by Stephanie Olson, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
This January 22 will mark Set Me Free Ministries’ six-year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that we have been ministering, speaking, worshiping, writing, and teaching for six years. God is good, and most definitely faithful.
But I have a confession to make. I received the call to begin this ministry one morning when I was running. As I began to pray about it and talk to a few key people, it became clear what God wanted us to do. Clear as mud, that is. Oh, I thought I knew exactly what His vision for the ministry looked like, but I was so wrong. We have learned over these past six years that God doesn't always give the full picture when He speaks something over our lives. Wait … always? No, I’m afraid He never gives the full picture.
Often, He will give us a promise–for example, start a ministry–and then we will add to that promise in our own humanness. God told us we were going to begin a ministry, and in my mind I had already hired a staff, built offices, and begun to travel with my worldwide ministry. God definitely had other plans.
Think about the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-47. In Genesis 37, God gave Joseph a dream that he would reign over his brothers, and they would bow down in front of him. For any of you who have siblings, you know that is a great dream! God showed Joseph the end of his story, but He kind of skipped over the part about being thrown in a pit, being imprisoned for years, and, well, all of the bad stuff. I’m pretty sure Joseph wouldn't have been too excited about his dream if God had started with the road that Joseph had to travel to get to the good part.
That’s what we have learned during our time in the ministry. Chasing after God requires sacrifice. It’s never an easy road. And often God will give us a promise of what He is going to do in our lives, but He doesn't give us the details of the road we’ll have to travel to get to that promise. If we saw the road we had to travel, how many of us would answer the call?
What we have learned, the hard way, is that our Heavenly Father had to break us before He could truly use us. He had to give us hearts that wanted to serve Him no matter what. What we learned was that if God would have given us everything we “wanted” in ministry immediately, we wouldn't have been equipped to do the job He has called us to do. We would have been doing the job we wanted to do. He brought us to the place where we finally said, "Not our will God, but Yours, no matter what."
We've all seen young stars achieve fame and fortune at a very young age. That kind of success when one is not ready for it often leads to destruction. We’re overwhelmed in the news of the tragic deaths of young stars, the drug abuse, the … dare I say it … the twerking. We see it all of the time.
When Christ calls us to serve Him, and when we truly surrender to that call, it may not be the road we imagine it to be–no, it won’t be the road we imagine it to be, but it will be the road God wants us on.
So, rest assured, when God gives you a promise, He will keep it. Numbers 23:19 tells us, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
He will fulfill His promises for you. “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Cor. 1:20-22)
That is His guarantee!