Ten years ago yesterday (Nov 10, 2003), I wrote this in one of my journals:
So often I’ve told people that since studying Job, I no longer ask God what He’s trying to teach me in various circumstances – I simply trust that He knows what He’s doing and that the outcome will be to His glory. But I am starting to wonder if He’s telling us something now and we’re just not getting it yet. Is God prodding us toward a certain decision? Is He telling us to do something way outside our comfort zone? Or is He just moving us toward a fuller, deeper reliance on Him to meet our needs – spiritual, emotional physical…?
The life context during which I wrote that included major struggles in three areas and an increasing sense of failure at work. Struggles and failure aren’t necessarily good indicators of God’s leading, though they can open our senses to him; for it is when we are struggling that we are more likely to seek and accept help.
One year after writing those words, I left behind the security and benefits of a well-paying (albeit unsatisfying) job and embarked on a new adventure. In hindsight it is easy to see that the struggles we had been experiencing were just the edge of a wilderness in which we would sojourn five more years. As a Christian, I look to the Bible for guidance, and so I have often wondered what similarities there may have been between our figurative journey in the wilderness and the literal journey the people of Israel took between Egypt and the promised land. The main thing I wonder is whether it was my own sins that led my family to wander—as it was for Israel—or was it merely the result of decisions I made along the way? Or was God specifically leading, as he so often led the apostle Paul and others throughout the book of Acts?
I don’t want to over-spiritualize our journey. I have never talked to a burning bush or wrestled with an angel. I can’t say that I have ever heard the audible voice of God telling me to go to Ninevah or don’t go to Macedonia. What I do know is this: I have a very strong sense that God has been with us on this journey, that we are where he wants us today, and that he will lead us as we seek to life faithfully for him. It’s been quite a decade!