Whatever you want to be in public, you need to start training for it in private.
When you start studying the lives of those God has used greatly and told us about in his word, you notice a similar theme in all of their journeys. The details are different but every one of those men and women who God has used in significant ways have always gone through a period of private training with the Lord before he used them publicly.
It’s not that God will not use us in meaningful and significant ways during the private training period. The ministry done behind closed doors or in less public settings is not less important to the overall mission. But in private God trains us and equips us for future roles that are more public.
Before Joseph became second in command in Egypt, God was training him through private trials through his family, his time in Potiphar’s house, and his time in prison. After many years of humbly tending the sheep after he fled from Egypt when he angrily murdered an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite, Moses and God had to have their private meeting at the burning bush before Moses was used publicly before Pharaoh. Mary had an individual dream in private before she was used to birth and raise Jesus. John the Baptist grew up in the desert before he was used to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. Peter was a fisherman and then a disciple before his exploits in Acts. Even Jesus himself did not begin his three year public ministry until thirty years of private training and ministry took place.
Every soldier knows the best type of training is hands-on, where live ammo is involved. A private never jumps rank to instantly become a general without ever getting his hands dirty and participating in less grand duties compared to those of a general. Likewise, God takes his people through many different twists and turns before he uses them publicly in massive ways.
To be balanced, God’s goal for everyone does not include making us all famous, public figures. But he does want us all to be used in deeper and wider ways the more we grow in him. We can’t skip the process. We must embrace it and enjoy it.
Champions may be revealed on the largest stages, but they are formed through many years of training and focus when no one else is watching. If we desire not to waste our lives, we must not waste our times behind the scenes. If you want to be a preacher one day, then start studying God’s word and learning to form sermons in your free time now. If you want to be a counselor one day, start going to school now. If you want to be a missionary one day, start sharing the gospel with your neighbor across the street. If you want to be published author, start writing books now even if no one will ever read them.
We can’t guarantee God will allow us to be what we are working towards. But we can guarantee God is training us right now for what he has planned for us, and he always plans for us to bring him massive glory in all that we do. If you want to become who God wants you to be in forty years, start working towards who God wants you to be right now. If you want to do what God has planned for you in the future, start doing what God has planned for you in the present, even if you don’t know what the end result is going to look like.
Every moment presents an opportunity to do something useful for the Kingdom right now. We can’t be paralyzed by not fully being what we want to be in the future. The genuineness of your relationship with God in private will equate to your effectiveness for God in public.
The more significant the role God has for us, the more time he is going to spend in training us. May we embrace the training and trust his good plan for our lives.