It's a very strange place. At times it's full of excitement, suspense and a hint of joy with the unknown and chaotic feel of everything. On the other side of that wave however is the terrifying, almost paralyzing reminder of how near the edge you just may be.
At age thirty-two I find myself, like so many others these days, looking for a job. The difficult task for me though is I don't simply get to pick. I'm a Christian. Even still….I'm a Pastor. I don't look, sound, act or think like most Pastors. This makes me unique (those that love me say unique.) It also makes me dangerous and unsettling (those who don't love me use vocabulary like this.) For almost fifteen years I've been in training for the great purpose that is The Church. Strangely enough, the very thing I'm training for seems to cause me the most difficulty.
Now I must qualify all this; I am in no dire situation. In fact, I'm in a more desirable condition than probably over 95% of people looking for employment. I have an income, a house, a family, a loving and supportive wife and almost every "creature comfort" one could think of. The Unknown has a tendency of stealing my attention away from all that. But that's exactly what The Unknown is supposed to do.
Back to the whole "I don't get to pick" thing. You see, I have to wait. Sure I could go work at Target, Starbucks or any other place for money but when the complex world of "careers" intersect with the simple, unfathomable concept of God's Will, things get a bit hard to explain. When looking for a job as a Pastor not only do you have to consider all the things every other husband/father in the world has to consider (i.e. schools, houses, neighborhoods, communities, taxes, etc) but we must be in step with where God wants us. This doesn't usually come engraved on stone or written in the sky with clouds. No, no, we must be intimately in tune to God's leading through Scripture, guidance and faith. Not only that but the churches we are considering are busy doing the same thing you are. On some occasions the two arrive at contradicting conclusions. Where by begging the question…who's obeying and who's disobeying God?
I'm not quite sure what I'm getting at with all of this but I just wanted to say it out loud. It's not that I'm questioning God (although there are appropriate times for that and NO, it's not a sin.) It's just that despite my rock solid faith that God is in fact at work and I am exactly where He wants me at this particular moment, I am stuck battling the emotions and paranoia that come with not knowing the outcome. But again, that's what The Unknown is all about. If I had the itinerary for my life I would inevitably and unavoidably mess it all up. If I found security in the things I have I would lead a sad life of impossible achievement chasing.
Instead I find myself unable to sleep, washing bottles and peeking in on my beautiful family in the wee hours of the morning. I'm unable to sleep because my heart and mind are frantically wondering what it is I'm supposed to do next. Move to a new town yet again; stay and put down roots by any means possible; pursue a new direction all together? These are the questions that steal my sleep. Not in a negative way though. Just a restless, unending conversation with innumerable possible outcomes.
There is plenty of fear and terror in days like these but, there is so much possibility that one can't help but anxiously bite his fingernails with anticipation of just what God might do. The tears, anxiety, laughter and excitement will come and go like the tides of the Carolina beaches. The most important thing I can do and am reminding myself of even now is to continually place my hope, my joy, my life in the hands of the one constant throughout all of history. I WILL TRUST MY GOD!
So as you watch me walk this step-by-step lit path, I hope you understand more deeply the love our God has for you. I hope you see in me an authentic faith. I pray you realize that though The Unknown feels like it is waiting to destroy you, God is at work drawing you to Himself by any means necessary.