Points to Ponder: Trust Him to Take Care of the Other End
Points to Ponder
Trust Him to Take Care of the Other End
After years of prayers and consultation with godly mentors and friends, it became clear to me that I was being called by the Lord to leave my former denomination. Where I was to go was a second question. I did not want to presume on God that going to a small independent start-up church in western Maryland was a given. That too required prayer and consultation. The testimonials I could cite about all the signs and affirmations the Lord sent would overwhelm the limitations of this space.
Knowing we would leave in mid-summer, we sat down with our oldest daughter, Elizabeth (then eight years old), to tell her we would be moving. The shock of the actual reality of leaving our Laurel home and church would come later; but at that moment in early spring, she was calm and accepting of it. She asked excitedly if we could live near the ocean. Could we also live near the mountains? And, could we have a house next to a farm? Knowing Maryland geography and that the mountains and the ocean are over 130 miles apart, that was a tall order. But at least she had a vision and it was positive.
The hunt for a house was tough. The clock was ticking. I had not formally told the congregation. The bishop graciously had given me till the end of the year to determine where I was going and when I would resign to do it. It was April, the Lord impressed upon me that June 30 had to be the last day. The housing bubble had not burst yet; everything was too high for our budget. No one accepted our offer on the houses we thought might be right.
Finally, it came during my devotions one morning: "Until you jump, I will not take care of the other end." The Lord was demanding that I let go of the safety net and jump into the call. It's irrational to leave a sure thing and set a date without having a place to live. But, I knew I had to stop playing it safe, waiting for all the ducks to line up in a row. (I fail to see the reasoning behind lining up ducks in a row.) So, on May 6, I would "jump," telling the congregation we had grown to love and uprooting our girls from all that was familiar.
At 2am that morning I awoke, suddenly overwhelmed with fear. At the end of that morning, I will have put my family on a road from which we could not turn back. With no housing options before us, we would have little more than six weeks. Now I really had to trust God. Later that day, after coming home from an emotional morning at church, we had a call from Clear Spring. A house was available. Members of Hilltop (our new church as of July 1) had scouted it out and deemed it to be wonderful.
But, our formerly calm eight-year-old daughter found the move traumatizing. Getting her through the first months of grieving was especially tough. But I recalled our earlier conversation in the spring in which she listed what she wanted in our new home: near the mountains, near the ocean, next to a farm. I pointed out to her when we toured the dining room of this beautiful home what her specifications were for a new home: near the mountains, near the ocean, next to a farm.
Out the back window, we can see Fairview Mountain. Our land has well-fertilized grass and trees because it used to be pasture for what had been a dairy farm. And on the dining room wall was a full-size mural of an ocean view.
When Elizabeth was having a particularly tough day of missing our former home and complaining about the new one, I reminded her that this is what she had wanted. Sometime later, when a playmate came over for the first time, I overheard her proudly tell the story of how she had been the source of the affirming sign we had sought. Yet actually, I believe the Lord put it on her heart, knowing that on "the other end", this would be the place. It is more than Marcella and I could have ever hoped for in a dream home. And every night we give thanks to God for His provision.
The sellers had always wanted to live near the ocean. As they pondered and dreamed of that, we were pondering and praying about whether to move ourselves. And while there was a delay in the long-sought-for answer, we faithfully gave our all, to bloom where we were planted until God said otherwise. As the psalmist says,
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.