I believe with all my heart that God is always communicating with us, and that His desire is to be in constant contact with us. I also firmly believe He does not communicate in one way, but in many, and we need to stay close to Him in order to hear and understand. For me, leading a ministry and doing God's work requires much communication, with others, and with God.
Over 20 years ago, God communicated to me in a way that struck me deeply, and has never left me. I was at my brother Dan's memorial service. On that difficult day, we were supposed to be celebrating, yet all I could do was focus on the fact that he was gone. I felt like everyone else understood something I did not; like I was denied some understanding of life, that the rest of my family and friends had received. There are still days in ministry that I feel the same way. I wonder out loud to God "why"; why was DJ taken; why is the camp not yet done; why is this transition so hard; why do I have this burning in my heart to change things; why am I part of this or that? I begin to think others in ministry understand something I don't, or that I am being denied some kind of feeling of security others have. Those are hard days, days when others question why it is taking so long to build Camp Daniel, why we don't have a better ministry structure, why we do camp like we do or why we spend time doing what we do at all, why do I push so hard, why am I so discontented? It is in those moments I can get to questioning and worry about the things we are doing and the things we are not. I can feel like I am unqualified, unworthy and unwilling to be doing Gods work at all. It is on those days I have to go back to what God whispered many years before to know what He wants from me.
I go back the 20 years to the middle of the memorial service for Dan. I heard a whisper in my mind, just a whisper. It said "RIP". My mind answers back "ok... RIP, Rest In Peace, that makes sense, I am at my brother's funeral". Then the whisper said to my mind "no, not him... you!" "My mind said what? I am going to die? "The whisper said "no, from now on, RIP, be Relentless". "Be Relentless In Pursuit of Me." After the service we went back to Mom and Dad's house. They gave us short letters Dan had written to each of us in his last days. In my letter, Dan told me to read 2 Corinthians 4. He told me to be focused on the unseen as it says in verse 18. Dan explained that it was my personality to only believe what I see, but he was sure God wanted me to focus on the unseen. Up to that day, God was definately unseen, unheard, and unworthy in my life. But since that day, everything has changed. What is unseen drives everything; what is unseen becomes more important every day. I read The Message version of 2 Corinthians 4 every morning. It is my hope and prayer each day to trust the words there, and live according to them, instead of what the world sees or judges by. On days when I am questioned about what we are doing, or I have my own doubts, I can go back to God's call. and the pressure is taken away. I know He only wants me to focus on being close to Him, talking to Him, growing in Him, and introducing others to Him. I am thankful for that clear message so many years ago, while I fail constantly at sticking to it, I always have the words to go back to be encouraged and remember God's call for me. I am, if nothing else, relentless, I am secure in this calling for my life. When I don't know what to do or how to act or what to say, I just be relentless. I want to be close to God and eventually my death will bring me right to Him; and when I die It is my wish that it gets put on my gravestone; Here lies Little Tony... he loved God and he was relentless in pursuit of Him right into death...RIP