But God… I Hate My Situation

by | Nov 2, 2010 | Charisma Archive

But God… I Hate My SituationI have discovered that as we seek the Lord our most
difficult periods can be transformed into wonderful breakthroughs into
God’s love. For me, one such season occurred during the years 1979 to
1981.

The association of churches with which I was aligned had
fallen under spiritual deception. Not only were its core doctrines
increasingly seeded with New Age influences, but also immorality crept
in, and key leaders began leaving their wives for other women.

I could no longer remain silent. I left my congregation
in Detroit, where I had served as pastor, and traveled to the
organization’s regional headquarters in Iowa. I went to plead for
repentance. However, after meeting with the senior leaders, I was asked
to leave the group.

You can imagine the situation that left my family and me
in. We had left our church, we had no money, and we had four little
children. We couldn’t afford even basic housing. Desperate for almost
any type of shelter, we finally found an old farmhouse in rural
Washington, Iowa. The home was more than 100 years old, but it actually
looked much older. After negotiating with the landlord, we were given a
year of free rent provided I did work around the house such as cleaning
and painting.

Even so, the house needed more than I
could provide. The furnace did not work well, so we installed a
wood-burning stove in the kitchen. That first winter, it turned out,
was one of the coldest in Iowa’s history. Frost formed on the inside
walls, spreading a foot or two around each window, and wind chills
dropped to 60 below—lower than that on several occasions.

To keep warm each night, the whole family cuddled tightly
on one large mattress on the dining room floor, about 18 feet from the
stove in the kitchen. A fan behind the stove nudged warm air in our
direction. My nightly project, of course, was to build enough heat in
the stove to keep us warm until morning.

While I worked the fire, I also prayed and sought God.
The wood burner became a kind of altar to me, for each night as I
prayed, I offered to God my unfulfilled dreams and the pain of my
spiritual isolation.

As the seasons came and went, the little area around the
wood burner continued to be a hallowed place for me. Even in the
summer, I would sit on the chair next to the stove and pray and worship.

I would like to say I found the joy of
the Lord during this time, but in truth, though I gradually adjusted to
my situation, I felt an abiding misery in my soul. Our deep poverty was
an issue (I earned barely $6,000 a year), but more than that, I felt as
if I had missed the Lord. My continual prayer was, “Lord, what do You
want of me?”

Three years of seeking God passed, and I still carried an
emptiness inside. What was God’s will for me? I had started a couple of
Bible studies and spoken a few times in churches, but I so identified
with being a pastor that, until I was engaged again in full-time
ministry, I feared I had lost touch with God’s call on my life.

Despite this inner emptiness about
ministry, I was growing spiritually, especially in areas that were
previously untilled. I had unconsciously defined a successful ministry
as something born of my performance. During this time, however, the
Lord reduced me to being simply a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Rising to the top of my focus was a
passion to be a true follower of Jesus Christ—to obey His teachings and
approach life not as a critic but as an encourager. I also found myself
increasingly free to enjoy and learn from Christians from other streams
and perspectives.

These changes, though deep and lasting,
occurred slowly, almost imperceptibly. They were happening quietly in
my heart, and only in hindsight did I see what the Lord had done.
Throughout this time, I was preoccupied with feelings of detachment
from God’s will. My prayer to know the Lord’s plan for me continued
daily.

One day as I stood in the kitchen pantry, I repeated
again my abiding prayer: “Lord, what do You want of me?” In a sudden
flash of illumination, the Lord answered. Speaking directly to my
heart, He said, “Love Me where you’re at.”

In this time and season, I was a TV television repairman
doing odd jobs on the side to provide for my family. I hated what I was
doing.

In my previous church I had taught against TV, and now I
was “laying hands” on sets and raising them from the dead! The Lord’s
answer cut straight to my heart. I was awed at its simplicity!

I asked: “Love You where I am at? Lord, is that all You want of me?” He replied, “This is all I will ever require of you.”

In that divine moment peace flooded my
soul and I was released from the false expectation of ministry-driven
service. God was not looking at what I did for Him but who I became to Him
in love. The issue in His heart was not whether I pastored but whether
I loved Him. To love the Lord in whatever station I found myself—even
as a television repairman—this I could do!

A deep and remarkable transformation
occurred in me. My identity was no longer in being a pastor but in
becoming a true lover of God. Amazingly, a few days after having
settled my priorities, I was invited to pastor a church in Marion, Iowa. 

In spite of all my previous anxiety about returning to
ministry, I did not jump at the opportunity because I had learned what
the Lord truly desired of me. Though I eventually accepted this call,
my focus was not merely on leading a church but on loving God.

God seeks our love before our ministry.
His greatest commandment is that we love Him with all our mind, heart,
soul and strength. If we do, we will fulfill all He requires of us (see
John 14:15). It is as we love Him that He causes all things to work
together for our good (see Rom. 8:28).

Beloved, loving God is not hard. We can
fulfill any assignment—auto mechanic or housewife, doctor or college
student—and still give great pleasure to our heavenly Father. We do not
need ministry titles to love the Lord. Indeed, God measures the value
of our lives by the depth of our love. This is what He requires of all
true God-seekers: to love Him where we are.


 

Francis Frangipane retired in June as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after more than 25 years. Visit him online at frangipane.org. He is the author of numerous books, including And I Will Be Found By You (Arrow Publications), from which this article is adapted. To order the book, call 877-363-6889.


BIBLICALLY CONTENT

Meditating on the Bible is one way to find God’s peace and contentment. For helpful verses, go to content.charismamag.com.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Read Time: 3 Minutes 7 Seconds “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold,” (2 Sam. 5:17). When David heard that he was under...

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Read Time: 3 Minutes 56 Seconds God is good. And He has a good plan for each of our lives. No matter what may be going on right now, God’s plan is unfolding. In the meantime, Romans 12:12 tells us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,”...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

RECENT ARTICLES

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdzLoS3wCM During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own...
Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Read Time: 4 Minutes 2 Seconds When I first became a believer in 1970, my mother was one of my first “converts," giving her heart to Jesus as soon as I shared with her the beauty, the power and the opportunity of making Jesus the Lord of her life. However, my father...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 41 Seconds I was remembering a time when my husband and I were praying over friends who had been in a situation for many years that had caused deep trauma to their souls. As we were praying for them, I became aware of an angel standing over them...

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be resilient in turbulent times. One of the most powerful things you can...

Pin It on Pinterest