Trusting God may be the two most challenging words in all of scripture to us, the believers. I always thought I had a great deal of trust in Him, but when that trust is put to the test, you find out to what degree you actually trust. My story has a great deal of depth to it, but I have spared some of the details to capture the essence of what is truly important.
In 2002, I made a decision to leave the company I had worked for, for the past 18 years, to take advantage of an opportunity that looked like it was both financially beneficial and personally helpful. However, the one aspect I did not consider was the wise counsel of others. Had I made that a key part of the decision, I would've known disaster was lurking in the shadows.
This new position was not only mentally challenging because of the huge learning curve I had to encounter, but I was also thrust into an extraordinary amount of travel, thus being away from my wife and young children for days and sometimes weeks at a time.
Let me sum up that whole experience by saying that I did not realize that the combination of time away from my family, a lot of it alone, and the heavy workload would create all of the issues I would encounter.
By the end of 2005, it was clear that I was not doing well at work and failing miserably as a father and husband. Fortunately, as I would find out later, my father in-law was praying for God to step in and change my circumstances. By the third week of January 2006, because of a series of bad decisions on my part, the company decided to let me go.
One big loud thud. At first I was devastated, but after a conversation with Bill Cox the day after my dismissal, I started to make better decisions about my life, and more importantly about my relationship with God.
Almost immediately, I decided to devote the first chunk of my day to prayer, scripture and quiet time (and when I say chunk, I can recall some mornings would be 3 to 4 hour sessions)all just to get close to Him. As I purposed to let God put me where he wanted me, I felt this unbelievable peace in my days. It was strange, no job, no prospects and lots of peace. Only a God that loves me would do that.
Also two amazing things happened during that time. My wife was also experiencing that same peace and when times were tight financially we would get a random check in the mail from the people we would least expect to be able to help. But isn't that just how God works? As I began to pray and volunteer at McLane, I felt more and more called to be there and when I was asked to join the staff that summer as a part time employee, it just made sense.
By the fall, I was hired on full-time as the newly positioned Director of Volunteers. I was very excited to be a part of the team and feeling as though this was a dream opportunity, especially since I had given up on what I wanted to do and let God put me where he desired me to be. I served on that staff for almost 3 years. Toward the end of my third year, I was sitting at The Cellblock (Church in a Bar) one Sunday evening, when Andy Kerr reminded the congregation that each Monday night they get together to pray for God's plan and provision for that location (one of our core values). Then it hit me, I needed to start doing that in my own life.
So I went home that night, talked about it with my wife and we began to purposefully pray for our own situation. I knew, because of the nature of the budget at McLane, I could potentially lose my job there. Once again, I placed my trust in God. He, being God, was much quicker this time. An old high school friend started showing up at McLane. We started talking about his company, and within 2 weeks he had offered me an opportunity to come and work for him.
To make a long story short. I worked for my friend for the better part of 6 months at a location 6 hours from my home, being away from my family for weeks on end. All the while trusting that this was God's plan. While that opportunity ended in the first month of 2010, I learned a lot and was once again kneeling before God and trusting in him.
Within a few months through prayer and patience, 3 different companies called me to ask me to do consulting work for them. Did you hear that? They called me.
I spent the summer of 2010 consulting and learning more about God's trust than ever before. As my work with each of those companies was ending, it became clear to me that unless I went out an solicited more work I would be jobless once again. I continued to pray about this situation, but clearly my heart was just to go wherever He wanted me to go. Within days, I was sitting at the Bagel Shop in Edinboro when a friend walked by and asked me how things were going. I told him things were good, but was looking for work. He smiled and said, it think I may have something for you, and called me that afternoon to offer me work.
I worked for my friend for the last half of 2010, and when things came to a screeching halt there, guess what? I was back to trusting in God again.
This time was different. I had learned so much from God over the past few years, and trusted him so much, that I went to my friend and told him that it was clear that I wasn't necessary any longer. We talked about my being available to help if he needed me and we went our separate ways.
Unlike the last few times, where God showed up almost immediately, this time God put my trust to the test. Days, weeks even months went by and not even an offer for a job. One interview in 3 months and that position was clearly not a good fit. Oh how my faith and trust wavered. All I could ask myself was, why would God allow one of his faithful followers to be so frustrated? At the same time, that peace that I spoke about was right there with me, all the time. The doubt would creep in occasionally, but for the most part, I spent lots of time in prayer, in his word, reading Christian books by one of my favorite authors Max Lucado and meeting with people that God placed into my life. These people added accountability as well as an opportunity for me to minister to them on areas they were struggling in.
To bring this story, for now, to an end, my neighbor mentioned that the company he worked for was looking for a sales rep. I sent them my resume. I was called for an interview a day later, and the day after that, they offered me the position. I have never been a salesman before, so I clearly felt under qualified. But because it was my heart to let God put me where he wanted me to be, and not where I would be comfortable, of course, this would be the type of thing he would do. Oh, and just to make things interesting, I went to lunch a week later with a friend, while there, I was offered a 3 week consulting stint with someone I had worked for last summer. Amazing, since I am not scheduled to start my sales rep position until the middle of June. Then, just when I felt everything was in place, I was offered another job, just this week, for one of the other companies I had done some consulting for last year.
I am very curious to see which way God directs me through these two job opportunities, but I know he will. I'm not sure how this story will end, but this much is clear, I can trust God and you can too. With one very important mindset: as long as you want what's best for him, he will walk you through anything.
Trust in him, it is your best option.