All week I’ve been providing some insight [I hope] into the question, which way shall I go? It is not only a question of direction, but more importantly direction in the middle of desperation and loss.
It is fitting today, Christmas day, that I talk about my faith. Of all things, my faith pulled me through. Specifically, my faith in Jesus Christ, that Babe in the manger, that One who came to save us, live for us, die for us and redeem us.
In my most desperate times it is Jesus who comforts me, ministers to me, gives me grace, understanding, and loves me. This is not some fairy tale, some Disney story played out to capture our wildest imagination. This is a real story, in real time, played out in real life and experienced in the lives of those who love Him.
How does this Jesus give me strength in the toughest times? How does He come through for me and answer this question: which way shall I go?
Here’s how it works: I have a problem or a need. I pray and “poof!” I get what I prayed for!
THAT is a fantasy and fairy tale story.
Although sometimes God works that way, He rarely works that way. More than likely, you ask for direction and have a need and pray for it, and it may take months, even years before He answers it in a way that you recognize it. He may even be providing for you right now and you can’t see it.
Back to my story. In the midst of losing everything I was praying for direction. After two years of seeing everything being taken from me, I found a position with a wonderful company 2000 miles away from the people we loved the most: our children and grandchildren.
During that time, God used me to impact thousands of people in a profound way. I love this company, and I loved the way God was using me to help managers become leaders. And yet, in the midst of it all, we were lonely and longed to be with our children. While we were there, we were also praying for a way back.
Five years ago, I recorded this in my journal: “It does not seem God will allow us to go back to Southern California.” I went on in my lament, but I will spare you the drama.
But through a series of things, I had not seen or planned for, right now, we live within ten minutes of our youngest son, and 15 minutes within most of the rest and only about an hour from another! What God has done in this year, 2020, amidst of a pandemic, with very little money, is nothing short of amazing. I won’t call it a miracle, but I can see how God has been at work.
God brought us home in a way I never expected and never imagined.
You see, Jesus was long ago prophesied as the Immanuel, meaning God with us. When I say my faith got me through, what I really mean is that Jesus got me through, because through it all He was “with me.”
When I was losing everything, He was with me. When I was filled with doubt and anxiety, He was with me. When I was searching for direction, He was with me. When I traveled 2000 miles away from the people I loved, He was with me. And, as He led us back, He is with me. Jesus, Immanuel, was with me and in the midst of it all I knew it, felt it, and believed it.
I hope you know Him too, because if you do, He, Immanuel, is with you!