There has been a lot going on in my life recently, in case you couldn’t tell from my barely-there presence on this blog. God has been so busy throwing new opportunities and people and ideas at me it has been a while since he gave me something to write about. I can feel God leading me in each area and, while I know I am making the right choices and have laid out the right plans, there are moments it hurts. People God called me and my family to minister to have fallen away, just disappeared into life or made it very clear that they were going to do just fine on their own… only to make us watch them fall apart. As leaders, we live big and love bigger, which means we also feel loss a lot stronger than some people will ever really understand. Even though I have never had a single doubt about God intentionally bringing people into our lives, it hurts to watch them leave. Why does God bring these people into our lives when they are only going to walk out?
Because maybe that’s the only chance they have.
Maybe you are the only person in their life that is breathing into them, or trying to live out a good example for them. Maybe you, leader, who thinks your influence doesn’t even matter, are the one Godly influence they will have for years to come, and you are planting that seed. God gives everyone free will, and if they decide to throw your care and advice away then they have the freedom to do that, but it is up to you to make sure that you tried, and when God gave you the peace of mind to let them go, to let them go.
It is not easy, and I doubt it ever will be. I have dealt with pain and rage at nearly every person who has walked into my life only to walk out. Our hearts for the people we are trying to lead are huge, and while we try to stay strong and keep moving, it hurts when someone we know we could help chooses to ignore it. It is hard to watch those we feel most called to help go down another path that we have already seen the painful results of — but we cannot stop them. We cannot change their hearts. That’s God’s job.
As painful as it is, our job is to keep chasing after God and trying to live as shining lights in a dark world, even if nobody else will let us share our flame with their damp, neglected wick. We have to keep trying, keep moving, and while everyone needs time to mourn, there will always be those who choose to remain hard in their hearts against God, regardless of anything else. But there will also be those who see us and think “God, give me that.” Maybe that bratty girl your daughter used to play with will someday remember the family who was nice to her, but didn’t let her push them around — or not. Maybe those stupid boys you tried to teach to respect themselves and other people will someday see other people living after God’s own heart and think “I’ve seen that before. I didn’t notice it then but now I do, I have to figure out what makes them different” — or not. There are times we may never really see the fruit of our labor, because all we did was sow a seed that took one or twenty years to sprout, but for every batch of seeds that falls on dry ground, or by weeds, or under a hungry flock of birds, there are a few seeds that find fertile soil, and will one day grow.