You may have heard that only those who are prepared for the opportunities that come their way will be successful. And in some capacity, we are all expending so much time, effort and resources in preparing for the future and there’s nothing wrong with that. Preparation is often a prophetic stance as you take steps by faith, looking forward to God answering your prayers.
But for many, all their preparation wasn’t quite useful for where God was taking them to. They just showed up at certain places and they were handed the script for their next assignment. They kept going with no time to read about their new roles, there was no time to even get wise counsel from anyone. All they will need was already provided by God.
“Troubles and trials have a way of helping us discover alternative options to get on with life or awaken dormant talents.”
That’s why it’s so vital to spend time with God to discover His purpose for your life so you don’t end up exhausted and ineffective on a journey God never approved. Just because everyone else is pursuing a valid cause, doesn’t imply that God wants you doing same as well.
Troubles and trials have a way of helping us discover alternative options to get on with life or awaken dormant talents. A vacancy in a certain place might get us thinking about what we never thought about and hopefully get us to exploring new ventures. If someone shares an idea or opportunity with you that you’ve never considered before, don’t turn a deaf ear to it, don’t be quick to dismiss it, you never know if God’s leading you on to His purpose for your life.
Other times, it may be the problems or conditions you’re fed up with that might be God’s assignment for you. Everyone seems to walk by the same problem, but no one is able to take the initiative to take action. A vacant role is waiting to be filled. And while everyone else hopes that someone else will step into that vacancy, God knows that you are the one who will.
And you may begin to think that it’s your responsibility to look out for vacant spots, that might be a lot of pressure. It is better to be ready to step up to the plate when the opportunity comes knocking. Many of us will be very sad to discover someday that some of the opportunities we turned down or walked away from were God’s assignment for us.
The four examples we will explore shortly, all found God’s purpose for their lives in a vacant spot. They weren’t looking for it, they were not jostling or lobbying for these positions but more importantly, they were the least likely to be considered for that assignment but God who knows the end from the beginning had chosen them for such a time.
Esther would be our first example. She was barely surviving physically and emotionally. She was an orphan, so she had lost both parents at a very young age. She was fortunate to have her uncle take care of her. She would have been a slave or one of the concubines of a wealthy and influential person.
She was female, a Jew and also in exile. In a culture and at a time where women were seen but not heard, Esther survived in penury bereft of hope for the future. She never thought that she would ever walk close to the palace gates let alone be crowned queen. But God orchestrates and rewrites the scripts of our lives to fulfil His purpose for each of us.
“When God opens unusual doors or gives you special privileges and opportunities, it’s not because you were the brightest or the best. He has chosen you on purpose for a purpose.”
Her uncle was a palace guard and heard that the king was searching for a new queen. Esther was not the most beautiful lady but she could have turned down the opportunity to join the pageant. She had no clue where all of these was leading to. And many times, God doesn’t reveal the details of His assignment for us till we take the first steps of faith.
She could have wallowed in despair and a pity party about all the troubles that she has been through. She could have been upset with the kingdom that enslaved them. And many of us are still stuck in the troubles in our past and unable to see with new eyes what new things God wants to do through us.
All the eligible maids had to be kept in a certain place for twelve months before they had the opportunity to see the king. It must have been emotionally exhausting to be isolated from her uncle and to be with all sorts of people who didn’t look, act or behave like her and who were also vying for the same position.
Esther could have left at some point or she could have been insecure or afraid comparing and competing with other ladies, but she doesn’t. She is focused, follows all the instructions given and finds favour with the person in charge. Esther had her eyes on the goal and so should we.
And there are many of us going through a process with God, He has allowed us to be in a holding place pending when the next vacant spot will be available. He’s building our character and preparing us for our next season but if we avoid the difficult place, fast-track or truncate what God is doing, who will we have to blame?
Everyone assumed that it was Vashti who refused to display her beauty at the king’s request during his lavish banquet. Yes, she disobeyed the king’s command but it was God who allowed this happen to prepare a vessel He could use to intervene in the plot to annihilate the Jews.
God had seen ahead that Haman, the enemy of the Jews would be promoted shortly after the banquet and the king would endorse his plans to wipe out the Jews. When an opportunity to serve comes knocking, step up to the plate and give your best. You have no clue whose destiny is depending on your obedience.
To everyone else, Esther was the queen of Persia but God knew that He had her there at the right time to speak on behalf of His people. Life isn’t about you, discovering God’s purpose for your life isn’t about your comfort of pursuing your selfish ambitions, it’s partnering with God’s Spirit to establish His kingdom and His will in your spheres of influence.
“Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young. Be their ideal.”
So, when God opens unusual doors or gives you special privileges and opportunities, it’s not because you were the brightest or the best. He has chosen you on purpose for a purpose. He is counting on you to be His hands and feet and bring hope and healing to a broken and dying world.
Our next example will be Elisha. He was only a farmhand, tending to his family business. One day, while he drove the oxen on the farm, a strange prophet walks by him and throws a mantle over him saying no words and no further explanation. Elisha had just enough time to say goodbye to his family and then, followed Elijah.
Elijah’s time on earth was drawing to a close, he was exhausted with rallying God’s people back to Him and away from the worship of Baal, he was also discouraged and assumed he was the only one left that was serving God. God had told Elijah to handover a certain scope of his assignment to Elisha.
While Elijah was discouraged, exhausted and worried about God’s people, God saw a tired general retiring from active service. At any point in time, God’s people always had prophets, priests and a king but the office of the prophet was going to be vacant but God had found a replacement: Elisha.
The end of Elijah’s assignment was the beginning of Elisha’s assignment. What a mighty God we serve, He will not leave His people stranded, His plans and purpose will not fail and while we are worried who will step into these vacant spots, God has prepared certain men and women who will.
Elisha was willing and available. He was comfortable and wasn’t idle. He was busy with the task he already had but God was calling him to uncharted territories. His parents were not prophets, he had no previous education or experience requisite for his next assignment, but God saw a vessel He could use. Don’t allow your fears, insecurities or the lies of the enemy hold you back from laying hold of God’s plans for you.
The sons of the other prophets must have been surprised that God would choose someone else. God can use anyone and anything to accomplish His will. He doesn’t choose those who are full of themselves or think they deserve to be chosen but many times, those who are chosen are often surprised that God would even consider them.
There may be someone you know who is on their last legs and are looking to handover the assignment God has entrusted to them. If an opportunity to serve comes knocking, don’t walk away from it. Ask God to open your eyes to see the big picture, to grant you grace to step out by faith and wisdom to run with the vision.
Elisha received a double portion of the grace that Elijah did, there are twice as many mighty things that Elisha did that are recorded in the Bible. You may be worried about how you will fulfil God’s purpose for your life, all that you need will be provided. God will not leave you stranded.
Elisha’s servant, Gehazi would have taken over from him but he was a dishonest person. And we run the risk of losing out on what God has planned if we remain slaves to the enemy. Sin robs us of our potential and also of the opportunities. Could we miss out of God’s plan for us because we are knee-deep in sin?
Our next example of someone who discovered God’s purpose in a vacant spot is Samuel. Samuel’s mother, Hannah was barren for so many years. While she cried out to God for a son, God was looking for a vessel to lead His people.
During the days when the judges ruled Israel, everyone did as they saw fit. Ungodliness and immorality were rife and there was even a generation that didn’t know God nor believed the miracles He had done to rescue them from Egypt. After Samson died, God was looking for someone to fill the vacant spot to lead His people.
Samuel was dedicated to the Lord because his mother had made a vow to God to give her son back to the Lord if God gave her a child. Samuel lived in the temple with Eli and his sons who were also priests. But God was angry with Eli and his sons. Eli’s sons desecrated the offerings and slept with the women who had come to worship at the tabernacle. God was angrier with Eli because he didn’t do anything about his son’s behaviour.
Their time was up. Their unholy service to God was coming to an end. And God chose Samuel to lead His people during these turbulent times. The Bible is silent about how old Samuel was when he ruled over Israel. He had not enrolled for any leadership or management courses, he was still learning the ropes, but God found a willing, available and obedient servant.
Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is useful for anyone who desires to please the Lord: Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live; be a pattern for them in your love, your faith, and your clean thoughts. 1 Timothy 4:12 TLB
Eli was very old, but his sons could have continued to serve as priests. But perpetrating evil and condoning it gave way to their positions being vacant. And any of us could lose the opportunities to serve that God has entrusted to us if our hearts and hands have been defiled. God is looking for men and women who will not walk with the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit with those who mock God.
And like Samuel, you may be immature and inexperienced for the assignment God has for you. God will give you the wisdom, grace, strength, the right team and the resources you need to accomplish His will. All you need to do is stay connected to God, have your eyes and ears opened to what He is doing and be obedient to whatever He asks of you.
Our final example will be Matthias. His name is mentioned only once in the Bible. Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus and then, he killed himself. Before the day of Pentecost, the other eleven apostles decided to choose someone to replace Judas. There were about 120 disciples praying together who were waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles could have chosen anyone else, but they chose Matthias. He must have been shocked to learn that he had been nominated and then humbled that he was chosen as one of the apostles. Matthias was faithful and that’s why he was chosen.
He was chosen not because he had done so many miracles or because he organized so many church events. He had not given the largest offering nor was he praying and singing at deafening decibels at the night vigils. Matthias was chosen because he faithfully served alongside the disciples throughout the period of Jesus’ ministry.
Even though his name isn’t mentioned again, he was a part of the leadership in the early church that turned the world upside down for Jesus. Let’s stop making noise, let make a difference. Let’s stop seeking the attention and applause of others, let’s be faithful.
God has not called any of us to be famous but to be faithful. Are you faithful with the little God has entrusted to you? Let’s not expect more responsibilities or the privilege of a vacant spot if we have not been faithful and fruitful with the tasks that we have been assigned.
Every now and then, there will be vacant spots and God is looking for those who will step into it. God will be orchestrating the reorganizing and restructuring of organizations, churches, ministries and communities and is looking for people to fill up strategic positions? Will He find you available and willing?
Someone may be completing their assignment and God is looking for someone else to continue or expand their scope. Others may have begun to drift away from God and pursue their selfish agenda while God is looking for who will replace them. Will God find you willing and obedient?