Mark Alan Williams
There Are Three Stages To Every Great Work of God
first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done. —James Hudson Taylor
Every great work of God has three stages. First, it seems like it is impossible, then it is difficult and then it is done.
James Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905) was a British Protestant Christian
missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM, now OMF
International). Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible
for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly
resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300
stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces. Wikipedia
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
Every great work of God first seems impossible. If someone would have told me that God would use me to connect with people from all over the world to help them grow in their faith; I would have thought it was impossible. But, that is exactly what happened, since I became an online missionary for Global Media Outreach, 8 years ago. God has used me to disciple, encourage and pray with others from all over the world on every continent, except Antartica. To date I have helped almost 700 people and received nearly 1,000 replies.
Recently, I’ve also been given the privilege to volunteer with Discipleship Journeys With Jesus in an online help desk capacity. Their vision is to take 100 million people on a disicpleship journey with Jesus. It’s a blessing to be used by God to connect with more people all over the world, answer questions, and send messages of encouragement and prayer.
A God-sized work requires faith in Him to accomplish the task. God specializes in doing the
impossible, but our part is to trust and obey Him. In addition, every great work of God requires time, effort and prayer. Every great work of God requires our commitment and it can be difficult. But before we know it, the great work of God is done, all by His grace and power.
Every great work of God has three stages. First it seems impossible as He may give us
opportunities to do things for Him that are impractical, outrageous and unrealistic to us and
others. But we live by faith and not by sight.
What is humanly impossible; is possible with God.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." (Matthew 19:26 NLT)
We may feel unqualified like Moses when asked to accomplish tasks that seem impossible.
God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and free them from their slavery. But Moses felt unequal to the challenge.
In Exodus 3:9-10; God told Moses: “I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.” (GNT)
Moses was hesitant as Exodus 3:11 indicates, “But Moses said to God, ‘I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” (Exodus 3:11 GNT)
God gave Moses the faith to trust Him for great things.
“God answered, ‘I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will
worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you.’” (Exodus 3:12 GNT)
When God uses people to accomplish the impossible, He gets the glory!
Secondly, every great work of God is difficult, but if it’s truly His will and work, He will be with us. Serving God takes patience and sometimes circumstances get worse and our faith is tested. His timing is usually different from ours and we have to wait patiently. We have to let God lead and not go ahead of Him.
Moses discovered this to be true when even though God promised to deliver the Israelites, it
didn’t happen immediately. In fact, Pharaoh didn’t release the Israelites in response to Moses’ request and he withheld the straw needed for them to make the bricks. They had to supply their own straw and still meet the same quota (Exodus 5:6-9).
This was difficult and discouraging. In Exodus 5:22-23 we see Moses’ response: “Moses
returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” (NIV)
When things are difficult, we often need to return to the promises in God’s Word to strengthen our faith and receive reassurance from Him, so we don’t give up.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” (Exodus 6:1 NIV)
Eventually, every great work of God that He wants completed will get done, because no one can stop His plans.
After ten plagues, Pharaoh finally agreed to let the Israelites go, but God hardened Pharaoh’s
heart, so that he and his army began to pursue them afterwards (Exodus 14:5-9).
The people were frightened and looked to Moses for help and Moses looked to God.
Exodus 14:13 says, “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’” (NIV)
God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites passed through safely on dry ground, but the Egyptians who followed drowned as the walls of water came crashing back down over them (Exodus 14:15-31).
Is God using you to do a great work for Him?
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
How To Overcome The Agony of Discouragement and Find Hope Again
Is it OK to be Angry with God? (podcast)
Why Aren't My Prayers Answered? (podcast)
Quote Card: Someday, when in the presence of our Savior, we will thank Him
Quote Card: God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you...
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