Was it a Test? By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Have you ever thought you were hearing God’s voice correctly, but then you realized you got it wrong?

Recently, an Executive Search firm reached out to me about applying for a media job with a large ministry in a Northeastern city. I wasn’t looking for full-time employment. I was happy leading Pearls of Promise, attending school, and taking care of my other volunteer jobs. This was a life “curve ball,” but the night before I received the invitation to apply, I had a dream. I was carrying a sick baby and a heavy purse on my shoulder when I encountered a major intersection. The purse and the baby, combined, were too heavy to carry so I had to make a decision. Do I lay down the purse at the intersection or do I lay down the baby? I ended up saving the baby. Purses represent your identity. Babies can signify a new ministry or a baby, literally. So in the dream I laid down my identity in order to move forward in a new ministry, or to simply save the baby.

I did not understand why the dream occurred until the next day when I received an email invitation to apply for this media management position for this well-established ministry. The ministry is a lobbying organization that stands for family values and one of the things it does is fight for legislation to save babies from being aborted. If I had not received the message, I probably would have said I was not interested and would not have considered such a move at this stage in my life. But I realized if I took this job, I would be helping to save the babies, like in the dream! That’s the first reason why I thought God was speaking.

There were additional signs. I had another dream pointing to a change. There were several messages about laying down my life to follow Jesus. One morning, the weather forecast for the home city of this ministry came up on my email rather than the forecast for my own city. God placed numerous people in my path who lived in that particular place. I was so convinced God was preparing me for this move, I turned in all the required paperwork, secured seven references and even started looking at homes, planning out the details of a transition in my mind.

But a couple of weeks after the start of the application process, I received a disappointing email from the Executive Search firm. The head of the firm said I had made it into the top ten candidates, but not the top five. I did not get the job. What? What was this exercise about? I wondered how I could misunderstand God’s voice in this way? Why did I believe he was directing me to this position when He wasn’t? I was ready to lay it all down—our POP ministry and school—for a new calling.

That’s when my husband, Jeff, said, “You didn’t miss the message. Abraham heard God’s voice correctly when he told him to sacrifice Isaac. He moved forward, out of obedience, but in the end, he didn’t have to kill Isaac. It was a test and I believe this was a test.”

So if this was a divine exam, I guess I passed. The LORD knows I am “all in” and willing to give it all up for Him, if He asks. Throughout this process, I made that promise to Him numerous times. After all of the repeat messages, I will admit I am still a little disappointed. I thought God was moving me to the “front lines.” My husband was open to the relocation, my adult children were supportive and like a chess game, I had planned out all my moves, but I choose to trust God with this end result.

What about you? What if God asked you to place your livelihood on the altar? Could you pass the test?

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  1. Lisa, what a wonderful story. Dreams are big in God’s Kingdom: Jacob, Joseph, you. And to boot, I love that your husband spoke wisdom into the situation. Love it when our husbands affirm God’s plan for our lives. Keep writing! Love you my friend and sister in Christ.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story as lots of us have had similar types of experiences. Your husband’s perspective spoke clarity. I love how you referenced this as an exercise, a practice of obedience, and an exam.

    1. Thanks for commenting Annette. I am still praying about this, praying to “let it go” and trust God with the decision. The process, on top of my usual ministry activities, consumed me for a few weeks. My top strength finder is “futuristic” so I was playing it all out in my mind.

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