Author: Jeremy Henderson, Go To Nations Vice President of Communications and Vice President of Missions Mobilization
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.”’
Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)
Walking into this huge arena with my then thirteen-year-old son was a multi-sensory explosion. Bright lights beaming over the stage, masses of teenagers from all kinds of social groups hopping in union, instrumentalists with amps cranked, and pure worship directed to the One who holds every moment—incredible doesn’t begin to describe what happened next. In contrast to the “wall of sound”, an unassuming missionary comes center-stage. It wasn’t his eloquent delivery, impassioned speech, or even his real-life stories that made my heart sink like a brick dropped in an ocean. This missionary had a son—like the son I brought with me to this youth conference—only his son had a debilitating disease. This disease had brought them back to the States to seek medical treatment, but this missionary was faced with a choice. Would he stay in the States where his son would receive the treatment he so desperately needed, or would he return with his family to the continue to pursue God’s mission? For this missionary, the choice was clear—despite the risks, despite the sacrifice, they would return to the field.
Every decision leads to a destination.
My heart was wrecked; I, too, was faced with a choice. This missionary’s life choice caused me to instantly check mine. Would I continue to “play it safe” as a school principal, or would I make a huge step of faith and decide to risk to follow God’s direction?
There are times in all of our lives when critical decisions need to be made. We’ll call them intersections. Sometimes we see them coming up a hundred yards away, and sometimes we’re just cruising along and they take us by surprise. These “intersections” are so critical because the decisions we make at these points will seriously direct the course of the rest of our lives.
Our decisions--not our intentions, not our hopes or dreams--will determine our destination.
I walked in the door to that youth conference, expecting a good time of getting close to God and hanging out with my son. Little did I know that an intersection was about to ensue that would radically affect my course. I knew for a fact what God was calling me to do—He was asking me to give up my safe-playing, and begin to walk into a new level of destiny for my life and family. If I would have continued have been indecisive at this point of intersection (like I had many times before), I would have seriously stalled God’s plan, and would have been relegated to the lane of good intentions, empty hopes, and unfulfilled dreams.
What’s often keeps us back from reaching our destination is one simple step of obedience.
When it comes to making wise choices in the moment, there’s no replacement for a heart that is open to hear God’s gentle voice and directive. But it doesn’t stop there. In Hebrew language and culture, the word for hear (“shema”, as in Deuteronomy 6:4) isn’t simply a description of mental activity; to hear means to listen with the intent to obey. There are many times when God’s clear call is unmistakable and pristine, when Isaiah 30:21 comes to life for us personally. But hearing what God says, and even knowing what He desires, will not lead us to the right destination without our gifted response of one simple step of obedience.
For me, this step wasn’t easy, it cost me something, but it radically affected my course and aligned it more accurately towards God’s purpose. When intersections happen (and they will), and you are offered to make a wise choice in the moment, remember the words of James …
But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
James 1:22 (NLT)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for missionaries and Christians around the world. I pray for each critical intersection that is being faced, for complete assurance in direction, for godly and wise counsel to be received, and for the courage to take simple steps of obedience. I declare that each missionary will experience Isaiah 30:21 moments, that they would hear the voice of God with pristine clarity, and that they walk forward with a steadfast assurance that You are for them and have committed Yourself to work for their good as they seek to do Your will, in Jesus’ Name!
Jeremy and his wife, Susan, have been married for 17 years, and have two amazing children: Josiah and Sophia. Global Missions has always been a vision and a passion of the family. Jeremy graduated with a B.A. in Church Ministries from Southeastern University, and has been an Ordained Minister through the General Council of the Assemblies of God since 2006. Jeremy is currently ministering with Go To Nations as Vice President of Missions Mobilizations and Vice President of Communications.