How many times have you prayed like Jabez “Lord, oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory”? How many times have you said “Lord, use me for Your glory”? I believe we can all remember a time when we’ve prayed along those lines. We desire to be used by God, and we want him to expand our borders, but we are hardly ever prepared for everything that comes along with that. Here is a part of my story…
When I just became a believer I was zealous for the things of God. I felt that I had wasted enough time searching for truth that now that I had found it, I was ready to go full speed ahead. I prayed that very serious prayer “Lord, whatever you want me to do I will do it” but I had no idea what I was asking for. The Lord was about to reveal His plan for my life and it did not look like anything that I had in mind. It began a few weeks after getting saved when God spoke to me out of Jeremiah I:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
As I read that passage that morning, the first thought that came to me was to run but in my heart I knew that I could not run from God. After I was able to compose myself, I called my co-worker who explained to me that God had a work for me to do. I thought that was the end of it but there was more.
One night a few weeks later, I was asleep and kept hearing the voice of the Lord saying “Ezekiel 2! Ezekiel 2! Ezekiel 2!” I woke up and read it:
“He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
The preparation was great and the road extremely lonely but God!
A few years later, the Lord launched me into ministry. He told me “do the work of an evangelist” and for the next five years, I was preaching the Gospel and operating in deliverance ministry. One day I asked the Lord, “have you called me as a prophet or an evangelist, because you are leading me into so many directions that I don’t know what to make of it”. During that time I was also working in media and the Lord had sent me to seminary. There were days when I felt like I was in the middle of utter confusion and I could not make sense of it. Then some time after that, came another shift.
One night I had a dream where I was sitting in a brand new office. It was huge and everything in it was over-sized. The desk, the chair, everything, and I felt like a grasshopper sitting around the desk. Thoughts were racing through my mind. I remember thinking this office looks like a man’s office based on its size and also the furniture, so how can this be my office? What am I doing here? what will people say? then the dream ended.
I sought the Lord and He told me “I have called you as an Apostle.” I wept! I was afraid of the weight of the responsibility and also about what people were going to say. For a long time I did nothing about what I had heard and I told no one except my daughter. I was hoping that it was all a mistake and it would all go away, but wasn’t I the one who had told the Lord “whatever you want me to do, I will do…”? A lot of us miss this, but asking the Lord to increase us is another way of asking God to give us more, and with more comes greater responsibility.
On the evening of my consecration to the apostolic office, I opted to lay prostrate before the Lord as opposed to kneeling. After they poured oil upon my head and prayed, I remember trying to get up off the floor but I could not move. My hands, feet, my entire body felt like lead – there was an enormous weight upon me!
The Bible speaks of the weight of God’s Glory (Kavod in Hebrew) and I believe I experienced that weight that night. However, the call of the apostolic office is also weighty. There were days when I felt that I was about to break under the weight and heaviness of the office but the Spirit of the Lord taught me that we grow into our calling. The initial call to the office of the prophet and the evangelist, my work in media, public relations and seminary were all part of the training and preparation process for where God was taking me, and there is still more that God is doing.
The reality is that we all desire to be used by God, it is just that some of us would prefer for Him to use us how WE choose. Sometimes we are praying for physical and material increase but God wants to increase our level of responsibility in the Kingdom. If God were to enlarge your territory today, whether materially or spiritually, would you be prepared to handle everything that comes with it?
There are times when preparation feels like confusion, like you are going around in circles and the pain of transitioning is unbearable, but it’s all a part of God’s plan. These are the methods through which we grow and mature into the fullness of purpose. I don’t know where you are at in your journey at this time, but I do know that all things are working for your good and for God’s glory. Submit to the process and trust the power of the Holy Spirit at work in you. You are being prepared for the weight of the increase.