“God is faithful to His promises, not to our pictures. We
have a tendency to paint pictures that interpret His promises — imaginations
gone wild — daydreams — snapshots of what the fulfillment of God’s promises
look like. God was showing me the difference between begging Him for the
‘picture’ and instead trusting Him for the ‘promise.’”
Wise words, yes. But they were not penned in haste. Leighann
McCoy, prayer and women’s minister at Thompson
in Tennessee where her husband is
pastor, posted these thoughts to her blog after a season of trials and pain.
McCoy, speaker for the recent Embrace Women’s Ministries
leadership training event at Apex Baptist
Church, found out last year she had
colon cancer. Exactly two months later the church building was damaged from a
flood. One month later she found out that her 18-year-old daughter (the
daughter who only needed to be disciplined once by her parents as a teenager)
was pregnant and moving into an apartment with her boyfriend.
All this came around the same time she agreed to write a
book for Bethany House Publishers about spiritual warfare. As she learned,
believers don’t need to go looking for a battle. The enemy brings the battles
McCoy shared with those gathered for the Embrace event that
through the trials she learned what it means to be given a picture from God,
and what it means to trust God even when the circumstances give no indication
that the picture will ever be complete.
For example, for many years the picture for Abraham and
Sarah was one of inability to have children; not quite what Abraham expected
after being promised he would be the father of many nations. Jacob was also
promised numerous descendants, yet there comes a moment in his life when he
fears for his life as his brother assembles an army against him. Joseph dreamed
of his brothers bowing down to him — and still he finds himself in a pit and in
She encouraged believers to focus on God’s promises, trust
Him to finish the picture in His timing, and avoid trying to accomplish God’s
plan for their life on their own.
When believers start thinking God has not answered soon
enough, they take matters into their own hands. As they try to orchestrate
situations to bring about certain outcomes, essentially they are telling God
that He “needs a little help getting His own glory,” McCoy said.
McCoy admitted she often struggled with God’s sovereignty in
her life. “I was mapping out the plan and telling Him what to do,” McCoy said.
“I felt like a giant bigger than God was on my battlefield.”
McCoy also found herself, for perhaps the first time,
fearing something more than God. “Many Christians fear Satan more than God,”
she said. “That which you fear most becomes a god to you. I had allowed my fear
of the enemy to supersede my worship of God.”
As she struggled with her first crisis of belief in 46 years
of being a Christian, McCoy learned God was doing some pruning.
And although that pruning produced cutting and bleeding, she
came closer and closer to the vine, letting her roots grow deeper. “I know
there’s going to be fruit,” she said.
“It will come in due season. God is going to complete the
picture that He began in you.”
As one who has been in full time vocational ministry for
many years, McCoy knows what it’s like to get into “autopilot.”
She challenged women to follow through on 1 Thess. 4:1, the
theme verse of the weekend, seeking to grow more and more in the Lord and
continuing to excel in the work in which He has called them.
McCoy reminded women of Mark 4:35-41 and how terrified the
disciples were during the storm on the sea.
Although Jesus was with them in the boat they doubted His
concern for them. They forgot that Jesus was sovereign over all things and
before getting into the boat had said, “Let’s cross over to the other side of
“If Jesus has told you you’re going to the other side, then
there’s not a storm in this world that can drown you before you get there,”
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