listen and obey. – Dr. Robert R. Seyda