When I explain to people how I ended up in Romania, I think most people expect me to talk about sensing a calling from God or getting some sort of supernatural guidance in that direction. Instead, I tell them God simply never said, “No.”
We’re given a blanket “yes” in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15, where Jesus basically tells us to go everywhere and to everyone with the gospel. It’s a “yes” before we even thought to ask permission to go.
So to stay in one spot requires special direction, a “No” from God.
I’ve received many “No”s from God. I wanted to leave Spring Green numerous times before, but every time, I sensed a “No” in my Spirit. Whether it was to join New Tribes Missions, to go back to school, to sign up with YWAM or something else, God consistently told me, “No.”
One day, as I drove home, I was thinking about Romania, and my brother sent me a text message: “You should pray about coming to Romania with me.”
So I did pray. And God didn’t say, “No.”
Did he say, “Yes”? I’m not sure. Did I sense a calling? No, not really. Did I get a vision confirming my move? Nope.
God simply never said, “No.”
And so I’m here now in Romania.
I think sometimes, we’re too afraid to go the wrong direction that we end up doing nothing. We sit around, hoping for a clear sign from God, but the clear sign never comes because he already sent one in Scripture: Go into all the world. But we miss the obvious and so never accomplish anything.
What if we believed that God was big enough to back up his command in Scripture? What if we actually went? What if we quit asking him for guidance as to where and instead just started going, trusting he’s big enough to stop us or fix any mess we get into or to redirect our movement if it’s off?
I’m thinking of the seven sons of Sceva from Acts 19:13-17.
“But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, ‘I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.”
I’ll bet six of those guys went back home complaining, “Why, oh why, did I ever do that? I’m never gonna do that again!”
But I bet at least one of those seven sons of Sceva went home and beat his fists angrily, shouting, “God! Why does Paul have this power, but I don’t?!?! Tell me how I can get it, Lord! I’ll do anything, Lord. I’ll fast, I’ll pray, I’ll study. Whatever it requires, Lord, I’ll do it.”
Sometimes, failure isn’t such a bad thing. Sometimes, making a miserable attempt and then getting our butts kicked is exactly what we need to make us realize our weakness and to awaken us to desire greater things.
Too many Christians (myself included) are sitting here worried about getting beat up and losing our dignity when that’s exactly the medicine we need.