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  • Joel Riehle

Shattering Expectations


God is constantly reworking what I think He should be doing.

I’ve had probably 10 relationships that I have fostered, intending them to lead towards discipleship. Most have fallen flat. Last Friday was one of the first times I’ve had a meeting intended for nothing, but turn into discipleship.

Even as I got into my car for this last meeting of the week I verbalized to myself, “Why am I doing this? Just to say I did?”

It was getting coffee with a senior I like but we’ve never done much more than shoot the breeze.

I knew my friend could probably use some encouragement but as I’ve learned too many times, if a person does not want to follow Jesus it is not within my ability to empower them.

But I like this guy. And we did the small talk thing. This is the third time in the last year we’ve met like this. We talked school and work and friends. And I even threw the question out of there, "Are you struggling with anything new or same old stuff?"

"Same old stuff,” was the response and that's where that line of questioning ended. So still aimless we rambled on. And in one more lull I asked if there was anything he needed.

Nothing really. But the wheels had already been turning. And it started by him asking me, “How often do you read your Bible?”

I could tell a switch had occurred in the conversation, “When my spiritual life is going well just about every morning. I admitted.”

“I struggle with that,” he tells me.

“Why would you say you struggle with that? Is it something you want to do or think you should do?” I wanted to nail down why he was obviously feeling guilty about this spiritual discipline.

I went on to explain what I do and that reading just for the sake of reading is not only hard but often fruitless. More importantly I seized on the seeking heart that was obviously there.

Instead of giving suggestions and sending him on his way, we sat there for the next 10 min searching through devotional plans on the Bible app and said we’d do one together.

It may not lead to an ongoing discipleship relationship. I pray it leads to another devotional study and more coffee meetings.

It comes as a timely win in a sea of losses.

I also hope that your disciple-making efforts are bigger wins, that your paths are marked more clearly and God is always in plain sight, but I suspect more of you experience the set backs and wandering in the proverbial desert as I often find myself.

God often doesn’t work in my timeframe nor does he adhere to my plans for disciple-making either.

Thanks for another reminder of this, God.


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