Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Rom. 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Over the past weeks I have been reflecting on the past 10 years. Ten years ago there was an uncertainty that filled my life and Tillie’s. It was a time of transition knowing that our time at the church I was serving at in Texas had come to an end. It was a time of transition that was fast approaching not knowing what was to happen next and we had been given a date when the transition would occur. The Rector had already hired my replacement and it was inevitable that I needed to find a new parish. It wasn’t like there wasn’t any hope as the Bishop was helping to find a new position in the Diocese. It was the timing that was the concern. The date we had been given was fixed and I had yet to find a new position. For me it was an uneasy feeling because six years prior I had been downsized from a position I had held for over ten years in the corporate world. We had to trust God as we had when He provided a position that held us until we went to Seminary a year later. It was the same feeling when I graduated from seminary and did not have a position. God again was faithful. He had brought us through seminary; brought us to Texas and now it was a matter of where He was taking us. And so another phase of our journey with Christ began.
As time was slipping away we continued to pray trusting in God. We knew that it had to be His will and not our just seeking another place to hang the priest collar and vestments. I tell people that as the time was approaching I prayed fervently saying, “God if you take us out of the paradise of the hill country of Texas you have to place us in paradise”. The reality was I trusted God and knew I could not take just any position to fill the need. It had to be a position that He called us to go and minister no matter where it was. It was during this time a position in the heart of Texas opened; the town was literally five miles from the geographic heart of Texas. So on the request of the Bishop we drove up one Saturday to see the town.
The town was a small Texas town. The center of town was the town square. It was defined by the streets that formed it. It was a typical town square with the courthouse and city offices in the square’s center. The day we went it was a windy cold gray Saturday and as we drove around the square we noted that multiple shops that encircled the perimeter of the square had gone out of business with only a few remaining viable and fewer still open for business on a Saturday afternoon. While the BBQ we ate the Hard 8 Bar-B-Que (now closed) was good, it was not where God was leading us. It was the same feeling we had after we interviewed at another church in the town where the revolution of Texas Independence had started.
As the critical time approached time seemed to march on faster than expected. It was then I received a call from a parish in Central Florida. It was from a parish I requested my name to be submitted as a possible candidate. It was in the same Diocese where we had begun our journey to my Ordination to the Priesthood. First was the phone interview that seemed to last for about two hours. It was just one of the many that the search committee was making. Finally the call came they wanted a one on one interview so they flew Tillie and I out to Florida for a full two days of interviews. When they sent us back we knew there were still more candidates they wanted to interview the same way. The difference was when we got on the plane to return to Texas God spoke into our hearts this was where He wanted us. We knew that we knew He wanted us there. It was the same feeling we had when we left seminary for the interview in Texas. In fact we had an offer from a church in Fort Myers before we went to Texas. We knew that we knew. Now all we had to do was to wait and trust.
Waiting is hard, trusting sometimes is even harder. We have no control and it can be difficult when you are facing times of uncertainty when your livelihood and security depend on it. As time slips away you ask yourself, “Did we really hear the word of God speaking in hearts or was it our plan imposed upon God”? The only way to know is through prayer and having a deep intimate relationship with God.
Our faith is strengthened by not just reading God’s word but studying to learn more about His character and His love for us. It is learning of His plan and trusting His word will accomplish what He purposes for us. It is in this knowing we have the assurance of His will and not our projected will on Him.
When we place our full trust in the Lord, worry is lightened knowing through prayer and supplication we can make our requests known to Him. It is because of His love for us and our trust and faith in Him we can have all the assurances He will accomplish His task for the good and for His purpose. And we can have the assurance that all things will work for His glory.