At first you just exist…

by Benjamin Burks on December 8, 2010 · 5 comments

As a frequent flyer, God has been incredibly faithful to use the tool of United Airlines to transport me to over 360 churches over the last 8 years.  This past weekend, I was to fly to Charleston, West Virginia at 2:30 pm in the afternoon on Saturday.  However, three long delays and 5 hours later, I was sitting at Chili’s eating a meal, asking God, why am I still here?  I do not want to miss this meeting, but it is just not looking good!

I have to tell you, discouragement was being “held off” with as much tenacity as linesmen on a football team keeping back defenders in the 4th quarter of a tied game.  I had already visited Sharper Image, Hudson News, and all the other stores in the F concourse; worked on several RU projects on my computer; witnessed to 4 people who were already saved; and that only covers the first two of five hours!  Fainting was setting in as the snow continued to fall outside, and the temperatures are only dropping. Is it time to turn back?  Do I call my good friend in West Virginia, Bro. Parsons, and cancel?  And, by the way, I was to get a rental car at the airport in West Virginia to drive to where the church is located, so I called Hertz to let them know about my delay and, unfortunately, they have already closed! I don’t like the word “quit”, or the phrase “throw in the towel”, or “take the path of least resistance”, but it is beginning to look like my only option.

Just about the time I was finishing my meal, and asking God (for the 3rd time) for direction, I heard a commotion over my left shoulder and turned around to look.  I could not believe what I saw!  It was a lovely couple from Rockford, flying back home from vacation.  I caught their attention and said, “Hey kids!  They were as shocked to see me as I was to see them.  However, the One to whom I was just speaking was not shocked at all.  He was showing me His purpose. As a result of my waiting on God and “just existing” until I received direction from Him while believing He had a purpose, I had the privilege to see His hand.

I knew this was a fresh awareness of God’s presence in my life.  You see, I had just received a sweet email from this dear brother within the past 48 hours.  The particular day that I received this email from him had been an extremely difficult day as I had dealt with problems and huge disappointments.  However, this is what I read from him:

Preacher, I am reaching out to you asking for your help in discerning my future. I can no longer run from the calling the Lord has on my life. Brother Curington always saw something in me that I did not always see in myself. This past Friday night, three people came to the Lord at our local Reformers Unanimous class. I gave my testimony and spoke in depth to two struggling men. The Lord used me and I was able to make a difference. I thirst to be used once again. My wife and I are totally sober and walking with the Lord. My trip home has been an absolute blessing and we were a great testimony to my Catholic family. Everyone was asking questions, as they want what we have. I spent last night with my childhood friend and gave my testimony of redemption through Christ. Tomorrow I am going to share the gospel with him and pray he receives Christ into his heart. This is all possible through Christ and the change Reformers has made in my life.

I would like your guidance in where I should go to serve. I sense it is Rockford and with our ministry. I have a special bond with the men in the home and heart to serve. My gift mix is from God and I want to use it to glorify him. The loss of Brother Curington has cut me deep. I lost my mentor, friend and Godly counselor. I respect you, and have a great admiration for you as a father and husband. Please pray for my family as we need to decide where God needs us. We look forward to coming home getting plugged in and attending all church services, and spending time with our church family.

Psalm 27:13-14, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Many times when delays, interruptions, postponements, suspensions, setbacks, slow downs, obstructions, and difficulties come into our path, we make wrong choices or choose the least path of resistance, and therefore we often miss opportunities to see the “goodness of God in the land of the living.”

In this text, David was in one of the most discouraging moments of his life.  He was stuck between a rock and a very hard place.  His simple outline worked for me on this particular day. David said when tough circumstances come, you must first just exist.  Don’t do dumb things!  Don’t run in fear!  Stand still.  Do the next thing that you are sure is a right thing to do and normal in your routine of life.  Secondly, he said to believe. On Saturday, I chose to believe! My heart was turning and looking for good in what seemed to be very inconvenient circumstances.  Thirdly, David said, he saw!  He lived to see the purpose of it all. Oh, how this was true for me on Saturday…I saw God’s purpose. Romans 8:28 is still in the Book, my friend!

Shortly after our encounter, I just received notice of the next delay.  Yes, I will make it to my destination, but it will be much later than anticipated.  But it doesn’t matter!! I can rest in His will.  I know I have found the center of it.

PS And, by the way, I am meditating on all the people this dear couple was able to see saved while visiting unsaved family members and I look forward to seeing what else God has in store in the land of the living!

If you enjoyed this link, please share it on your twitter / Facebook accounts above.

B.R. Burks


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline December 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Thank you Brother Burks,
What an inspiration you are. Things have been at a stand still on this end, and I am not sure what the Lord would have me to do. But now I can look at God’s Word and see that I am exactly where God wants me to be. Waiting on Him and serving Him in whatever I do, that is the center of Gods Will for me until He leads me in a different direction.
Thank you,


Chad Witherby December 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Great story Bro. Burks.


Heidi Rodberg December 8, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Bro. Burks,
We sure do love you and your family and count you as dear friends. Thanks for sharing your ministry online where everyone can read about it and be encouraged. Looking forward to seeing you all in the future! Thanks for loving our director and local chapter as you do all of them.
IN Christ,
Heidi Rodberg


Benjamin Burks December 9, 2010 at 12:38 am

ps. I did make the flight 🙂


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