by Sheri Schofield
Twenty-six years ago, the Lord brought our family to Montana. While it is beautiful here, this is still cowboy country with old-fashioned views of the roles women can fill in churches. Although I was a trained director of children’s ministries, my church would not allow me to fill that position. I knew it was no different from the other churches in town in this regard, so there was very little point in changing churches.
I chafed at this restriction, for I wanted to start a children’s ministry program that would reach many children in our area. I felt restricted. Rebuffed. Disrespected. Not valued.
I asked God, “Why did you bring us here? How can I reach children for Jesus without the backing of my church?” He did not answer me. For years! But he did tell me to continue teaching the children. Each year, he would tell me which group he wanted me to focus on. So I did, even though the restrictions continued to bug me and I felt suffocated.
Eventually, the Lord told me, “If I wanted you to be the director, I would open that door. Trust me. Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (See Hebrews 13:1, NKJV.)
I did not like what God was saying, but I trusted him and did what he told me to do.
In 2015, the Lord told me to use the teaching plans he had given me for leading children to Jesus. I was to write and illustrate a book on that topic. I did. The Lord provided money for us to publish it. When it was published in 2018 he said, “Sheri, you have been longing to reach the children of your town for Jesus. Now you have the tool to do so. Give the books away to the children.”
We have now given away nearly 5,000 books on the plan of salvation, fully illustrated, to the children in our city, our state, and some (in Spanish) to Mexico. Now the adult version of this book is going to start circulating here. I could never have reached this many people for Jesus if the Lord had given me what I wanted in those early years. My kingdom harvest is larger, because I followed his directions.
Sometimes the Lord gives us orders we do not understand or like. If we obey him, we eventually see the beautiful pattern he has woven into our lives, for his glory. God’s plan is always more beautiful than we could imagine! But if we want to receive that plan, we need to trust him and follow his directions.
David, whom Samuel had anointed to be king in Israel, did not receive the promise immediately. Instead, he spent many years hiding from King Saul, who wanted David dead. But David did not fight back. He avoided Saul and trusted in the Lord’s timing. Later he wrote these words—
“Trust in the LORD and do good…take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:3-6 NIV).
God rarely shows us the big picture of our lives. He simply asks us to trust and obey. Trust his plan!
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.
Her first book on salvation, “The Prince and the Plan”, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, “God? Where Are You?,” tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read.
Join the conversation: Has God surprised you with an unexpected plan?