Ten years ago today, I made a decision that changed the trajectory of my life. It was a decision that I made after much prayer and counsel. I have written about the aftermath of this decision in a forthcoming book. The following is an excerpt. When I resigned, I had no place to go. My plan was to start a new church in a town a few miles down the road. I knew the stakes were high. We had four kids and a mortgage. Feeling this enormous pressure, I recorded this prayer in my journal: “I have been up since 4:00 this morning running everything through my mind. I tossed and I turned. If God doesn’t do this church start thing then I am sunk for years to come. I am out on a limb, but I feel like that is where I am supposed to be. The whole financial and logistical thing is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I need God’s help. No one else’s will do. I am in a desperate situation. All this can’t help but to make me a better person, a better follower of Christ. God please let my children see You come through in the midst of all this uncertainty. Please make your way known.”
This prayer kicked off a decade long testing of my faith. Up to this time, I was used to seeing God come through in big ways in my life. I thought this new adventure of faith would be more of the same. I was wrong. This period of time was going to be the hardest decade of my existence. These prime years of life were going to be spent enduring instead of succeeding. In the midst of the struggle, I had to make up my mind to stay the course. People were watching. My family needed me to be strong. If I went down I knew I would take others with me. I had never felt so much pressure in my life. It’s at times like this that an overused, yet motivating quote from Theodore Roosevelt really helps.
During his famous “Citizenship in a Republic” speech that he made in Paris, France on April 23, 1909, the former president spoke these powerful words. “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” All I can say is that I went big!
In the book not only do I share from my own experience but I also write about three biblical stalwarts of the Faith who followed God’s plan, which led them to a place of waiting and hardship.
If you've ever struggled with the wait, with not knowing where to go next, I want to challenge you to endure. Some of the most powerful testimonies in the Bible came after a long period of waiting. You are not alone and you have not been forgotten.