Calling – When God says “no” and you do not

In the past year and a half we have heard “no” many times.  The “no” has come in many ways, but ultimately we have heard God’s voice coming through.  When I knew of the possibility of being laid off from my position at church I started filling out job applications.  I remember submitting the first one with both hope and a sense of incredulity that I could be living and serving somewhere else six months down the road.  Since that day there have been many potential futures that we have explored and to each one God has clearly said, “no.”  While there have been the traditional rejections in which I won’t make it to the first round of interviews, there have been opportunities that filled the horizon with a growing sense of certainty.  Yet in all these cases God clearly shut the door.  This was difficult on a variety of levels, but it also gave us a growing sense that when God said, “yes” it would be with similar clarity.

 Fast forward through a year and a half of “no” and we hear “yes” from Trinity in regards to the church planting fellowship.  We are given two weeks to pray it over while they check our references.  We are looking for this booming “YES” from the sky but the affirmation comes in smaller pieces that accumulate.  We were talking about this with the new pastor of our church and he he surprised us in his response.  He said, “it’s not so much that you’re saying, ‘Yes’ to this church planting fellowship, but that you’re not saying “No.”  Hillary and I stopped, looked at him, and then paused to put the statement together.  He went on to explain that so many guys, himself included, had considered church planting and said, “no.”  “For a variety of reasons, most pastors do not feel called to start a new church.  So that fact you are willing to seriously consider this venture is significant.”  I had never thought of calling in this light.  Just by the fact that we weren’t turning from this path at the outset but were intrigued, was an indication that God was at already work, moving behind the scenes.  Again, this was not the booming voice we had hoped to hear but another indication of God’s leading.

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