Adelaide Pollard couldn’t understand why this was happening. Every night, for as long as she could remember, she’d knelt beside her bed and asked God to lead her to a place where she could be a powerful witness for Him. “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
As she prayed, she felt an increasing burden to minister in Africa. As Adelaide began making plans to leave everything for her missionary journey, her life seemed more purposeful than ever. A well-known Bible teacher, she’d worked for God many years—but never with such a divine adventure before her. She’d discovered her calling, and it was a wonderful feeling.
But then a curious thing happened. The funds she needed for her trip—that she was convinced would miraculously appear—didn’t come. The letdown was almost unbearable. Here she was, ready to give up everything she’d ever known and move to a developing country, all for the glory of God. And God—the owner of all the money in the world—wasn’t doing His part. Is it just my own lack of faith? she wondered.
One evening shortly thereafter, Adelaide ventured out to a local prayer meeting, hoping to find a little comfort for her downcast soul. The meeting itself was uplifting, if unremarkable. However, near the end of the prayer time an elderly woman began a prayer that would catch Adelaide’s ear—and forever alter her perspective. The woman diverged from the normal course of public prayer, neglecting to ask God for the normal blessings and wants of life. Rather, she simply said, “It really doesn’t matter what You do with us, Lord. Just have Your own way with our lives.”
Late into the evening Adelaide pondered those words as she read the story of the Master Potter in Jeremiah 18. “Well, Lord,” she said with a hopeful sigh, “I guess You’re calling me here, not there.”
Then Adelaide Pollard pulled out her pen and began to write.
The Divine Mundane
Have you ever dreamed of doing something truly big for God? Maybe you’ve always felt called to serve the millions of orphaned children in China, and someday you hope to be able to live among them. Perhaps you’re at home in front of a microphone and your desire is to become a mighty evangelist and reveal the truth of God’s Word to the masses. Maybe your dreams of doing God’s work fit entirely with His plan for your life.
Or maybe they don’t.
My mom is at an interesting place. As a human resources director for a small company that doesn’t think they need humans or resources, her job is the definition of boring. Sometimes she’ll find ways to create work; last year she rewrote every job description for the organization. Other times she passes the time by reading, taking online classes, or calling me. During one of our recent chats she began telling me how purposeless her life feels.
“I’d just love to leave everything and go take care of the babies with AIDS in Africa,” she lamented.
After a moment of wishful silence she moved on and began telling me about the prospering women’s Bible study she’d recently started at church.
Sounded like purpose to me.
Despite her longing for adventure, maybe, just maybe, God’s plan doesn’t call my mom to Ghana, Nigeria, or Sudan. Maybe it calls her to be exactly where she is.
As Adelaide Pollard wrote, the words began to flow seamlessly onto the paper:
“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay . . .”
That hymn, written by a somber soul in 1902, has made a profound impact on millions for more than a century. Talk about doing something big for God.
Have you been echoing Isaiah’s (and Adelaide’s) words? “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8).
Has it occurred to you that you may have already been sent?
Jimmy Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Bakersfield, California, where he is marketing and communication coordinator for San Joaquin Community Hospital. This article was published May 26, 2011.