Stuck on ‘Stop’

By John Dyslin

25 January 2023

“And Elijah came before all the people and said, How long will you halt between two positions?  If the Lord is God, follow him: but if Ba’al, then follow him.  And the people answered him not a word (I Kings 18:21).”

My dear friend Andrew has a remarkable testimony – and a recent season of hesitancy we all could learn from.  (Yes, Andrew granted me permission to share this with you.)

Andrew walks a commendable life of humble faithfulness.  A Brooklyn transplant from Jamaica, he repented years ago of a worldly, lustful lifestyle now working out daily, eating one simple vegetarian meal daily, and rising early each day to pore over Scripture and share verses with over 100 followers.

Over a year ago Andrew became convicted that God desired him to return to Jamaica for a new mission, bringing salt and light to a poor, violent community there.  The Lord has moved remarkably to ‘unencumber’ and open doors for him.  These include leading Andrew to close his training gym of more than twenty years; discontinuing his workout class training; and an amazingly rapid sale of his American home.  He’s even successfully rehomed one of his three dogs.

And yet…

Andrew had been waffling between his past and his future; between two homes, home cities and homelands for well over a year, and has actively put off what he knows he should run to.  He could have made do with his tired Jamaican home, but initiated a remodel.  He ran a scaled-down, relocated gym instead of closing his gym earlier.  He continues to fret over placing his remaining dogs when Jamaican souls are on the line.  (And, if you’re a dog-lover like me, check out what Elisha did with his team of oxen when he determined to follow Elijah in 1 Kings 19:19-21.)  He’s listened to the admonitions and gainsaying of others who plant seeds of fear and doubt.  And – worst of all! – as his path to leave opened wide following his American home sale, Andrew purchased a run-down, rat-infested home here rather than running to his new calling!

As Andrew and I recently sharpened iron through tears, digging through the maddening frustration of his ongoing (and self-inflicted) delays, we unpacked some invaluable truths. 

First, though, start with a little grace toward yourself – if a ‘supercharged’ believer such as Andrew can falter and have a hitch in his walk, all of us can. 

Stuck on ‘stop.’   Andrew is stuck on ‘stop;’ he’s got a hitch in his giddyup stranding him in this purgatory of in-betweenness that’s bearing limited fruit – except for the fruit of identifying, cutting out, and leaving behind whatever thorns in his side hinder his walk (which is commendable fruit indeed).

Fear as a force divisor.  Warriors teach of force multipliers – tools or tactics that provide and outsized edge versus one’s adversaries.  Well, fear serves to substantially drain one’s effectiveness in living with boldness and purpose.  In Andrew’s case, it manifests as fear of violence, lack of income, and the unknown.

Doubt.  Andrew has at times been beset with seeds of doubt – doubt often planted by others with whom he’s shared his calling.  (The particularly destructive timing of these naysayers, is occasionally downright uncanny.)  Yet many of these doubters aren’t even believers; how much stock should Andrew even put in their opinions?  Even regarding the believing doubters, Andrew’s calling wasn’t for them; who are they to question what God purposed in Andrew’s heart?

Shortfall of childlike excitement.  The Lord clearly tapped Andrew for a mission of consequence to his kinsmen.  What an honor!  I believe if he had even a hint of the joy he’s about to garner he would run forward and never look back.

Hanging on instead of letting go.  Although he’s taken steps, he’s struggling to just…let…go.  To take that step, out into the blue…to close his eyes and fully trust that His faithful Father has him in the palm of His hand.

Enough about Andrew.  Where do you stand?

What two positions are you halting between – between what the world would have you do, what your comfortable past has been, and what the Lord would have you do, and who the Lord would have you be?

What lies does the father of lies (John 8:44) whisper in your ear to sow doubt and disempower you?

How fearlessly would you step into your calling if you truly died to yourself – your comfort, your fears, and your doubts – and utterly trusted in Him instead?

How much smaller is the god of your imaginings, and of the corrupted Laodicean church teachings, than the Most High God, Whose towering, indominable works declared throughout Scripture attest to His absolute dominion over all – including your provision, well-being, and victory?

How far could you go if you laid down your fears and doubts, unreservedly put your faith in your Savior, and stepped fearlessly into what He’s laid on your heart to do?

I declare in Jesus’ name, let TODAY be the day of redemption in your life!  Right now is the moment to break off your shackles of fear, doubt, and faithlessness that have immobilized you!

Redeem the time this very day.

Tonight – before you go to bed –

  • List on paper what ‘hitches’ you have in your life – fears; doubts; shortfalls in faith.
  • Identify one or two (or three!) most important things, big or small, you should do immediately to be a blessing to others and storm the gates of hell.
  • Repent of and ask forgiveness for halting short of God’s will for your life.
  • Resolve to start your day tomorrow, listing in writing one to three tasks that you’ll complete tomorrow that will propel you forward.
  • Wake up tomorrow, get to work – and never look back.

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).”

©  2022 by John Dyslin; all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of author.

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