There we were, dumbfounded and laughing.
We had driven all night, and now found ourselves sitting in a room with three complete strangers, hoping they would help point us in the right direction. It wasn’t that we were lost. We were merely trying to avoid another long detour and further delay our plans. Feeling a bit nervous, I began to question whether I should trust these strangers, who sat silently smiling back at us.
How did we end up here anyways? Was this a bad idea? Or perhaps the best idea we had ever had!
The Trust Fall
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
That was the verse my mother gave to me the day I was baptized, and every time I experience a difficult season in life, I try and fall back on those words. It’s like a trust fall, where you fall backwards and trust your companions will catch you. Unfortunately, trusting God is not always easy, and life’s unexpected turns can raise doubts about how far we can lean on Him. Can I really trust Him to make the path straight?
Entering high school I wanted to be an Architect. That plan had only one thing standing in its path, my dream of being a professional musician. When I was young, a Bible College ministry team performed at our church. It was my first exposure to contemporary christian music, and by the time that service was over I knew what I wanted to do. With that encounter clearly in mind, after graduation, I set off for Bible college with plans of forming my own band.
By the end of my second year our band hit the road as part of a short term summer missions team. Ministering through music was a huge thrill, but what truly impacted me was our times of worship. I had never encountered God’s presence like this before. I had no plans of becoming a worship leader, but I felt the Lord inviting me to spend more time building a place for Him in my heart.
That summer our theme song was “Make Me A Prayer” by Rita Springer. I wasn’t really into prayer, but I loved Jesus, and this song challenged me with the question “Where is the house you will build for me?”
Change of Plans
I spent the next decade building my music career. Life on the road was great and I loved performing, but I knew God wanted more than my songs – He was asking for my worship. One day, while stopped at an intersection, I told the Lord, “When my music career is over, I will give myself to full-time worship ministry.” The next day our band broke up. The timing floored me, but I trusted that God had a plan.
The years that followed were full of surprises; job changes, financial ups and downs, and even the addition of my wife and three children. Plans of stepping straight into worship ministry quickly turned into a wild goose chase. Every time I thought we were on the right path it seemed our circumstances unexpectedly changed —leaving us to start the building process all over again.
I began to question whether the Lord was really in all of this? I thought trusting Him was supposed to make my paths straight? It was in the middle of this turbulent season that I found myself travelling down a snow covered highway to Kansas City in the middle of the night.
Our van made one final turn, and moments later we stepped into the Prayer Room at the International House of Prayer. I was utterly amazed as teams of full-time singers and musicians poured their hearts out in unceasing worship and prayer to Jesus. “Where was this when I was a teenager?” I thought to myself. “I was made to do this!”
In that moment, my heart was on fire, but my mind was flooded with questions. Why had the Lord not called me here when I started pursuing worship ministry? Why did I spend all of those years moving from one thing to another? Did the Lord not know the desire of my heart?
With those questions still floating in my mind, we made our way into a small room, where some people were waiting to give us words of prophetic encouragement. I wanted to hear from the Lord, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. And then it happened — just like it had at the stop sign all of those years ago — and with a few simple words, in His perfect timing, the Lord broke in and changed everything. What were those words?
“Jon, this is kinda funny, but I feel the Lord calling you an Architect”
Trust Me, I’ve Got This
The Bible tells us that the Lord has knit us together, numbered our days, and knows the plans He has prepared for us. This good work that He began in each of us, He is faithfully bringing to its beautiful completion.
As I look back on my journey, I am convinced with all of my heart that it has been a straight path. Yes, it has taken many unforeseen twists and turns, but it has always stayed true to the Lords call on my life – to be one who builds a dwelling place for the Lord. A house filled with the sounds of worship and prayer from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
My story is the story of a Worshiper and an Architect.
Make me a prayer
Let my prayer be a cry
Humble my heart so that You may draw nigh
Cause me to stand and cry out for this land
Cause me to be one who’s set free
To stand as a house of prayer
“Make Me A Prayer” – Rita Springer