Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bob's Thoughts: How do I know the Will of God? Part 2

Please be sure you've read my introduction from yesterday for some thoughts of where I'm coming from with this post.  So, how did it work for us practically speaking? I have at several points felt especially, specifically led by God to do something. I will try to outline them here and my observations.
In college when we were both sophomores, I was increasingly attracted to Cynthia as we hung out in the same circle of friends, but I didn’t know how to proceed or whether I was supposed to. I knew that I was called to missions (sorry for skipping over that; too long. Maybe another blog post someday), so I knew that a prerequisite in a mate was someone who also felt the same calling. Simple common sense. 

It was at a missions conference that we were both at, that I learned that she also felt a calling to missions, and it was a couple days into the conference that I felt like God spoke to me in my mind (sorry for being mystical here, but I don’t have a better way to describe it. No audible voice or anything, but I’m as confident in it as if I’d heard an audible voice. It was a thought that I knew didn’t come from me) and told me I had a green light to pursue a relationship with her. After that, it was mostly feeling more and more comfortable and confident that our relationship was from God until we were married.

Wrapping up college and about to get married, I needed to find a job. I tried to pray about where to go, and I kept feeling that Atlanta was coming to my mind, although I’d never been there and had no reason for my mind to come up with that. So I looked for jobs there, interviewed for a few, and accepted one. This brings up an interesting point, because this is an example where (with 20/20 hindsight) I’m not positive this was God’s will, because when I was about to accept the job in Atlanta, I got an offer for an interview for the very position I’ve filled in Orlando for the past two years, and I turned it down. 

This was four years ago. Did I miss God’s leading here? I wonder about it because I ended up hating my job in Atlanta, but God can use jobs that you hate, too, to grow you. Look at Joseph’s life. I did learn things there working in the secular world that I won’t learn in the missions world. Anyways, whether or not I missed God here, take heart because it shows that He’s sovereign enough to get us where He wants us even if we make different choices.

Anyways, I was miserable at my job in Atlanta for a year and a half, and was looking for other jobs most of the time, but absolutely nothing was coming through. Then I found out about this job in Orlando, doing the work I’d dreamed of doing, for Wycliffe, one of the missions organizations we’d been interested in. I have to admit, it didn’t take too much prayer to feel confident that this was God’s will, especially when they offered me the job for the same pay I was making at my Atlanta job. Sometimes, God works through obvious open doors, too.

Finally, I can’t describe all of the circumstances that led us to the idea of developing a team of partners and heading to Nigeria, but when we were asked by some friends (who knew that we were expecting to transition from a stateside paid position to an overseas supported position at some point) to consider taking this position, I asked Cynthia if we could go to the beach so I could think about it with the relaxing surf as background noise. I would like to consider a beach to be a prerequisite for hearing from God from now on, but I’m not sure that’ll work. It’s a bonus if you can get it. 

Anyways, while walking along the beach, I asked God in my head whether this was the right thing to do or not. He didn’t answer me directly, but I got a clear thought, “This is an example where you can trust your instincts”. I hadn’t considered that angle, but as I thought about it I knew that my instincts were telling me that this was the opportunity Cynthia and I had been praying for and talking about for two years. So, here we are, in process of pursuing God’s will as best as we know.

As has been said by wiser men than I, it’s far easier for God to steer a moving car that’s a little off than a parked one that’s waiting for a “sign”, or that wants to know the whole route before starting out. Just follow God's guidance that you do have, and listen to Him along the way, and He’s powerful enough to get you where he wants you. That, I think, is faith. It won't always get you where you expect or even where you want, but God will always be with you, and will honor your obedience.

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