Life is good when you have it all figured out, and I did. I understood God and His desires both for myself and for others. I understood the Bible and the intricate method that God expected everyone to go through in order to interpret it properly. While I would occasionally feel an uneasiness about some of my conclusions, I dismissed that uneasiness as Satan's effort to draw me away from the Truth which I possessed. So I didn't doubt or question, and I saw no need to do so since doubting the truth was irrational.
But then my "truth" started falling in on me. I started to realize the validity of viewpoints that differed from what I considered to be "truth." I met people who disagreed with my understanding of "truth" who were not dishonest. In fact, they were just as honest, studious, faithful, and devout as was I, if not more so. Eventually, my study and meditation led me away from the "truth" that I formerly held to. This caused me to wonder, "Have I become irrational or, worse yet, heretical?" On top of all that, I began seeing failures of character in those who were supposed to be my spiritual mentors, guides, and shepherds.
Before long, a monumental storm had arisen in my life of faith. The safety that I formerly felt in previous storms was no longer there. My faith, while ever present, was being tossed about by the wind and waves around me.
I now realize that He created that storm as a way to make my need for his increasing presence known. In times past, He whispered and I often ignored. He nudged and I resisted. So He sent a storm. He sent a storm in order to bring a previously unknown calm. In the midst of the storm, I looked up and out to see his calm, confident presence walking towards me. He invited me to leave my vessel of perceived safety, as it was also doomed to destruction in the storm. Having been brought to a point of desperation, I took a step towards him.
In taking that step, discovered that He wanted me to have an opportunity to re-examine my theology. He wanted me to minister with a congregation of grace-centered, unity-motivated Christians. He wanted me to minister with my long-time friend, supporter, and brother. I had plans for myself, but in the storm, He made it clear that He had other plans for me.
In looking to and following Him, the storm around me was no longer threatening. He wanted us to step back and get a broader view of His world than was possible in the over-protective, stifling little fish bowl that had been our home for most of our lives, so He took us out of that fish-bowl. He wanted to remove the self-doubt and heal the wounds that had been suffered in the storm, so He provided us a family that loved, accepted, and affirmed us from the beginning. He wanted us to re-examine our theology, thereby re-discovering grace and freedom, so he placed us in a family that gave us room to grow. He wanted me to see a different side of the world, the side most in need of seeing God's grace extended, so he put me to work with underprivileged and disadvantaged kids in Austin and Central Texas.
Having given us a chance to see Him and His world more broadly and accurately, He called us back into ministry by opening two doors almost simultaneously. One position would enable us to reclaim our autonomy as a family. The other would enable us to reclaim our autonomy autonomy in faith.
So here we stand, doing our best to simply follow His lead. He has brought us to a new family at the Pond Springs church, reuniting us with our friends who have traveled with us on our faith's journey for many years. He has put us in a community of people who is truly like-minded in their pursuit of unity and in their enjoyment of the freedom that Christ offers.
This Sunday we officially become a part of the Pond Springs family. In many ways, we feel like we have already been adopted. Their support extends all the way back to our difficulties in San Marcos. At that time one of their shepherds, motivated by his pastoral heart, called to offer support and prayers to a young minister that he hardly knew, an offer that I had never received from my own elders. How blessed we are to have found such a unique and special group of Christ-followers to grow with!
God sent a storm and it brought us a family! Only in Him ...