Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Have Faith, Will Follow

In 1996 I had been on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) for five years at Indiana University. I still loved working with students, but I felt the tug to venture somewhere else. I began looking for the possibility of transferring with IVCF to another school. The possibility of moving to Illinois came about. I had thought that I would move in 1997, but the team leader in Illinois was interested in me moving so that I would be in place the fall of 1996.

I decided to move. However, my summer was booked with camps and various things so that making a trip to Bloomington Normal was next to impossible. I had talked to another staff, Marcia Wang, and we had decided we would room together. She found a place. In August I moved to a new city without ever having visited. My adventurous thought was that if I were moving to Africa as a missionary I might never have done a preliminary visit either.

While it worked out well, I sometimes marvel at my willingness to go sight unseen. Perhaps, I am more cautious the older I get or I rely on the conventional wisdom of look before you leap.

As I've thought about it, it has come to mind that sometimes God says "Go" without laying out the entire plan. I want an itinerary. We will make the following stops. The trip will take so many days, etc. But looking at scripture, it seems that God often does not lay out every step. When he called Abram/Abraham to leave his home it was only with the statement that he was to go to a land that God would show him. It seems too vague me. Or when the early Christians were spreading the good news, it seems that they were often lucky to know the next step. Sometimes, like for Paul, that came in a dream.

It isn't just with traveling that God sometimes gives the instruction and possibly a long term end point but leaves out the middle.

Again, God promised Abraham that he would make him into a great nation. Abraham had to wait many years for the promised son. My logic says that Abraham and Sarah would have multiplied like the Duggars of 19 Kids and Counting. But Abraham's line didn't really start multiply until his 12 great grandkids. And in hindsight, it seems that Abraham's biological kids weren't really what God meant. Yes, God used Abraham's descendants to spread His word, but in many respects, it seems that Abraham's offspring that outnumber the stars are really faith descendants.

A few years ago, I felt God prompting me to leave my job and start a private practice in counseling. It was risky and nerve racking. Honestly, it didn't turn out at all like I expected. Within a year, I had closed what I had just opened. Did it turn out like I expected? No. Do I still think God wanted me to do it? Yes.

I had been working as a social worker in foster care. The job was exhausting. I sometimes worked all day and then supervised parent child visits in the evening. It didn't leave me much time for anything else.

About the time that I found office space and had my last day, I met Bill. Bill worked third shift at the local paper. We ended up spending some time together on just about a daily basis. That wouldn't have been at all possible with my work schedule as a foster care social worker and his third shift job. I thought that the practice was the goal. In hindsight I think that giving me that time with Bill was the goal. (Bill died suddenly in late April of that year.)

I like knowing the steps in a journey. But I am learning that with God it is more about trusting the one who says "Move" or "Stop" or "Turn" or "Rest" or any number of directions.

In traveling we might say, "Have passport, will travel."

With God we must be willing to give up our preconceived notions and perhaps we should say, "Have faith, will follow."

God's work in progress,


1 comment:

Joyful said...

Amy, I love this! "Have faith, will follow". The faith prompts the following.

About 3 weeks ago I wrote a very similar post (http://ponderinginhispresence.blogspot.com/2010/02/leaving.html). To go without knowing, and trust in the Lord.

I'm about to embark on such an adventure. Amy, the Lord has unbelieveably opened a door for me to go to Virginia for 10 days in April! Have I ever stayed there? No. Have I ever met the gal I'm staying with? No. Do I believe God has planned this trip? YES!

Abram was in his 70's when God called him to follow. We're never too old for an adventure with God.

In my case, I have passport and will travel too :)

Hugs to you today,