Last night was girl’s night out. Over dinner at a sidewalk table (for which we waited, like hungry vultures, for forty-five minutes) our conversation bounced from one topic to another. At one point I mentioned a small difficulty I am facing. My mom and sisters encouraged and challenged me and the conversation moved on. This morning, my dear sister Kristin emailed me the following quote she read in her quiet time:
“Like an astute coach or a gifted teacher, God prepares his saints for the tasks to which he has appointed them before he uses them. Moses, for example, spent forty years in the desert, herding sheep, before God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. What better preparation in patience could there have been for his assignment of leading an equally stubborn flock of people through wilderness for forty years? Similarly, David learned courage from his own experience as a shepherd. Later the one who had learned how to take on wild animals in the defense of his flock would be called upon to take on the biggest wild animal of all, mighty Goliath, in the defense of God’s flock. God knows how to prepare his people for the tasks to which they are assigned” (from Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality by Iain M. Duiguid).
Kristin wanted to encourage me that my present difficulty is “preparation for a task.” It isn’t simply something to get through. It is a training tool—to conform me to the image of Christ and make me more useful for him.
How about you—what herd of sheep are you called to look after today? Maybe it’s a laborious task such as a full credit load at school or backed up loads of laundry at home. It’s preparation for a task. Or what about a wild animal? Is there a prowling trial in your life—physical, relational or otherwise? It’s preparation for a task.
Our astute—and, might I add, loving—coach has us in training. Let’s look to Him in faith and meet our task with courage.