Growing up, I was always taught that God was faithful and he would take care of us if only we would trust him. As I sat in Sunday school, I would hear the stories about men of the Bible who stepped out on faith taking a chance of ridicule, suffering and for some of them even pushed in their faith so far that they died for what they believed. I would look at these men and would put them on a pedestal as being examples of someone that I could only hope to be like. But then, I would be told these men were just like me, they had just put all of their trust into God’s plan for their life. Wow, when I heard that they were just like me, I jumped in to that belief with both feet. I knew for a fact that if I trusted God and stepped out on faith he would be faithful and take care of me because that’s what everybody told me. I believed that with all of my heart but I just wasn’t willing to chance it.
I became a Christian at Jonathan Creek Christian Camp in Western Kentucky when I was 10 years old. I never smoked, I never drank, I never did drugs, and I never really got into any serious trouble. I got into some stuff that I shouldn’t have but overall I was a pretty good Baptist kid. I never was very good in school but I squeaked through and made it to college where my relationship with Christ actually became real. At the age of 21 I truly fell in love with Christ. I got involved with several groups on campus that lit a fire in me for missions. I was ready to go out with the gospel of Jesus Christ and spread it across the campus but fear took a hold of me and I decided I just wasn’t willing to chance it.
After I graduated from college, I got married and shortly after we started to have children. After the birth of my first child, I decided that I was going to raise him to trust in God and that he would know that God is faithful. But it was the birth of our second child Chloe that really changed my heart for God. She was born with a terminal birth defect that allowed her only to live two hours. I had put my faith in God, that he would perform a miracle and heal her so that we could take her home with us. But he didn’t. God did not perform miracle that I asked him to perform and humanly speaking I probably had every right to turn away from God but I couldn’t. God allowed my heart to be broken so that He could bring me in closer to His heart and show me how much He truly loves me. Almost a year to the day of Chloe’s birth we found out that my wife was pregnant with my second son. Then 10 months after his birth we got to bring home a little girl. God was faithful. He took the pain of losing Chloe and brought abundant joy with two other children. But with all of this I still wasn’t ready to step out on faith and trust God fully.
At the age of 35, I hurt my back cutting wood and had to take off work for about six months. During that time, I had just enrolled in seminary for my second semester but had to drop out because I was not able to attend classes. So as I was lying in my bed I started reading and reading and reading. While I was reading I heard a small voice say “Quit your job and go and stand on the corner in Newport. I’ll tell you where to go from there.” As I started to tell people what I believe God had told me they looked at me like I was crazy and would say “How would you be able to survive financially?” I would tell them, “I am going to put my faith in God that he will take care of me and my family.” That got me even more puzzled look. But this time I felt like I was willing to chance it.
So last Thursday I walked into the office where I had worked for 10 years and told them that I was not coming back. I told them that I was going to answer what I believed to be a call from God to be a missionary in Newport Kentucky. They were sad to see me go but I felt like they supported my decision. I had finally come to the point that I am willing to put my love of God in front of my love for my family, my friends, and myself. Quitting my job was one of the toughest decisions I’ve have ever had to make because we were struggling financially when I had a job, I knew being unemployed could crush us. But I felt that if I went back to my job I would never take the opportunity that I felt God was showing me at this time.
As I was trying to decide if God was telling me to quit my job one of the stories in the Bible that I kept looking at was the story of Abraham and Isaac. I kept looking at Abraham’s faith in God to be willing to take his only son upon amount and sacrifice him. Abraham’s faith in God was so strong that he was going to go through with the sacrifice knowing that God would somehow be faithful with the promise that He made to Abraham. At times Abraham was unsure of God’s faithfulness (Gen.15:8) but followed through with what God told him to do.
Another story that I just couldn’t get out of my head was that of Noah. God told Noah to go out into the desert and build a huge boat. Noah was told to gather two of every type of animal and bring them on board as well as enough food to feed his family and the animals for some time. Noah was faithful in following God’s calling even when those around Noah questioned his logic and sanity. But because of Noah’s willingness to step out God was faithful.
I understand people’s fear, my family’s fear that I’m making the wrong choice. Not that they don’t want me to follow God, but they question if God would really call me to such a radical step. And frankly I question myself. Was it really God who spoke to me or was it something I convinced myself of because it would be exciting and I would be able to leave my job where I was at times unhappy. I realized that I could fall on my face and look like a complete fool and on top of that put my family into the poor house. But I’m just so tired of putting myself before my God. I have been going down to Newport for the last two weeks, completely out of my comfort zone. When it comes to meeting strangers I am extremely socially awkward. I let some kind of fear psyche me out of getting to know people, but I’m willing to put that aside to follow God. In the last two weeks I have prayed WITH more strangers than I have in the 25+ years that I have been a Christian.
So is God faithful? ABSOLUTELY! Does that mean that my stepping out on faith will work for me? No! I found out with Chloe that God doesn’t answer all of our prayers the way that we want, but I also found with the birth of our next two children that He is still faithful. God never promised us an easy life but he does promise us that if we sacrifice ourselves, He will be faithful to carry out His will.
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith. Genesis 16:5