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Surprising discovery of Richard McChurch

By REV. ROD SMITH - For The Courier-Times

Richard McChurch was very aware that God communicates. The Still Small Voice or the Thunderous Call, and anything in between, (whichever God might choose to use at a given time) was not something to which Richard often laid claim. When Richard felt God had spoken to him, he was always particular about inserting the words “I believe God spoke.” This gave him room for error and the appearance of humility.

One day Richard had an unsettling experience. Everything he had ever believed was turned upside down.

Richard was praying about some major decisions and he heard God ask, “What do you really want, Richard?”

The question lodged somewhere deep inside Richard. There were no voices, no unusual feelings or anything at all weird about the moment. This was a “matter-of-fact God” meeting him, face-to-face. There was no mistaking Who it was for Richard.

“Go on, figure it out Richard. What do you really want? Stop asking Me what I want for you. I know what I want for you. I am God. I am not at all confused. I simply require that you demonstrate the courage and willingness to determine what you want for you. Do this, Richard, and we can do business.”

Richard became nervous. Random disconcerting thoughts, scary thoughts darted across his mind.

“What if I want to break up my family, hurt someone or steal something?” Richard questioned.

“Is that what you really want? You want to go around hurting people? Do you really want to take what is not yours? Do you think damaging others is what you were cut out for?”

“No Lord.”

“Then stop with the games,” said God.

He felt God’s persistent voice welling up inside him. “I am asking you to evaluate, for yourself, how you would most like to use the talents I have given you. Take stock of the opportunities that come your way. You keep saying, and quoting a verse from a psalm, I might add, that I will grant you the desires of your heart, Richard. But, you know what? You wouldn’t recognize them if they jumped out at you from behind a bush. Take the responsibility for your life. Develop a blueprint. What inspires you? Write down the desires of your heart. Decide what they are. Discover, know yourself, Richard. Present me with a plan instead asking me for one. Find My plan buried like treasure in your strongest desires and deepest longings. Grow up, in other words!”

Richard was shocked.

He had always been taught that God had a plan for his life and for many years he had waited “in faith” for that plan to unfold. Now it sounded as if God expected him to do something!

“That’s the problem!” God interrupted his confusion; “you want to give Me the responsibility for your life. I want you to be responsible for your own life. You think My will is something mysterious. It is not. Discover and do what you really want and do it! It’s about passion Richard, passion. Just make sure it is what you really want.”

Richard thought long and hard and realized to his horror that he really did not like his career. He realized that even his sports interests were built around promoting his career. He sat in stunned silence and realized that if he honestly answered the question he was in trouble.

“What I really want to do God,” he stuttered, “is so far from what I am doing with my life right now that it will take a miracle from You to turn it around,” he said in desperation.

“No,” said God, “it will take one from you.”

The Rev. Rod Smith is senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in New Castle. He is a regular contributor to Faith Perspective.