Summary: God’s ways are usually more frustrating than mysterious.
Back in 2000, my friend Dan and I were called and hired as pastors of Wellspring Community Church, a fellowship that we started from scratch. Dan and I began the process as friends, but we’d never actually worked together. At first, all was well as we concentrated on getting the facilities ready for launch day. After the church was officially birth in 2001, some minor problems, I’ll call them irritations began to set in.
As senior pastor it was my task to determine the direction of the church. Nearly ever time I ran an idea by the management team, Dan had hesitation and misgivings about my proposals. I began to think, “He’s so arrogant! Dan obviously thinks he has better ideas than me.” I suspected that his opposition was subtle insubordination too.
I also noticed that Dan sometimes missed details. He could get things done, but there’d often be a lot of loose ends and certain things not coming together until the last minute. That made me nervous because I like to at least feel that every detail of every plan as been accounted for. I began to suspect that Dan had some huge character flaws interfering with his work.
Dan was never mean, selfish or lazy, in fact just the opposite. By after working together for two years I was completely frustrated with a man who had been one of my best friends. It was about that time that the two of us took a personality test. This was prompted by our associational missionary who perhaps sensed the tension in our working relationship. The test revealed some interesting things about my friend. He’s a conceptual thinker. He’s constantly looking at the big picture and, thus, misses the details. We both have the same tendency and needed a secretary to handle such things. It also turns out that has the type of personality that always, and I mean always, questions proposals placed before him. He wasn’t being insubordinate or arrogant in those management team meetings. He was expressing who God created him to be. That’s just the way he’s wired. Knowing how God had wired Dan to operate completely changed my perception of his actions.
I wish I could have understood this earlier in our working relationship. Rather than interpret his actions as personal attacks I may have been able to harness his critical thinking skills. I may not have given him certain responsibilities because he wasn’t wired for them. At the very least I would have hired an administrative assistant to take care of the details. I was so focused on how his actions made me feel that I couldn’t see who Dan really was. Our friendship actually suffered until I was enlightened about his approach to life. Once I understood where he was coming from our relationship flourished.
I find that my relationship with God follows the same rule. His ways are mysterious and, at the same time, extremely frustrating. If I’m honest I have to admit that often God doesn’t make sense to me. Depending on what day we had the discussion I might even say that most of the time He doesn’t make sense to me. I am frustrated with God’s way a lot.