God Never Wastes Our Steps
Christine Caine | June 20, 2018
It wasn’t the most glamorous night of my life as a traveling evangelist. I was sleeping on a cot, doing my best not to wake the three small children under age five with whom I was sharing a room. I had been trying to sleep face down and breathe into my pillow so I wouldn’t catch the flu that one of the kids was fighting, but I was so uncomfortable. Exhausted from not really being able to sleep—mostly due to fighting slow suffocation—I had to turn over and pray for germ-free air.
None of this is what I had expected.
But it was exactly what I had wanted.
From the time I was twenty-one, I felt desperate to serve God, and I had prayed fervently for him to use me. So, when leaders at my church asked for volunteers to serve on a cleanup team in the youth ministry, I said yes. When the assistant youth pastor asked me to help start a community youth center for at-risk teens, I said yes. When my senior pastor called me and said, “Christine, I want you to be the state director of our denomination’s youth movement, Youth Alive,” I said yes. I was passionate about Jesus and willing to serve in any way that would be useful for the kingdom of God. I had prayed, Here I am Lord, send me.
So, for seven years, I had crisscrossed Australia, mostly traveling alone down country roads, making my way from Sydney to a different country town each week. Sometimes I had driven eight to nine hours to develop youth leaders, help build youth ministries, and speak at evangelistic rallies. Seeing teens come to Jesus was what I loved. Being used by God was what I wanted.
I had walked out my yes and faithfully served God, stepping through every open door—even when that meant couch surfing in the homes of people who supported Youth Alive.
Tonight, I was thankful for my hosts’ gracious accommodation, but being 29 and stuck face down on a camping cot was not where I had expected my itinerant evangelist life to lead me. Granted, I’m not sure I really knew what to expect, but this wasn’t it.
Staring into the dark, I couldn’t deny the unexpected loneliness that had begun to creep into my heart. I couldn’t deny the doubts that made me wonder if I had made a wrong decision, if I was in the wrong place and not really making a difference. I couldn’t deny the real reasons I couldn’t sleep…
I was an anomaly—a single, traveling, female evangelist—and at times, I felt so alone. There was no one who could have prepared me for what it would feel like to spend hours on the road alone, to be the only woman I knew doing what I was doing, and to constantly feel the pressure to inspire vision in others. I often wondered if we really could change the world. Going from town to town to meet with business people, government officials, and church leaders was a pioneering effort, and no one had mentored me in what the pain of spearheading a new endeavor felt like. No one had told me what a lonely road it can be to build something new, reach for a goal, or pursue a dream—or simply do something you believed God has called you to do. Yes, I had immense support from my home church and great friends in ministry, but in the day-to-day execution of my role, traveling from town to town, I was isolated.
What I didn’t understand then was that God was orchestrating my present for my future. He knew that I would initiate and build ministries and organizations using the very skills I was learning—but I didn’t.
I’ve come a long way since that miserable night on the cot, but I got from there to here the same way we all do: by taking steps…
I went to church.
I said yes to serving at a cleanup day.
I said yes to volunteering at the Youth Center.
I said yes to serving as the New South Wales Director of Youth Alive.
I said yes to being a coordinator in the Hillsong Network.
I said yes to starting Equip & Empower Ministries.
I said yes to initiating A21.
I said yes to launching Propel.
It’s not that one thing led directly to the next thing; it’s that one step led to the next step—and I couldn’t bypass any of the steps. It was like climbing a set of stairs, and what I learned on each step gave me the wisdom, knowledge, strength, confidence, and maturity to succeed when I moved up to the next one. I just trusted God and took steps, and he has never wasted one step.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly,” writes the psalmist. “He delights in every detail of their lives” (Psalm 37:23 NLT).
Excerpt from Christine Caine’s newest book, Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure.