What do you do when you sense God calling you in one direction and you really want to do it, but for reasons beyond your control things don’t work out? You pray and pray and pray – but it still doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped.
That is what happened to Charles Welch.
In the last half of the 1800s his father, a dentist and devout Methodist, figured out a way to keep grace juice from fermenting and becoming wine. He was motivated by a desire to observe the Lord’s Supper without having to drink actual wine. Thus grape juice was born.
His son, Charles, wanted to be a missionary. He sensed a strong call from God and all seemed to be going well until his wife and he were being trained in living in a different culture in a different part of the world. It became obvious that his wife would not be able to handle it. She was frail and likely would not survive living in a place like Africa in the late 1800s. As a result they were turned down for appointment as missionaries.
Charles’ dream was shattered. As time passed and no church called him as Pastor, he became depressed.
One night he woke up sweating, angry and frustrated. He was confused and really struggled when he tried to pray. Suddenly, it hit him. He could still serve God. He could still work hard and contribute to God’s work in the world. He didn’t have to be a missionary to do these things. That night his whole attitude changed.
He took over his father’s grape juice business and built it into a very successful company. He gave large sums of money to missions and other Christian ministries. He served God as a business man and generous donor.
Sunday I mentioned that the way to pray when your heart is heavy is to be honest with yourself and God. Make your request to God and do so clearly. Then tell Him you love Him and will serve Him no matter the circumstances.
Charles Welch, after a period of struggle, came to the same conclusion.
We may never fully understand all the reasons God answers some of our prayers the way He does, but we can always love and serve Him. Praying with that attitude is how we pray when our hearts are heavy.
Pastor Steve Hogg