Pillars of Iron

There have been a lot of times in ministry when God called me to serve in a way I didn’t think I was ready for. When I first started working with kids, that was easy. I had always worked with kids. But when He first called me to teach them, that was a different story. It’s easy to pal around and play games. It’s a totally different matter to think about something and how best to present it to them in a way they will understand. When I first was called to work at a assisted living center each Sunday morning, doing a mini-service, that was hard, too, because it meant I had to lead worship. Singing is something I have always been uncomfortable about. Put my flute in my hand and we’re good. But put me up front and expect me to lead the singing, and I’m going to have a rough time of it. But I knew it was what God wanted me to do. Both ministries I felt wholly inadequate. I wasn’t trained as a teacher. I had tutored some, but that was in math and physics and chemistry, subjects I had focused on. And singing? Well, on every spiritual gifts inventory I’ve ever taken that has a breakout for music – vocal, I have always seen it as the bottom of all the different areas listed.

I’ve overcome the fear of teaching kids. I love it now. I just love to teach God’s Word because it is alive and it makes a difference in people’s lives when they heed it and apply it (myself included). But singing? That’s still not me. Yet if I am put in a position where I need to sing as part of the ministry, I’ll do it. And one of the reasons I’ll do it is because I know that if God is calling me to it, He’s going to fill in the gaps. He’s going to meet my needs as I work as part of the ministry. How do I know?

“Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 1:18-19, NASB

The Lord was telling Jeremiah that the road was going to be rough. And folks who you would have thought would be on Jeremiah’s side were going to be against him, too. In that situation it would be easy to become discouraged. Moreover, when you consider the earthly power these folks wielded, it was normal to be scared. And it would be easy to assume Jeremiah couldn’t possibly succeed. But God tells Jeremiah not to worry. He had made Jeremiah like a fortified city, like a pillar of iron, like a wall of bronze. Of those, I think of the pillar of iron the most. I imagine what can be done to a pillar of iron. And the answer is, “Not much.” Not by these folks. But this promise isn’t just for Jeremiah, it’s also for us. When God calls us to something, it doesn’t matter how hard it might be, how inadequate we are, or who might be against us. What matters is God is there. And if He calls us to it, then He will deliver whatever is needed to ensure it happens just the way He wants. In other words, He makes us to be pillars of iron.

I like that. I like that when I feel like a blade of grass in a hurricane, God makes me into a pillar of iron that no storm, no matter how powerful, can blow over or damage. That is, if I’m leaning on my Lord. I like that if He calls me to something, He’s going to see it through. Everyone has been in a situation where they were depending on someone to come through, that person didn’t, and as a result, things didn’t turn out well. But that will never be the case with God. He’ll make sure that no one and nothing will overcome us. He will make us into pillars of iron. Praise God!

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