Finding and doing the will of God is a vital part of having a happy and fruitful Christian life. And it all begins with saying “yes” to God.
Most of my young life I planned to become a doctor. But God had other plans for me.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was 1986, and I was with a small team on its way to meet a delegation of Tanzanians coming to attend the African Congress on Evangelism led by my dad, international evangelist Morris Cerullo.
As our rickety van bounced and bumped across the desolate African plain in the shimmering heat, I could see a large sign painted on the side of a small building in the distance. At first, I couldn’t make out the words. But as we drew closer, I stared in disbelief at the faded red and white logo sprayed across the dilapidated shack: Coca-Cola.
I shook my head in amazement. There we were, 7,000 miles away from the marketing gurus of New York City’s Madison Avenue, yet Coke had made its mark.
Immediately I thought of a story I once heard about a Coca-Cola stockholders meeting in which a member of the board stood to his feet and declared with the passionate fervor of an evangelist: “Half the world has tasted Coke, and we’re going after the other half!”
Sitting in an old van under the blazing African sun, I was overwhelmed by a troubling realization—one that would shape my destiny in the decades to come: While half the world had tasted a popular soft drink, billions had never tasted the eternal, life-giving water of Jesus Christ.
My heart was grieved as I pondered how every second, of every hour, of every day, thousands of desperate, thirsty souls around the world were dying, condemned to suffer eternity in hell without God.
That day, I understood that if the secular world could deliver its message to the farthest corners of the globe, so could the followers of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit began to birth a vision in my heart to find new ways to use media to spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Before that defining moment, no one—including myself—could have guessed I would end up leading an international media ministry. Perhaps God is preparing a similar turning point in your life as you seek His will and are alert to His promptings.
Our Dreams vs. God’s Dreams
Sometimes God plants a dream in our heart that He wants us to passionately pursue. At other times, He wants us to surrender our dream to Him, so He can replace it with HIS dream—which is far better.
When other kids wanted to be firemen, policemen, or lawyers, I wanted to be a doctor. Traveling to the nations of the world with my dad as a young boy, I witnessed the incredible depravity and distress of countless people in underprivileged countries. I wanted to do something to help relieve people’s suffering.
When people asked me why I didn’t want to follow in my dad’s footsteps and do international crusades, I would explain, “I just never felt called to preach. That was the furthest thing from my mind. God called my dad to do that, but it was something I definitely didn’t want to pursue.”
You see, God doesn’t want us to fill someone else’s shoes. He has a unique calling and destiny for each of us, and we’ll never be happy if we try to fit into another person’s mold.
I was accepted at the University of California San Diego—my “dream” college because of its excellent medical school. I was thrilled by the prospect of attending a great school while still being able to live a surfer’s life in San Diego.
But God had other plans.
My parents urged me, “David, why not try Oral Roberts University for a semester? If you don’t like it, then come back to San Diego and go to UCSD.”
This was the last thing I wanted to hear. Why would I want to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attend ORU, when I’d been accepted at UCSD, my dream school? My parents’ suggestion just didn’t make sense, and I didn’t want to go.
But I finally said “yes” to my parents and enrolled at ORU.
“What About My Kingdom?”
At this point, I still wanted to be a doctor. However, while cramming for exams one night, I distinctly heard God ask me a very pointed question: “What about My Kingdom, David?”
“What do you mean?” I replied, thinking it very strange that the Lord would ask me such a question out of the blue, while I was cramming for finals.
God just repeated the question, and I had a hard time coming up with a suitable answer. “Well, Lord, I’m going to study hard and be a really good doctor…a great doctor. I’ve wanted to do this my whole life. It’s my life’s ambition, and I’ve never wavered from it.”
But no matter how I responded, the question persisted: “What about My Kingdom?” Finally, I cried out in frustration, “What is it You’re asking me to do?”
After this uncomfortable encounter with the Lord, I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to set aside my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. Still having no interest in pursuing ministry, I felt I should change my major to Business. This was another decision that would serve me well as God used me to build not only an international media ministry, but also a separate media company to advance family-friendly programming.
Not Always an Easy Road
Many people have a big misconception about walking in the Lord’s will. They think everything will be easy once they say “yes” to Him, but often this isn’t the case. I’ve found that circumstances often are tough, even when we’re in the will of God. Sometimes we can be tempted to quit when things don’t immediately go our way.
Yet, day after day, I endeavor to bring God everything that’s within me, my faults and flaws as well as my gifts and talents. He hasn’t used me because I’m special, but simply because I’ve wholeheartedly offered my life to Him. As I make myself available, God does the rest. And He will do the same in your life.
As I have repeatedly seen, discovering God’s best for your life begins with your decision to say “yes” to His plans. Sometimes He will tell you something you don’t understand or don’t want to hear. But His plan for your life is wonderful, and you can trust Him to bring it to pass when you fully surrender to Him.
God bless you,
David Cerullo is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Inspiration Ministries, located in Indian Land, South Carolina – a ministry dedicated to impacting people for Christ worldwide through media. The son of international evangelist Morris Cerullo, David took a less traditional approach to ministry, graduating from Oral Roberts University with a degree in business administration and management. He has authored over 20 books, and operates a global media ministry that powerfully impacts the world for Christ. More from David on Inspiration.org.