I mentioned before that one of the lessons we learned in the process of deciding whether, when, and where to go was broadening our concept of discerning God’s will beyond the usual approach. It wasn’t an open door closed door; red light, green light; wet fleece, dry fleece kind of experience. In His kindness, God directed us through the godly counsel of those around us as well as His Word. Many times I just wished God would make it obvious, give us some kind of subjective burden for a geographic location, prophetic words from a stranger, or even just make the process smooth, clear and easy. He didn’t do that for us. He used the combination of need (a church near Akron needed a senior pastor) + inclination (Jason had a desire to be sent from CCC and serve as a senior pastor) + counsel (from family, friends, and pastors) + consensus (the Sovereign Grace Leadership team as well as the pastors around us agreed that Jason could be a good fit for this church) + risk (on our part and the church’s part in Akron)+ faith (God is big enough to use insignificant people like us for His glory in MD or in OH)= Reyes family leaves beloved Chesapeake Community Church to serve at Covenant of Grace Church in Copley, Ohio. This process for us required more faith than we expected it to. Silly us.
Now that we’re here, it seems so obvious that this is the perfect fit for us. And I suspect that during times when it may get difficult, although mercifully it has been a very smooth transition, Jason and I will be glad that we didn’t base our decision on something changing and fallible like a mere feeling/desire, prophetic word, or even just a smooth path. We are confident that God used the combination He did so that we would anchor our confidence in Him regardless of what may come.
I think for myself personally, I wanted everything to be obvious and line up perfectly. I did not want any sense of risk to be involved. What if we get there and we fail? I have never been more than five miles away from every extended family member. What if I have an emotional breakdown? Jason has never preached every week. He has only known ministry in the context of a rather large team. What if he couldn’t do the whole senior pastor thing? With what this was costing us emotionally to leave beloved family, friends, church was it worth it to risk it all only to fail?! Jason and I both had to come to a place where we could say the gospel was worth not just taking a risk, but worth risking failure. We came to believe that even if we were to fail miserably, we were still willing to make the attempt for the sake of the gospel (a phrase I will talk about more in a different post, Lord willing), and trust that God would still be glorified….which is never failure, but always sweet and guaranteed success.
As many as are reading this who have relocated, that is how many different ways God directed and guided you. What is your story? Let me know in the comments, or if you write on your blog, let me know and I’ll link to you.