“We are people who have been called to live the sort of lives in community whereby if this God does not exist, the way we live our lives makes no sense.”
– Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, from The Truth about God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Teaching
Ike and I were in the car, once again making the three hour drive from Charlotte to Raleigh, hoping to get some clarity. It had been a crazy couple of months full of sudden twists and turns, and each of us felt disoriented. We had no idea what we were doing.
To help you understand the confusion of this season, let me share the basics. Since April, we essentially walked away from two full-time job offers. Both were wonderful jobs. Both were at wonderful churches. Both offered salaries that would have met all our needs. Both would have been a great fit for our family. Both, on paper, would have been great.
But there was a nagging at our spirits.
After we received the first offer, I didn’t feel a peace about it. There were no red flags, no concerns at all. Simply a lack of peace. I hesitated to share my thoughts with Ike, but when I finally came clean, he confessed to feeling the same. We didn’t understand why. We prayed. We fasted. We sought wise counsel. We begged God for understanding. But the peace never came.
Eventually, we knew what we had to do.
Months later, a second job. Same situation. Everything on paper was perfect. In fact, I could see Ike fitting in there like a missing piece of a puzzle. The church seemed like a perfect home for his gifts to land. And yet we didn’t feel a sense of clarity. We didn’t feel confident that God was leading us there. After more prayer, more fasting, more seeking counsel, the clarity eventually came.
It was a firm no.
Again, we walked away.
About that time, we started to feel like raving lunatics. What’s wrong with us? Do we not like money? Do we not like paying our bills? How on earth could we turn down two amazing jobs at churches we love, in an economy like this one?
But again and again we returned to our mutual sense of the Holy Spirit’s leading. It would have been one thing if only one of us felt that way. But both? That had to mean something, right?
So we moved back home to North Carolina without much of a plan. We had a couple leads but nothing substantial. It was a leap of faith, trusting that God would catch us before we splat on the ground.
During that time we frequently rehearsed the story’s of God’s faithfulness to us, tracing our “ebenezers” like breadcrumbs to the truth. I would often declare to Ike, “Just like the Israelites, God will not lead us into the wilderness to die!” Once, Ike smartly responded, “You know, most of the Israelites DID die in the wilderness. Including Moses.”
I rolled my eyes and laughed, knowing that wasn’t the end of the story. Not for Israel. Not for us.
So there we were in the car, once again rehearsing the many acts of God’s faithfulness to us. Throughout our marriage He had supplied our every need–abundantly so. We had no reason to doubt Him now.
And yet, I couldn’t help but doubt, just a little.
“It’s not that I doubt God’s character.” I explained to Ike. “I know that God is a God of faithfulness and abundance. As we follow Him, He will not abandon us. I believe that. But that’s not the root of my fear. My fear is, what if God doesn’t even exist? Then all this we’ve been doing? It doesn’t make any sense at all. We’re just crazy people making arbitrary decisions without any safety net.”
As I have shared in earlier posts, God came through. Gloriously. Ike found a job at a church he has dreamed of working at. We are living near family and friends in an area we love. God has answered our prayers. There are still some unknowns that require us to keep walking in trust, but God has provided, definitively. He is here, holding us in His loving hands, leading us along His way.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3
The last couple months have been winding and strange. I don’t know how many of you can relate. But I’m sharing all this because I hope it will encourage some of you. Two types of people in particular.
The first is people who feel called to something that just feels crazy. On paper, it doesn’t make any sense. You look at it and you scratch your head and wonder, “This can’t possibly be right, can it, God??”
And yet, after searching Scripture, seeking counsel, praying and discerning the Spirit’s will, the direction is undeniable. He’s calling.
To you, friend, I say jump. Take a leap of faith. Live the kind of life that only makes sense if God is real. Jump with the confidence that He won’t let you fall. Allow God to use you for something incredible. And then tell your story of God’s faithfulness so that others have the courage to do the same.
The second group, you are the ones who have already taken that leap. Or perhaps you felt pushed. But regardless of how you got there, you are in a season of living by faith. You are following God, but you don’t know where you are going. Everyday you wake up, willing yourself to trust God’s unfailing faithfulness, because it’s all you can do.
That’s the kind of season that Ike and I have been living in. This season reminded me that radical living by faith, the kind of life that makes no sense if God does not exist, it’s not always flashy and big. It’s not always the sort of stuff people write books about. It doesn’t always mean selling all your possessions and moving to a far away land.
Sometimes, living by faith is a quiet trust fall into the arms of God. It’s a daily choice to remember the gospel and trust His character. It is a discipline and it is hard and sometimes I’m not very good at it.
No one sees that quiet trust, no one but those closest to you. And yet that witness is just as powerful and important as any other. That tiny, hidden act of trust is loud in a world of fear.
Looking back, this season of our lives only makes sense if God exists.
Thankfully, I AM.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10