A lot of times God simply does not do what I expect Him to do. This would not seem strange if I were not a sincere follower of Christ.Just a short review of my past journal entries reveals that I have often expressed a sense of what I thought God was going to do. Sometimes I was right on target. But many times I was wrong – or at least appeared to be. The interesting thing is that in all of these instances I was pretty sure that I had heard from God! Needless to say, I don’t carry the title of prophet of God!
A good example was the night before my father died. He and I had a great chat on the telephone. He was so encouraged in the Lord. God had given him a real sense that He was about to attract some new people to the church where he served on the elder team. Dad was still dealing with the effects of a stroke he had earlier that year, but was no longer questioning why God had not healed him of all the lingering disabilities. He was so full of joy and contentment in His God. His confession to me was, “Dane, God has been so faithful to me in everything.”
After hanging up the phone I was so encouraged. (My dad’s main spiritual gift was encouragement, by the way.) I had this deep sense in my spirit, “Dad’s most fruitful ministry is about to launch.” I turn to my wife and said, “Molly, Dad is really back. He’s come through the trial of his stroke. God is going to use him greatly in this next season.” I was deeply stirred that this was of God.
The following morning I got the call.
Mom said that she had just sent Dad in the ambulance and that he hadn’t breathed in 20 minutes. I knew at that instant that Bill Gressett was already in the presence of Jesus. And my immediate cry was,
“God, how can this be? He was poised for his greatest fruitfulness in ministry. He was just 71, Lord. This doesn’t make sense to me.”
I have learned many lessons from the Lord as I have reflected on the timing and nature of my dad’s passing. But one fresh thought just came this morning. And here it is from my journaling:
I did hear from God that evening after talking to Dad. Even though Dad died the next morning, he is now in his most fruitful season of ministry. In a real sense, his ministry was just beginning.
In writing this, I’m not presuming to know all that Dad is doing now in heaven – or what he will be doing after Christ returns and creates a new heaven and earth.
What I am referring to is the power and fruitfulness of his legacy.
Do you remember Jesus saying, “It is in your best interests that I go away [to the Father]”? The disciples couldn’t accept that statement. Jesus no longer here with us? How could that be better?
Can you see that Jesus is bearing far more fruit today than He was during His three years of public ministry in Israel? This is undebatable. But the same principle is true for Christ-followers who impact others with their life and faith:
They leave a tidal wave behind, a reverberation of passion for Christ, that spills into the next generations.
Their rewards greet them when they arrive in heaven. But then more follows as their legacy kicks in and the fruit goes viral.
Oh hallelujah. God is so wise and so good. What a Savior!
I am glad that God does not limit Himself to my small views and short-sightedness. And I am glad that when He does speak to me, that His intentions are far greater than I can imagine!