It’s been nearly a week since Shannon followed the Spirit and turned in notice at her work with no sign of a job for either her or myself. Six days without a door opening with this kind of stress (anyone who claims that there is no stress following God’s commands is probably lying- faith is key, believe in His plan, but fear and stress are only natural) is almost maddening. I think I’m getting a hint of what the apostles felt waiting for the Spirit…“Jesus? Are you coming, or how about this great advisor that we kept hearing about?”
Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit; otherwise I would probably need some pillows on my walls. Shannon and I have been spending a ton of time praying over our situation. We both received confirmation on the same day that she was to leave her work. We both also received confirmation that the next step in God’s plan for us was for me to get back in ministry…a full time ministry.
While spending and abundance of time in prayer is good, the Bible is quite clear that we are also to take action. But how do you take action when you aren’t sure which way to go? If you start walking, you might just be walking in completely the wrong direction, right? Proverbs tells us to seek wise counsel.
“Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
Who is wise counsel when it comes to the unknown? Well this isn’t really unknown. I hold a basic view when it comes to diagnostics. It’s a view that my father taught me while he was trying to teach me how to work on cars. Take everything down to the root components, find out which of the roots the issue is in (ie electrical, fuel, compression) and go from there. I use this in computers and in networking, and it’s made me one of the top diagnostic techs in my area. So what if we apply this same principle here? Let’s say the main roots are work, ministry, and family. They all work hand in hand to make life happen.
Work is how we pay the bills. Ministry is how we live our life. Family is who we live our life with. We’re not in a family issue, so we can count that out. We are having work issues, and we feel like we are being called to a full time ministry. So now that we have narrowed things down a little, we need to focus on work and ministry. Both of us feel that God is calling me into a full time ministry position; this covers both work and ministry. Now that we know what direction is north, we can find people who know us and know that basic path.
On went the phone calls around the world, quite literally. I had a phone call conversation with one of my good friends who is a missionary in Thailand. I talked to a few pastors and other people who I believe God has blessed with wisdom. The opinions were mixed, which didn’t make anything easier. Some said to take more time and make sure this is what God wants. Some said for Shannon to go and get another job because it’s easier to turn down work for a ministry position (it’s not always the case by the way, I know from experience). And the person I would say who is the wisest of these (I felt this way before this conversation) said something profound. He reminded me that Shannon and I had been called and been waiting for a missionary position for 5 years. And we have been.
There’s a time to wait and see, and there’s a time to take action and obey God; to take a leap of faith. This friend simply told me to “fill out the application.” If that’s not where God wants us, then the doors will be closed. And yes, they will. Shannon and I have had several doors closed on us. Multiple Youth Pastor positions, missionary positions, Worship Pastor positions, Associate Pastor, Sr. Pastor…..you get the idea.
There is one organization that we are looking at in particular; and the funny thing is, that it fills both the missionary call and the pastor calling in one shot. So here goes nothing. We’re putting in with this group and seeing where God leads us. Please continue to pray for us and for others out there going against the grain and enduring pain and hardship to follow God’s will.
One thing I’ve learned over the years of doing ministry, and it’s said from time to time but people hardly ever live it out; you never have to be afraid to do what is right. And let me tell you, if God is calling you, then it’s right.