The last place I wanted to be was New Zealand, but I was stuck there. Now, I have nothing against New Zealand. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen. But I had spent two weeks there in ministry and it was time to be home. I wanted to see my family and I had a lot of important appointments at home.
Most of the planes that flew out of New Zealand at that time were DC10s. Guess when I was in New Zealand? Well, it was a time that they grounded all the DC10s! That’s while I was there, and all of a sudden there was almost no way to leave that beautiful nation. I wasn’t going anywhere, and I wasn’t particularly happy about it.
In the middle of all my frustration I remembered a prayer that I had been praying for months. I had been saying, “Lord, you know what I need? I need some time with no interruptions and no people around, where I can sit down with my Bible and a legal pad and kind of get Your view on my ministry and on my life.” Wouldn’t you know, I had my time ten thousand miles from home. So, instead of griping and grumbling about the plane I couldn’t catch, I decided I would be grateful for that home someone arranged for me to stay in. And for a couple of days, waiting for a flight, there I was just the Lord and me and that note pad and my Bible. I had one of the greatest creative bursts I think I’ve ever had in my life; it affected every part of my life. I still wanted to be home, but I did learn something about being “stuck.”
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “When You’re Stuck Where You Don’t Want to Be.”
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Jeremiah beginning at chapter 29, verse 11. The Israelites are now in captivity; they are in Babylon. They are not where they want to be. This is what God says, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.'”
Okay, here they are in a place they don’t want to be. Maybe you are too. You know what God’s message is? “Go for it there; dig in and make the best of it. Accomplish a lot while you’re there.” When Paul was in a prison, he wanted to be with the Christians that he had ministered to. Instead he wrote letters that minister to us today.
The great author, John Bunyan was stuck in a place he didn’t want to be. He didn’t want to be in prison, but it’s there that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. When my wife had hepatitis she was stuck where she didn’t want to be – in a bedroom, in bed for seven months recovering. I guess you could just get depressed there, or you could do what she did. She sought the prosperity of the place where she was like Jeremiah says. I went into her room and she had a ministry on the phone. I saw her with language tapes to learn French. She had a ministry of correspondence; a ministry of intercession she’d never had before to that extent. And she said, “The Lord is cleansing my schedule.” And she was setting up whole new priorities.
Today God may have assigned you to a place you don’t want to be – a hospital room, you’re without a job, you’re living with some difficult person, maybe you’re stuck being single. You’re on hold when you really want to be in high gear.
If you’re stuck where you don’t want to be? Well, God’s approach is to act as if you’ll be there for a long time. Quit wishing you were somewhere else or someone else. Make something of the place where you are. There are people there who need Christ. Don’t look past them because you don’t like where you are. There are people there who feel stuck, too, and they could best be helped by a person who’s found some joy and meaning in that place. There are things to build where you are. Wherever you are, be all there, as Jim Elliott said.
You may not be where you want to be, but it is where your loving Father wants you to be right now. So, go for it!