Chuck Swindoll | The Mystery of God's Will (Evening Service)

thank you for coming out on a rainy night I’m always surprised when anybody takes time to listen when I talk and having you here on a night that is not convenient is a very special thing perhaps it’s the subject that drew you to this meeting and I chose the words carefully when I put the title together I I was reared as many of you were thinking that if I sort of check things off along the way found the right verses talk to the right people prayed sought with the right heart a direction to go then boom boom boom I’d walk into the will of God and it would be pretty sure and simple and rewarding I’ve lived long enough to know that that’s that’s not true there is something remarkable about the plan of God that is full of surprises and I really do mean full of surprises I did the little radio interview this morning with joy and had a wonderful time with her we got on the subject of it briefly and she asked if I ever thought I would wind up where I am today and I said it’s you have no idea how distant this present situation in which I find myself is from where I thought I would be not that I had any idea but we all think sometimes about where we might be and what we might be doing as we reach my stage in life and I would have missed it a mile make that a hundred miles I would have never imagined happening to me what has happened I my life is marked by one thing especially and that is surprise surprise I like CS Lewis’s title surprised by joy I would change my title to surprise by god I happen to believe that God is sovereign Lee in control of our lives that nothing occurs that does not pass through his hands and he permits those things or directs those things and and he is ultimately pleased because they are for his glory and for our good though they would not be what we would have chosen it’s easy to think in our day that we are sort of in charge that is really about us but there is a there is a plan unfolding and there is a an arrangement of things occurring that if we could see them now would take our breath away it would just it would be more than surprising for some it would be downright shocking speaking of that I was sent this true story to California Highway Patrol officers were conducting speeding enforcement on i-15 just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar one of the officers was using a handheld radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill the officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 500 miles per hour the officer attempted to reset the radar gun but it wouldn’t reset and then it just shut down just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked in on a and USMC fa-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low-flying exercise near the location back at the CHP headquarters the patrol captain fired off a complaint to the US MC base commander the reply came back in true Marine Corps style thank you for your letter we cannot complete the file on this incident you may be interested to know that the tactical computer on the f18 had detected the presence of and subsequently locked on to your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it which is why it’s shut down furthermore an air-to-ground missile aboard the aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location fortunately the Marine Corps pilot flying the Hornet recognized the

situation for what it was quickly responded to the missile system alert and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the hostile radar position the pilot also suggest that you cover your mouths when cussing at them since the video systems on these Jets are very high-resolution sergeant Johnson the officer holding the radar gun should get to his dentists so that he could have his left rear molar checked it appears the filling is loose also the snap is broken on his handgun holster thank you for your concern simplify it’s funny to how we think we’re the ones in charge when in fact there’s another whole system of things going on that reveal how not in charge we are and I know that that attacks anybody that has a big ego but as you live a little longer you ego will we will reduce and as you go through enough pain and suffering and enough surprises and stunning incidents in your life you will finally realize that it is not you who is in charge it is the one who is guiding your life it’s good to remind ourselves that he is the master and we are the servants he is the Potter we are the clay he is the vine we are the branches it is his sovereign right to do with us whatever he pleases for whatever purpose he wishes when I was an intern under Reis Steadman out in Palo Alto California during my years of seminary I will never forget wrestling with the sovereignty of God I hadn’t been raised under that teaching the theology I’d been raised under was more Wesleyan and a great deal depended on me and some depended on God and we sort of juggled it back and forth in a sort of catches catch-can manner and as I was with ray during those months that summer I remember as he was speaking on the subject wrestling with giving up what I called at that time my rights and I realize what I was struggling to give up was my wishes my wants my plans I’m going to mention this verse tomorrow but there’s a grand verse in job 23:10 that says God knows the way that I take when he has tried me I will come forth as gold my foot has held his steps his way of I kept and not declined neither have I turned back from the command of his lips I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food really verses 10 through 12 of of job 23 another verse worth considering this evening as we get our minds wrapped around the subject of the mystery of God’s will his romans 11:33 oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God how unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways which leads me to use the word mystery if it’s unsearchable and also unfathomable than to us there is a mysterious part to all of this and as we live our lives we discover his will more clearly and realize that it led in a path we would have never expected my Bible has opened this evening to Revelation chapter 3 where I’d like us to start and I’ll keep my eye on the time knowing that you do want time for your questions and I want to honor that John is on the island of Patmos if you’ve ever been there you know what a remote island it is in the Aegean he is exile there while there to his surprise God leads him to write what became the final book of God’s truth the Bible in the book of the revelation and he writes

immediately to the seven churches that were in existence at the time and my mind is attracted to the third chapter and the seventh verse where he writes to the angel of the church in Philadelphia and he writes this he who is holy who is true who has the key of David who opens and no one will shut who shuts and no one will open says this I know your deeds and on and on he says more but look closely and observe first that he is holy sinless he is true meaning he hates evil can have nothing to do with it he is never in error he has the key of David it’s a picture of authority he is in charge we would say but then note that statement he is the one who because he holds the key he alone opens and it stays open as long as he chooses and he’s the one who alone closes and it stays shut as long as he would have it shut with that same key if you will he opens hearts to the gospel with that same key he shuts and locks us out where he does not want us to go now the door is obviously a figurative just as the key is not literally a key but this I believe ties in with the subject of God’s will it does it in such a way that it helps me to think in terms of open doors and closed doors in the lives of you who are students that have come to wheaton college or whatever the university may be you’re attending if you’re not from the school nearby you were there by the will of God otherwise you would not be there the doors he opened you’re not even aware of all you know is that you were among those selected to be a part of that student body he opened that door at the same time he closed the door to another school you could have gone to for some of you you had your choice he has opened that this door and he has closed the other doors now I want to show you how that unfolds in the life of Paul in his journey in Acts chapter 16 so let’s go back there we’ll stay there the rest of our time acts 16 Paul has just had his falling out with Barnabas which is an interesting study in itself I’ll say a few words about that tomorrow as I talk about the the whole issue of failure I want to talk on that in the morning which i think is one of the major fears of of students today certainly Wheaton students he’s had to fall out with Barnabas Barnabas and he separate and they never worked together again Paul then chooses Silas and they travel by foot up beyond Antioch and into what is known today is turkey called in Asia or Asia Minor Barnabas sets out with his cousin mark and they sail away a thankfully later on Paul and Barnabas and John Mark were pulled together but that’s another subject what is interesting is that when Silas and Paul began their journey this is the second journey of Paul doors close where they thought they would be open look closely verse 40 chapter 15 Paul chose silas departed being committed by the Brethren to the grace of the Lord he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches now watch closely he came to Derby and to Lystra there was a disciple there named Timothy the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer and he picks up Timothy to travel with him we’ll cut to the chase verse 6 they passed through the Phrygian

and Galatian region having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia wait a minute art their needs in in Phrygian Galatian absolutely art there the loss there absolutely wouldn’t that have been a great place for this apostle and his traveling companions to minister seems like it would no the door closed please observe it wasn’t closed by Satan and wasn’t closed because they found it difficult Paul has already proven he can handle hardship the Holy Spirit closes the door he is forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there verse 7 when they had come to mithya they were trying to go into both inia now if we took the time to look at the map you’d see the journeys they were taking but they’re trying to go and they can’t go why well we read the spirit of Jesus did not permit them again another struggle I’m sure Paul ahead of time began to think it would be great to go to these areas some of which I’ve traveled to before some of them I never have what a great opportunity to get them the message out no no no no the doors closed and passing by mithya they came to Troas if you look at the map you will find that that’s like traveling across the United States all the way to San Francisco and the next step you take your feet get wet there’s no further land TRO as is the edge it’s at the edge of the Aegean so they can’t go any further now we don’t read all of there of emotions here but I’m sure there were a few evenings of wrestling and struggling and conversation over why in the world did we even set out on this trip that door closed this door closed this door closed and that region that is so needy we were unable to go there and here we find ourselves on the edge of Asia and it’s there we read verse 9 a vision appeared to Paul in the night a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him saying come over to Macedonia and help us isn’t that an amazing thing I doubt that in Paul’s mind it was a plan to go to Europe think about it it’s out of his realm of familiarity it’s a completely different culture a different way of life different language it’s um it’s not in on his radar screen just as some of you would say today five years ago you would never dream you would be where you are right now but this isn’t five years ago this is the moment we’re in the middle of whatever it may have been day or night a vision comes the man saying come over here come over here and help us verse 10 when he had seen the vision I tell you I admire the next word immediately we sought to go into Macedonia by the way this begins what’s called a wee section of the book of Acts that’s because Luke is included here Luke becomes a traveling companion with Paul and he now includes himself he’s the writer and so it would be naturally first-person plural not only Paul but Luke also and in this case he would include other traveling companions we we immediately sought a way to get into Macedonia concluding God had called us to preach the gospel to them I could show this to you in several other places but time is short i-i-i believe it is our responsibility to lay before the Lord a willingness that says open doors and closed doors I want you to know Lord I will go through the open one I will not give you my agenda I will not expect you to fulfill my options I am available to you I could tell you that every place I have ministered I was surprised to be led there every one of them I did not seek one of them getting into a radio ministry was never

in my plan in fact I was like CS Lewis again kicking and screaming dragging my being dragged into the various ministries God called me to never expected to be a part of the leadership of Dallas Theological Seminary I’m an alumnus love the school never thought I would be in any way engaged in it having served in that position I now AM a chancellor at Dallas seminary whatever that means by the way that that is a great title that I don’t still don’t know what it means I have a grandson who asked me wasn’t Adolf Hitler a chancellor so I don’t tell a lot of people that I was a chancellor you know but that is a role I was supposed to fill there I’m ever expected to be kept on after I left the presidency I never expected to have a church in Frisco Texas that’s where we used to hunt dove when I was a student at Dallas seminary I never expected to write anything that would ever be published these are open doors that have occurred and I found myself amazingly surprised to see what God had in mind as I simply said to him if that’s what you want even though it’s not what I want then you can unfold it your way let me tell you another story that’s better than mine I was ministering up at Estes Park Colorado enjoying a celebration of The Navigators 50th anniversary I’ve been invited to speak I knew a number of the navigators for my years in the Marine Corps and the following years loved the ministry and appreciate those people so much so I was honored to go when it came time for me to leave I needed a ride back to to Denver where I’d catch my plane back home and one of the men said to me would you mind if I if I drove you I said I’d that’s fine I have no other plans so as we’re driving along he said I want to tell you my story that’s a great I love stories this turned out to be a wonderful story he said my wife and I’ve been with the navigators for I forget the number now 30 years 35 years he said we were in a conference on one occasion we were really struggling with of God but one thing we did know is that God did not want us to do overseas work my wife wasn’t big on it and I wasn’t too excited about it and so we had sort of blocked that out he said Laurence Annie and some of the team called me in one day and said to me is they called my name we’ve been praying about Uganda we have no work in Uganda and and we really believe this may be the place the Lord has for you and he said you know what I need to tell you that that’s going to be a tough sell for for my wife but he said she’s a godly woman and I know she’ll be open to whatever may be the will of God so he said I have to tell you – it’s not anything like I would have planned I would much rather have stayed on a campus work or or do work with businessmen or maybe in the military at one of the bases here in the States lo and behold he with his small family said yes and they they flew to Africa he had never been on the continent in his life he he flew into Nairobi and he left his wife right there and rented of an old vehicle to get into Uganda where he would drive and then later come back and get them once he found a place for them to live he said Chuck I have to tell you as I’m driving I’m wondering what on earth am I doing here in this land and at this place he said I drove over the border and I’d forgotten that this land had been under siege for years under a dictator and a murderous dictator at that and he said in front of me were eight nine ten year old boys carrying ak-47s and staring at me as I’m driving by and he said my heart just sank because I thought not only am I in a place I didn’t expect to be but I am in a land that’s dangerous and I am about to bring my family here how could this be with God wants he said so I pulled up at the next place and it gotten dark by now there was a just a naked light bulb hanging out I could read as best I could make out something that looked like hotel and I decided I would spend the night there so he said Here I am away from my family oh they’re they’re miles away and I’m I walk into this place the guys asleep at the at the desk and I wake him up and I say is it he spoke a little English and I said go do you have a room well he said yeah we have a place for you to stay so he said I walked upstairs two flights of stairs and I walked into this room totally dark snap the light on right above a little table and one bed

was unmade and his bed was not yet occupied that was for him he didn’t realize it but he’s sharing a room and he thinks who on earth is going to be in this room with me so he says uh tears filled my eyes he says I dropped to my knees and I said Oh God what on earth is happening I really struggled with this whole thing how can I hide how can I serve you in a place where I have such uneasiness said I got it from my knees and boom the door open and and walked a 6 foot 6 inch African who said what are you doing in my room in great English he said I am I uh I really they said it was a room here I he said who are you he said well this is my name and he said he said do you mind he said what do you do it and the man said well I’m I’m with an organization called the navigators and this giant of a man said he picked me up oh praise God I have been waiting for years this is the one in Colorado Springs Colorado and he’s got yeah yeah yes yes yes hey yeah yeah that’s me this man turns out to be one of the leaders in the very community where they found a place for him to live and became for him over the next 12 years the best friend he had who helped him through all sorts of the battles that go with a change of the customs and a change of culture and helped him through difficult times helped his wife get so helped his family get settled the kids fell in love with it and life rolled along and it was just I mean he said I realized after we began to serve Christ and one after another came to Christ and he and they went through all kinds of trials but it was it was a wonderful story I’m going to save the last part of the story for a moment and give you a couple of three principles that would maybe help you and then we’ll open it up for some questions first of all since God is sovereign he is in full control since God is sovereign he is in full control no door closes without first getting God’s nod no door opens without his approval so settle that at least begin to settle it in your heart right now second since God is in full control he takes full responsibility for opening doors and closing doors that’s not your responsibility when you sense that door is closed don’t even push don’t try to manipulate you if you’re not careful you’re going to rely on your own human strength which proverbs 3:5 and 6 tells us is a bad thing to lean on don’t lean on your own understanding let the door stay closed acknowledge the door has opened 3 the closing of a door is a good opportunity for the Lord to lead you to one that opens and is a better one so rather than grieving over a door that closed think of it as an opportunity to look elsewhere as Paul did when he got to Troas and realized all of you opened up to him as a result of his being willing not to fight the closed doors in Asia number four not until we walk through the open door will we realize the importance of God’s closing the previous ones not until we walk through and have hindsight where we realized the value of the closed doors my navigator friend who God sent to Uganda remember I told you we had children who were schooled over there that was their place of growing up that’s where their friends were he said when they finally had to leave they just it just they were wrenched in their spirit to leave because they had so connected so he said he came back and his oldest son was finishing high school back in the Denver or the Colorado Springs area and as a part of his a senior year they were to go to Washington DC and take a trip their senior class which is not uncommon for some schools so they gave him $40 and they said you can spend it on whatever

you like while you’re in DC and surprise us just get something that’s memorable and meaningful for you so the board was gone for two weeks and he came back and then he asked him to come up to his room when he had opened what he had bought you want to show them it was a large flag of Uganda he said I want both of you to know that those were the best years of my life and I want to thank you he said I believe God’s calling me to go back and to invest my life there where I grew up he said what had become earlier a dark passage and a struggle for us was in fact a door that opened wide that not only changed our lives but altered our family forever it’s an amazing thing how God does things like that and like I said earlier it often comes as a as a surprise something you would have never ever imagined I don’t know if you like annie dillard writing but she wrote a book years ago called pilgrim at tinker creek she writes in making the thick darkness a swaddling band for the sea God set bars and doors and said here the two shalt thou come but no further but have we come even that far and we rode out to the thick darkness or all we are we all playing pinochle in the bottom of the boat it’s time we got reacquainted with our maker she adds it’s time we got closer to his thick darkness sure beats playing pinochle on the bottom of the boat I don’t know where tonight’s talk finds any of you for all I know you were exactly where you should be and you find comfort and peace in it and the struggle has ended and you are delighting in the the unfolding of the plan of God now that you’ve walked through the open door others of you may find yourself struggling right now or perhaps about something yet future over the horizon and you may wonder what it is that the Lord plans for you I would simply urge you to stay open be willing to accept his surprising will do your best not to fight it keep in mind that he is the Potter you and I are the clay he’s the master we’re the servant those I have known and loved and many of them have become my mentors in life can tell their own stories of God’s surprising plan is it unfolding and all of them I think if they could stand for me tonight and speak in my place would say never expected to happen what has it happened in my life I simply was available willing and when I sensed the door opened I walked through it good now let me pray and then we’ll open the floor for questions we have about 15 16 minutes for that and then we will be on our way bow with me will you Father thank you for what can be learned from just a brief excursion through the scriptures thank you for models that have gone before us we stand on their shoulders and we acknowledge in doing so of these men and women were people of great faith who immediately would follow your plan wherever that may lead them to places that they would have never imagined or could have never planned to go thank you in advance for the things that will be applied as a result of what we have heard it may it help may it help us when we come to that dark room in some difficult place years removed in a land we never expected we would be on the verge of a ministry we never could have imagined would have been ours to participate in thank you for such stories as this we are strengthened by

them maybe not soon forget this one in the name of the Savior we pray everybody said hey man all right now please uh there we are you got it you’re on your way go easy on me dr. Soong doll thank you for coming here I have a question for you running along the theme of being alert to the will of God you’ve cited a quote several times in your chapel sessions and I tried to write it down so this is my if it doesn’t sound quite right correct me please but I think this is about it the Muggeridge quote any happening greater small as a parable by which God speaks to us the art of life is seeing these parables interpreted cynically I look around I see groups of three people talking and I delve deeply into the mystery of God what does that mean and I know that or I have a feeling that when he said this he meant something specific but to me in this context it just comes off as something a little bit general so that’s my first question then second of all I’m wondering if you could explain or or just comment on why you are interrupted and not to be cynical but why you’re interrupted by two separate noises multiple times in Chapel this morning one from the bell system and another from the construction outside the chapel so if you could just give your commentary on those that you get oh my lord I’ve got to explain interruption from noises they warned me about guys like you you know first of all the quote is from Malcolm Muggeridge and while I never met Muggeridge I’ve read many of his writings and have admired him certainly from a distance I think when he refers to life as a parable he is not referring to some specific some specific parable I think it is tailor-made for each one of us that’s why he says at the end of that quotation that we are you know that the art of life is is not to miss that message but to get it you see I think like tonight I think this talk says one thing to one person in something altogether different to someone else it says one thing to a freshman who is here tonight from Wheaton College who is just beginning studies and just sort of going through the bewildered stage of all of you can remember who students there of finding your way around and whatever that parable for that individual is one kind and then there are seniors here who are not that many months removed from their careers or at least the open doors that will lead to their careers the process of life as it unfolds the goal I suggest he means by that is that we get God’s directing we remain sensitive to what he is saying when I was a seminary student I remember Cynthia and I struggled we didn’t have any children for six and a half years after we had married and during the time without children we had we read a lot together and we we talked a lot about could it be that God wants us serving him outside these United States well it is that the parable for us and I was extremely sensitive went to every missions conference that we had listened to all of the speakers in fact went to lunch with some of them talked to them privately wrote some of the mission organizations and we came to realize through a number of events that occurred that that wasn’t his plan for us but we were to be involved in sending others that were to go but we but we didn’t miss that message ID one of the profs there named Zane Hodges who the chaplain knows and had it as one of his profs put it so well he said I struggled with with being at a school here in the heart of Dallas and why I wasn’t serving him in some remote and challenging difficult area and why am I not on the mission field and he said I realized one day who says I’m not since when does going across a border mean I’m on the mission field or I’m into a mission work he said I now touch the lives of thousands of students over a period of time and that is a mission that some people would would die for so he didn’t miss that message but he was open and now as to how I can interpret why my talk was interrupted by noises I don’t know I tell people all the time who are concerned about that I talk in people sleep I talk when people are walking out of meetings I talked while babies cry I’ll talk why they’re building buildings over here and that doesn’t bother me at all though at times it bothers an audience a great deal yeah yes I betcha

swindle I’ve really enjoyed your talk so far thanks thanks being with us I had actually four questions but a couple of them are kind of like brief like two words could we do it one at a time to make me remember all of them sure if you all right so the first one is I know that in in my life sometimes when something seems really difficult and I push through to accomplish it yeah that it seems like the Lord just gave me the perseverance and then enabled me to accomplish it but then other times seem almost identical and I seem to be pushing really hard and then that seems like one of those closed-door yeah and I wondered if if you have a way that you that helps you to discern whether it’s a time when you should apply the biblical care grace of perseverance or whether it’s a closed door you know what helps me the most in times like that prayer and this is not an escape I know about every question could be answered we’ll just pray about it but I I really I I really will tell you when I’m not sure that I ought to be pressing because it is tough and as I’ll share tomorrow this last year was the toughest year of my life in ministry and it was my 45th year in the ministry of the gospel hands down toughest year of my life and I I could not push through it it had not been for my family and my wife and a few very close friends who knew the whole thing I was going through I could not have made it and I will tell you prayer became for me a refuge a way of hope and it helped me know when to keep my mouth shut and not to engage it would have been a fight had I done so or when to speak and even to speak firmly against those who were making life so miserable for me so prayer I would say would probably be your best way to get through that though I’m going to tell you since I’m committed to honesty not even that will help some time by that I mean it won’t relieve you it just helped I think prayer reminds me that this is in his hands not mine it isn’t my fight it’s his fight like David puts so well when he’s going down to take on the Giant the battle is the Lord’s you know yeah question number two okay that’s good this one’s kind of kind of similar so how do you know whether a lack of peace about a decision is out of your own fears or whether God is showing you that and maybe I’ll go because that one’s similar maybe I’ll go and ask the next one is a add on to it okay of what what do you think about the the idea of asking for confirmations of possible kind of like a fleece like thing you know in all honesty sometime you don’t know you just won’t know time I learned from dr. Dwight Pentecost time is the greatest of all Levellers it’s a grand statement I’ve quoted it to my children as they were growing up time is the greatest of all Levellers give it time let it be I say we’re often like the little boy who puts a seed in the ground and digs it up every day to see if it’s growing you need to leave it there let it grow it doesn’t grow it’s not supposed to grow if it does grow then you’re nurturing that’s kind of a homespun way to put this sort of thing I think we make it a little bit too complicated God wants us to know his plan he really wants it he’s not hiding saying okay I bet you can’t guess this dime wrong that’s not the will of God I mean God wants to reveal to us worry what worried have us go he’s not playing hide-and-seek and so let’s not do that with him Lord you know I don’t know how to read this and I don’t want to push this in the flesh don’t dare let me do that that’s called carnality I don’t want to operate like that my daughter Griesa gave someone wonderful advice recently she said you got to remember that that when you’re in a boat and you’re speeding along there’s a wake behind that boat and every act has consequences everything you’re doing especially if it’s in the realm of wrong will impact others the wake is there and so I think to keep from the wait it goes

with it I say walk sensitively with the Lord through that and tell him you were willing to do whatever he would have you do I would guard against what I call voodoo and that is all kinds of superstitious things I read about a guy that was riding down a Main Street and he hit five green lights if it says Lord if I hit seven of them I’ll go to South America what in the world of seven green lights in a row mean about I heard about a lady whose car was stalled in front of an embassy in Washington DC happened to be Ecuador and she took it to me God wants me to go that way heard about a woman who woke up in two o’clock red 747 she thought that’s the flight I ought to take I ought to be on that flight when we go please that is voodoo theology you complicate things when you try to do stuff like that so you make yourself available you tell the Lord you’re willing um hands down he will he will delight in revealing to you what is planted but he won’t do it in the time you want him to he seems so slow in all honesty yeah everybody agree that yeah we have another question yeah just last one Nagas okay get it done uh what do you think about the role of fasting in all of this I think fasting is obviously not a good example of it but I think fasting how that fasting works for some people no I shouldn’t joke about you were asking a question all seriousness yeah to tell you the truth interesting you mentioned that sent my wife who is often she takes the place of the Holy Spirit in my life she says things that I I need to hear and I haven’t heard it from Holy Spirit she said to me I wonder at times if we are not fast about this fasting is not for the purpose of show of telling everybody else how many meals you’re missing it’s for the purpose of spending that time seeking God’s mind and passing up what time would be spent fixing a meal cleaning up after a meal eating a meal and in the in the leanness of those hours you often get things simplified and and the scriptures do speak of that they do yeah thank you those are good question yes I for your patience and yeah no problem no problem is it dr swindle sorry Chuck would be preferred good Chuck you know if you’re conscious but you do that right Chuck I was just wondering if you could comment on the balance between waiting on the Lord and waiting to be led by the Lord and feeling God wants this for me and I’m just going to go after it passionately I’m going to pursue that if you could comment on that balance isn’t that a great question thank you for asking it it’s another one of the very practical struggles as we say to the Lord I’m going to wait on you for this there ought to also be in that script and I will go as soon as you give me the assurance remember he went immediately to Troas or been set up the plans to go there’s nothing wrong with immediate I don’t think that’s that’s rash he had the assurance God spoke now that was in a day when God supernaturally spoke in that way I have made decisions that were large decisions rather briefly I’ve rarely made them but when I did I didn’t regret it because there was the sense of assurance that’s what I need to do and sometimes you don’t have a lot of time there are times it’s kind of like the hole in the line it opens and it closes and if the runner isn’t there he’s going to get stopped and the Lord opens it and you have a choice opportunity I call it a window of opportunity and he may give you that reassurance and only you if you’re married you and your partner a well since this is what you want to be doing by the way I got a big thing on that I don’t think you ought to do it if you’re partners against it I always love asking first-year students the seminary when I speak to him at our church he’s there and he’s all filled with excitement and I I would usually look at his wife and say how do you feel about this I’ve gotten some very interesting answers you are in it together yeah you didn’t ask for that but that’s an extra okay yes hi Chuck I was wondering if you could comment on this section of scripture from Romans 12:2 which says do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world that rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind then you will be able to test what God’s will is his good pleasing and perfect will and I was wondering specifically what the role of being countercultural will you forgive

me I did not understand a word you said if you would just get right up into the mic sir thank you okay thank you this is my problem it’s not yours um in Romans 12:2 Paul says do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the new mind then you’ll be able to test what God’s will is his good pleasing and perfect will and I was wondering what the role of discernment is in that and also how we should approach being countercultural like that I think there is an enormous role that discernment plays in that obviously the will of God is best it is good it is right it is holy it is a sir is an act of worship in fact and I believe that when the father leads us into that we must discern that it is the voice of our Heavenly Father now that’s a little iffy isn’t it I I can’t give you hard and fast guidelines that say this is how you will know every time and this is this will keep you from doing the wrong thing uh it’s a strange way to put it but I believe you will know in your heart this is a direction you should go so in that sense you play a role in it because you are your we’re not robots and God’s given us a and that’s another good reason to seek the counsel of those you respect because they will they will look out for what is best if they’re really wise they will tell you what you want to hear they’ll tell you what they really believe about what you’re going through those are the best kind of counselors that Romans 12 is a mouthful isn’t it you know I’m really sensitive to the time it’s 8 o’clock and I maybe we can take this one more if that would be okay using the analogy of the open doors and the closed doors I’ve often felt that my life thus far has been wandering around in a dimly lit room trying every doorknob that I can get my hands on right wishing that I could possibly find a light switch somewhere so I could see which doors are already open how do you find that light switch and find which doors are open without having to try every last door I don’t have a clue you know why yeah many years ago I would have had 9 answers for you fact when I got on a seminary I was answering questions no one was asking I’m and and I I would just die at the stake for every one of them I won’t dies quickly now for those things the reason I don’t know how to answer that is because I don’t know you if you and I were better friends and if I knew your journey I’m not trying to be a sidewalk shrink here but if I knew your journey I would understand better what that dark room means I’m intrigued by that so I think I will answer it through the side door I hope you have if not won some good discerning friends who care enough for you to help you in the darkroom find your way I am very serious with this because you could very well be in that room you’re supposed to be in kept there for a period of time confused and unsure not unlike Paul who was blinded right but he was converted often thought what an interesting thing to do it’s like the Lord shut out all visible interference so we had the darkness the blindness you feel like that you’re in this dark room and with friends who can help you talk that through I believe you can discern where to find the light switch because I think the light needs to be on before you’ll know where the door is in the middle of the darkness there is mainly confusion and uncertainty you know what I want to say this – you’re a courageous man to say that in front of everybody I’m very impressed with that I hope you never lose that sense of vulnerability it’s taken me half a lifetime to get there and I’ve come to the place where I would just admit things like that and I used to be so guarded in and not vulnerable but you at this young age are are willing to say in front of people you don’t even know everybody here this is

where I find myself that is a very good thing that is a very good thing good for you it didn’t help you a lot but maybe you feel better in the dark room a little eye good eye and I’m going to ask you because you you you know said it in front of everybody do you have some friends who can be that helpful who can be that discerning who would care that much some and I don’t live too far from here I’m still okay I was going to ask are you a student because if you are I would say that’s part of the role of a chant of a of a chaplain or someone who is on that team that would help you you need the counsel of individuals not in that room hmm but who will respect the fact that you were there and helped you figure out why that’s true hmm more than we would ever believe could say the same thing you’ve said but they don’t have the guts to say it hmm and I’m really proud of you for declaring that okay thank you all right everybody you’re a delightful group of people and thank you for this you’re watching w ET n TV a Broadcasting Service of Wheaton College for a copy of this program please call the media resources department of Wheaton College at seven five two five zero six one