One of these days, I may write a nonfiction book entitled: God Wouldn’t Do That, Would He? I will fill the pages with these words: “Yes, He would!”
One of the biggest Christian myths is the belief that if God tells us to do something, we should always be able to accomplish it. If we fail to accomplish whatever God told us to do, then it is totally our fault for the failure. After all, why would God ask us to do it in the first place if He knew we couldn’t do it?
Numerous scriptures can be used to back up this erroneous mindset, but if you view the Mosaic Law in total, which God commanded Israel to keep, you will soon realize an important fact. God knew Israel would fail to keep the Law. There is no possible way any man or nation could ever keep the 613 Mosaic Laws. So, why did God command Israel to keep the Law, knowing they could never do it?
Now we know whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20).
Paul makes the case in the book of Romans that the Law was given to reveal our sin and strip away every excuse we could ever have about making ourselves acceptable to God, apart from Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer. The Law points us to Christ.
Thus, when God asks us to do something, knowing we will fail in our attempts to do it, He has a purpose in it. It often strips us of our fleshly ways and excuses so we are more dependent on Him.
I became a licensed California real estate agent working for Tarbell Realtors in 2003. My total number of sales while working for the firm was one home and that was to Carol and me, a new two-story in Rancho Cucamonga.
But something else happened in my year with Tarbell because I felt the Lord wanted me to start a newspaper for real estate agents. It was to be a humor/satire periodical. I checked about mailing lists, computer software, printing companies, mailing costs, credit card machines, billing statements, and countless other things.
Carol and I prayed about the whole plan, its costs, and felt we should do it. I believed the periodical would be part of the fulfillment to what the Lord had whispered to my heart as a young believer: “You will own a publishing company.”
I ran a test mailing of 1,000 copies. The test showed a few problems, which needed to be addressed. It also caused Tarbell Realtors to ask for my resignation, which I agreed to do.
After the test, I sent out 8,000 copies to agents at various real estate and mortgage firms, hoping for a ten to fifteen percent return. If the mailing proved successful, the following mailing would have been to 30,000 agents. My goal was to have 30,000 paid subscribers in the publication’s first year.
Carol and I flew to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the day after the large mass mailing. She had sold over a million dollars of furniture in 2003, which placed her in the top one percent of all sales people in the nation, earning her a week’s paid vacation at Thomasville’s Top Sales Writers Conference. Thomasville wined and dined her for the whole week while I sat in the audience and applauded her accomplishments.
Although I enjoyed Carol’s success, I could not wait to return to Rancho Cucamonga and count all the subscriptions from my mailing. I rushed to the post office soon after we landed in California. I expected to see 800 to 1200 orders inside the box, but it was empty. None. Zero. Zilch for 8,000. It was statistically impossible to be that unsuccessful. The only way it could have happened was for God to slam the door in my face.
I felt crushed and humiliated by my failure. I wept and asked the Lord why He did that to me. A little while later the Lord spoke to my heart: “Now I can use you.”
I eventually found comfort in the following:
“Pioneers [prophetic people] therefore have to dwell in the constant reality that they may be mistaken. Being men and women who learn more from their mistakes than from their successes, pioneers have the privileged opportunity of providing both personal wisdom and compassion when others make errors. They must keep a careful balance: maintaining a deep hunger to follow God’s instructions exactly, while at the same time, having the courage to live with the mistakes they’ve created out of their imperfect hearing and circumstances. If you are afraid to take chances and fail, you will never make it as a pioneer.” (Pioneering by Dennis Peacocke, The Morning Star Journal, ©1991, Vol. 1, No. 4, page 21)
The above is an excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, an Amazon eBook.
(Continued in Part 4)