You have a God given dream to serve Him, and the opportunity arises to do something with it. You pray about it, consult with your oversight, and plan carefully. You tick (check) all the boxes and go ahead with your best intentions, believing you are obeying God.
But not far down the track, you encounter unforeseen obstacles.
Maybe you launched a new ministry, department or project, began some meetings, or finally stepped in the call of God for your life in a practical way. But it did not prove as effective or fruitful as you thought it would. Perhaps, you even had to cancel something. Maybe people who joined with you are hurting. Money and time you invested has been seemingly wasted. You feel crushed. And disillusionment looms.
If this sounds familiar to you—be encouraged. God is a Redeemer and Restorer, and He has something better up ahead.
Ministry Trials: God sees the Bigger Picture
In some seasons, God allows trials in our service for Him, because in His infinite love, His infinite grace, and His infinite wisdom, He sees the bigger picture and has something even better for us.
In fact, there are times when God allows us to go through tests, that in order to pass from Heaven’s viewpoint, we need to fail from a human perspective.
This is especially true when God is preparing His leaders and prophetic ministers. 
Missionary Giving turns to Receiving
22 years ago, as a young married couple, The Hunk and I had a call from God to release money into His Kingdom and to support missionaries in Asia. When an opportunity came up to purchase a business making Asian food, we prayed, processed it with our oversight. and believed God was in it.
However, when we got into the business, the projected income wasn’t there. We weren’t making enough to feed our young son and ourselves, let alone support missionaries.
One day, we went to the letterbox, and there was a letter from friends of ours who were on the mission-field. Inside was a large cheque to help with our needs.
Instead of us supporting missionaries, the missionaries supported us!
As it turned out, our vision was small, compared to what God had for us. A few years later—the business behind us—my husband stepped into the role of National Director for a mission agency. We were involved in sending long-term missionaries and short-term mission teams to Asia. We raised financial support for missionaries and church-planting projects, as well as evangelistic and humanitarian aid projects in Asia. What we originally intended to do alone, we were empowered to do alongside people and churches from all over New Zealand.
We needed the experience of living by faith financially, as well as the humility and character building that had come from our experience of ‘failure’ in serving God.
Empowerment in the Wilderness
David served Saul in the palace en route to his calling being fulfilled. What a shock it must have been when instead of favour and open doors, he ended up being hunted in the wilderness by the very one he sought to serve.
However the wilderness was part of God’s greater plan. The season in the wilderness honed David’s leadership skills, and formed the core leadership team that would serve him in the future. It developed David’s character, tried his faith, and positioned him for what was to come. 
When Adjustment is Needed
There are times when we have ‘blind spots,’ and God allows a trial to reveal the problem to us. Maybe He wants to build something new into our character or vision. And so He allows a time of failure, from earth’s perspective, to birth us into a new season.
We have our eye on a short-term ministry goal. Father has His eye on the long-term prize of our calling and our intimate relationship with Him.
In 2 Sam 6, we read about a day in King David’s life, that was supposed to be one of his crowning achievements as King of Israel. It was the day he was to transport the Ark of the Covenant to its resting place in Jerusalem.
When David’s first attempt to move the Ark of God turned into a spectacular public failure, he could have remained disillusioned and angry. But instead, he turned to the Scripture, to find out what God had to say about the process. Having learned God’s prescribed way of handling the Ark, he set about organising the nation to do God’s work, God’s way.
As a result, in David’s Tabernacle, in an open tent, looking upon the glory of God, there was 24/7 worship and prophecy and praise—something that only happened in the Old Testament during David’s time. Even today, the Church globally is being inspired by the prophetic example of David’s Tabernacle.
It took failure to bring a needed adjustment into David’s life. God’s greater prize was a King who was not only a worshipper after God’s heart, but a ruler who honoured the Scriptures, the Word of God.
 John and Paula Sandford write of the prophet’s training in their book, ‘The Elijah Task’. Although some of the material is now outdated in perspective, this one point is priceless. Speaking of Elisha’s servitude under Elijah, they note: ‘Test after test was put upon the neophyte. The test was a success only if he failed to pass it! To learn that he could not succeed by his own soul’s resources was the first building block… of the prophet’s study course.’
 See 1 Sam chapters 16 – 26.
What have you learned from attempts to serve God that have not turned out the way you envisioned they would? Do you have any insights or questions to share? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment in the box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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