February 22, 2006

Unscripted Journey

?For we walk by faith, not by sight? (2 Cor. 5:7, NKJV).

1506 page31 capy friends often ask me what?s happening at the Adventist Review these days. What?s the next big thing on the horizon? Tell me your future plans.

The Adventist Review staff recently closed the book on a very exciting year in 2005. A year that saw the launch of the new Adventist World magazine with a global circulation of more than 1 million copies, and a redesigned Web site with nearly 60,000 monthly visitors.

In 2006 the staff has already implemented design changes in the print magazine, and in the coming months look for new Web site features. Plans are already in the works to add podcasts, broadcast programs that are downloadable to iPods, of Bible study lessons. We also have plans to launch an Adventist World Web site, offering the complete magazine in English, French, and Spanish.

But even with these projects in the offing, for me, the most exciting project will be the next one, the one that God has yet to reveal.

Divine Surprises
As God?s servants working to spread the gospel, we conduct strategic planning, visioning sessions, feasibility studies, market research, pilot projects, and study commissions. They all have a necessary place in ministry. But God often puts divine surprises on our doorsteps, turning our plans upside down or laying them aside for a larger, grander venture, a more fulfilling faith journey, that will take our lives and ministries in places that we would never think possible.

1506 page31In a video commentary, film director Sydney Pollack discussed his experience in directing a recent feature-length film. As I viewed the interview, it was interesting to see how much of the process was a walk of faith.

?I began the picture without a script, which is a lousy way to make a movie,? Pollack said. ?I even cast the people without a script. For that I?m going to be eternally grateful to Nicole [Kidman] and Sean [Penn], who had enough guts to come into a movie without a finished script. We were writing every day. We could only shoot the stuff we had written.?1

If you were a professional actor, or an actress, would you put your career on the line with a director who didn?t have a script for you to read and evaluate? I don?t think I would. What an enormous amount of courage and trust it took to get through the project, unscripted. However, at the end of the project Pollack had a groundbreaking film that won critical acclaim.

Divine Paradigm
Like Pollack?s film process, God often leads us one step at a time. He often never shows us the end from the beginning, and the result is much better than we could perceive.

I have personally experienced God?s step-by-step guidance. Many years ago He put a divine surprise on my doorstep. Through a series of events over a number of years, and a journey that touched several states, God led me to a radical change in careers.

I never dreamed that I would be working on the Adventist Review staff, but that?s what He had in mind. He overturned my plans and led me from the field of accounting and auditing to communication. He turned my life around and put me on a completely different path. A path that I would have never foreseen.

As Christians, our daily dependence on God is essential, because He guides us each step of the way. We may not see the destination, but we can be assured that God will bring us to a glorious place. When we surrender our hopes, desires, and ambitions to God, He will execute His plan for us.

So what?s next on the horizon? I really don?t know. But I can?t wait to see what God has in store.

Ellen White wrote: ?Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love.?2

1 Sydney Pollack at Work: From Concept to Cutting Room, a video commentary.
2 Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 51.

Carlos Medley is editor of the Adventist Review online.