Stay When God Says "Stay"
About three weeks ago my wife and I were in Mexico vacationing with her family. While there God clearly showed me that my time working for my father (the last 3.5 years) was over. The day after our return my dad told me that I need to find another job, that he's closing the company. The past weeks have given me time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
I began working for my father right out of law school. I guess I expected to help him run the company, thinking with my young, prideful mind. While he did have me run all of our new construction (a formidable task for someone with zero construction knowledge) I was essentially just another employee. My dad has been very successful, but working for him was not what I expected. We argued many times in the first months, and over the years I have occasionally prayed for the next season to arrive. Every time I found something fairly disagreeable I would ask God whether it was time to leave, but He always clearly said “Stay.”
So that's what I want to encourage you in today - staying put when God tells you to, even when your flesh is begging to leave. How many of us have faced difficult situations at work, home, school or church? How easy would be it be to leave? How nice would it be to tell everyone goodbye and walk happily out the door? I’m sure millions are feeling that way right now. If it's not leaving one place it's another, and sometimes we want to pack up and leave everyone and everything behind.
I believe God led me to a story by Kenneth E. Hagin. He said that he and his wife had left a church, and that he had believed it the right thing to do. But one day, just as they were settling in their new house, he knew the Lord was telling him to go back, that the season was not over at the previous place. He conferred with his wife and she agreed. Can you imagine that? I believe God led me to that story so that I would remember to never leave before it's God's time to go. And that's what I frequently prayed to God - "I'm not ready until you're ready, I'm good to stay as long as you want me here."
I can think of several Biblical parallels, but the story of Isaac comes to me clearest. Genesis 26:1-3 KJV - "And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father."
Now Isaac logically thought to go to Egypt during the famine (or time of trouble in the land) - for Abraham had done just that in Genesis 12. But God tells him not to go to Egypt, but to stay in Gerar. We then see God supernaturally protect him and his marriage. Then God prospers him greatly amidst this terrible famine. And I can honestly say I've had a similar experience. God told me to stay here in Tampa and at this job. While here my wife and I have been abundantly blessed. We have made good money, developed strong relationships with my family, and had opportunities to travel the world. Most importantly we heard the anointed Word of God from my father, who also pastors a church. We were obedient to stay when God said “Stay,” and God blessed us for doing so.
So what problem are you facing now? Are you thinking of leaving that situation? I would never tell you not to leave, but I would suggest you hear from God first. Look at Elijah in 1 Kings 17, sometimes when the provision dries up God will clearly tell you to move on. Just ask God for wisdom. God has already prepared good works for you to do. God knows where you should go. God knows when you should stay. Hear the voice of God, and you can be assured of provision in the place God puts you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV - "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Psalms 1:6 KJV "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
James 4:13-15 KJV "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
Seek the Lord about your plans, if He tells you to go, then go. But if He tells you to stay, you should stay. God blesses obedience and provides for us when we are in His chosen location. Thank you for reading and please pray for us as we seek God's will for our lives.