Someone told me recently about a surge of prophecy at a recent worship service in his rather charismatic church. One prophet boldly declared to someone in front of the church that God was about to turn his life around "380 degrees."
Now, it's pretty clear that the prophet was trying to say that God was going to turn the guy's life around 180 degrees—that is, point it exactly the opposite way that it's currently going—but he or she got his or her words mixed with "360 degrees," a perfect circle. Because to turn 380 degrees happens to be spinning in a circle and then rotating 20 more degrees. So the prophet accidentally told the man that God was about to make him veer slightly to the right.
Obviously, this is not as dramatic as the prophet thought. But it got me thinking: what if God actually did turn the guy's life around "380" (i.e., 20) degrees?
Let's say you're driving down a road at 60 m.p.h., and there's a road that veers to the right 20 degrees, and you take that right. In one hour you will be 20.8 miles away from where you would have been if you had stayed on the road that you started on. In five hours you will be 104 miles away from where you would have been. And after a whole day of driving, 24 hours, you would be 500 miles from where you would be if you hadn't gone right at the fork. So that 20 degrees would make a really big difference.
It occurs to me that we often hope and pray that God will turn our situation or someone else's situation (or someone else, period) around 180 degrees. Sometimes God acts that dramatically. But probably many more times than we realize he gives us a 20-degree nudge that we might not even recognize at the time. But then quite a long time later we end up at a very different destination than we would have arrived at otherwise.
So if you're not seeing colossal hoped-for transformations in your life or circumstances, don't be discouraged. If God tells you to do a small thing with no apparent immediate payoff, obey him and do it. God uses our tiny choices to achieve big things in due time.