I came to a part in Bruce Olson’s autobiography last night where he told about running from what God wanted him to do. He had gone to South America to take the gospel to the Motilone tribe.
He first encountered the Yukos. He stayed with them for awhile but left because he was tired of them, and they were tired of him. He longed for a coke and a hamburger. (It reminded me of the children of Israel when they longed for the food of Egypt). He tried to leave twice. Each time his donkey dumped him and he had to go back. He concluded that it was better to obey God. God had sent him. He would help him get to the right tribe.
What happened when Jonah ran from God? I remember the chorus we used to sing: God told Jonah to go down to Nineveh, that old wicked town, but Jonah didn’t want to go where he was sent…. It doesn’t pay to disobey that’s all there’s to it. Like old Jonah you’ll find out the hard, hard way.
I often read Acts 16:6-10 when my way is blocked. Paul and his team headed out but the Holy Spirit forbid them. They turned to go another direction and it says that He did not permit them. What would you do in their case?
The Lord had a specific area where He wanted them to go and preach the gospel. It was revealed in a vision to Paul. When they started that way, everything opened up easily.
Years ago the Lord gave me a definition for frustration: God intercepting my way to redirect me into His way. Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
At one point in Bruce’s account he got really sick with hepatitis. He knew he had to get out of the jungle. He prayed, “You brought me here to work with the Motilone Indians, help me.” The Lord intervened. He persevered in what the Lord had called him to do.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” In the beginning of Bruce’s call, he tried to do things in his own strength and failed. When he simply obeyed the Lord, and relied totally on Him, he was blessed immeasurably. So it is with us. The path of obedience is strewn with grace and blessings.