– ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’
Well, another year has come and gone, and I hope that I am a bit wiser for the last 365 days of spinning around the sun. I know there are several people who would probably like to weigh in on that one, but they will have to do so in the comments below, and since that seems to be a fairly untrodden patch of dirt, I feel pretty safe.
I have been trying to think of something witty to say for my 42nd birthday blog. What type of topic would best fit such a year of significance? Douglas Adams gave us the number 42 as the answer to everything, but as he said, if we don’t know exactly what the question is, 42 just falls kind flat. So, that makes me ask, what has been the big question of my last 12 months?
“What happens next?”
Yep. That has probably been the biggest question of the last year. It has led us down roads that felt ominous, filled with worry and concern. What is Tammi’s job going to be like? What is my job going to be like? What does school look like for the kids next year? What is my Men’s Group going to look like? What should I do about teaching? What should I be thinking about my future ministry opportunities?
Well, Tammi’s job smoothed out and things are going well. I’ve seen a lot of change in my role at work and things have been getting steadily better there. We are seeing the college situation for BOTH kids coming into focus. I think the Men’s Group is in a state of change, but may very well be on the cusp of something amazing. Teaching is still in the air, but future ministry opportunities are looking more and more interesting, even if they are on a slight pause at this time.
Monday I was reading in Joshua 1. Joshua has just taken up the mantle of leadership for the nation of Israel, and is standing at the border of the Promised Land. Moses is dead, and he is looking around at all these people who are looking at him expectantly. I imagine the thought, “What happens next?” went through his mind.
I like to wonder if God saw these doubts in Joshua’s mind. It makes sense that He did since He immediately came to Him to have a chat:
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. – Joshua 1:5-6
Imagine that. God Himself speaking to you and saying, “No man can beat you for the rest of your life. I am with you. Always. Get ready to be strong and show courage because I am going to use you to fulfill MY promise to these people!” Got any goosebumps yet? I do! God goes on to tell Joshua two more times to be strong and courageous; reinforcing His promise to Joshua and the people of Israel.
I would think that after that, Joshua had to be feeling a bit better. He had been reassured by God and had been given a promise of protection and victory! The next step was to address the people. He told them to prepare for battle. He reminded them of promises made by God to them, and of promises made by the people to God. Things are looking pretty good, and then the people answer him:
And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” – Joshua 1:16-18
What a coincidence! These people, who I do not believe heard God talking to Joshua, tell him the exact same thing that God did! Why it almost makes you think that God might have used them to reinforce what He had just told Joshua! That would probably be because that is exactly what He did! God used this interaction with the men that he led to speak truth into Joshua at a time and in a place that he would know God was at work.
I have had a lot of these moments over the past year. “Coincidences” that just seem to come out of nowhere as someone tells me something “out of the blue” that I had just read that morning in the Bible. I have had people walk up and make offers to do things that were direct answers to prayers that I had just prayed about that morning! Some people would call it coincidence, luck, karma… I call it God, and when it happens I find myself asking an old question in a new way – with expectancy!
“What happens next?”
I don’t know. I am on the cusp of a new year. I have never been closer to God than I am right now. My relationship with my wife and kids is better than ever. God has brought four men into my life that are the closest friends I have ever had. They speak truth into me and are often telling me in their own ways to be strong and courageous. I am looking at the future of what God is going to do with my life in regards to ministry, and I see His hand has been moving me toward a change for some time. Now I see it just over the horizon as I look at the opportunity to join in the work at Starwood Ranch and Overboard Ministries.
What happens next? I don’t really know, but I know that the Relentless Life I have been pursuing in my relationship with God has brought me here. It is taking me into new territories where I will need to trust Him not only for wisdom and strength, but for the courage to go the distance with Him.
This is going to be a big year for me. I’m going after it with my God, my family, and my friends. I’ll let you know what happened in 365 days!