Summary: God's appointment is seldom to do easy tasks. God appoints us to do hard things, and He equips us to fulfil what He has appointed us to do.

“Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So, they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

“Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So, Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.” [1]

Two years ago, Paul David Tripp published an article bearing the title of this message. [2] His article stimulated me to focus on the difficult tasks God sometimes calls us to undertake. God does not always call us to the mundane, the routine; in fact, He will often call His people to attempt the impossible. Or worse still, God will appoint us to do things that we just hate. God will back us into a corner where we have no choice but to do what He appoints us to do, and we hate it. If we will ever get the job done, it will be obvious that it was God that did the work. We may have been the instrument of grace that He used, but He did it.

Have you ever had that experience? Have you ever received a task from God that you hated, even though you knew that you were responsible? As a relatively new follower of Christ, God appointed me to teach a class of nine-year-old boys. Nine-year-old boys are a challenge to anyone, much less a twenty-two-year-old graduate student with limited time. Nine-year-old boys are all afflicted with ADHD—they simply can’t sit still and listen to anything the teacher says.

More than forty years passed from those heady days when I was teaching those boys when I attended a pastoral conference in Washington State at the invitation of the denomination hosting the event. On the second day of the conference, a younger pastor approached me to ask if I knew who he was. I confessed that I didn’t know who he was. He then identified himself as one of those nine-year-old boys I had taught so many years ago in Dallas, Texas. Now, he was a preacher pastoring in Oregon. He said that I had been instrumental in encouraging him to accept the appointment of God. I was obedient, fulfilling a task that I can’t say I enjoyed, and God was at work. Who gets the glory? The Living God!

Another event in the early days of my walk with the Lord served to teach me that God does sometimes appoint His people to do hard things—things they absolutely hate doing! During the early years of my Christian pilgrimage, I set aside time each Tuesday to visit in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. Supremely confident in my abilities, I had prayed, brazenly asking God to give me the hard jobs. The Lord heard and answered my prayer, to my dismay. I knocked on the door of cult members multiple times in the weeks following that prayer. Wow! Talk about a challenge! The Lord stood with me, and I acquitted myself well despite my youth. However, my confidence took a hit. I was absolutely shaken to the core by what I experienced, even though I was learning to trust that God is well able to do far more than we can expect or imagine.

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