I feel like I've been on hiatus in recent weeks, perhaps even months. I wonder if this is what television actors experience when their shows break for the summer...possibly, but likely with more money involved.
Sidenote: Why do I always think about money?
Hiatus, a gap or interruption in space/time, a break. Is it possible for a break to not feel like one? That is, can you experience a "hiatus" while being worked on? I think so and I think that is exactly what this past year has been about. While the so called break hasn't lasted that long and it hasn't been much of a "break" indeed, there is a sense of renewal that comes from recollection on the journeys of these last 12, perhaps even more, months. This time a year ago we were in Calgary preparing to load up a trailer with our belongings and head west to this coastal region. Still three months left on my "contract" with Ambrose, a month of hectic schooling, and a whole lot of uncertainty to come, I was hopeful for what was ahead.
Of course we all know that hindsight offers much more perspective than foresight and had I known what was to come I may have attempted to approach things differently. But, if hindsight has anything else to offer then in this case it certainly screams at me that timing is everything. Interesting how God tends to manoeuvre in such ways, isn't it? Here I am, 11 months after moving, 10 months after the first summer session of school (with the next at my doorstep), 9 months after finishing work, and perhaps 5 months after I had given up hope (don't worry, hope is not lost). Timing is everything.
Without God's timing and by going my way, I may well have landed a job that was consistent with my interests at the time, it may have even paid well and continued the pursuit of comfort and stability. It may have been the case that I found a niche in the area I have pursued without any substantial reasoning and done quite well. This is all subjective and circumstantial of course because it has not happened this way, but bear with me, timing is everything.
Had everything gone my way from the start, we may have been further along with certain goals and aspirations BUT we would have missed many lessons in humility. Faith would have remained circumstantial, relationship would have been superficial, call would have been suppressed, God would have sat on the mantel, I would have suffered and by proxy so would my wife undeservedly. Had I been able to control the outcome, I would have seen to it (albeit unintentionally) that life would become my masterpiece, fixing the deck to be stacked in my favour with little interest in the things that truly matter. Pursuit had consumed me. That is to say, my concern became more for comfort and well-being than for Gospel and Truth. Not that the desires I had were inherently bad, it was mainly to provide for potential family, look after my wife and see that she is able to enjoy life, be able to contribute and live up to what I had projected to be my responsibility as a man and husband. These desires were not bad or wrong in themselves, but without focus on life in Christ, misaligned. Timing is everything.
Only now am I able to look back at the progression of the last year and a half to see how God has been pulling me back into His alignment. 12 months ago I would not have considered a church ministry position for vocation again. When asked by many I would answer: "I'm not against it, though it would have to be the right circumstance". All the while I would be thinking: "There is no possible circumstance that would take me down that road." Funny how wrong we can be sometimes in our responses to things we think we control, even if only as an illusion.
Without God's timing and His hand in all of this I wouldn't have come across a job posting for a pastoral position that would be exactly what I had long desired to see in the church. I wouldn't have sent my resume because I had felt some strange draw to do so. I wouldn't have willingly sat down to explore the questionnaire requested by the search committee and struggled through my experience and position on issues. I would not have entered an interview with said committee and been completely vulnerable as one a little sheepish to enter pastoral ministry again, but earnestly seeking God's direction. I wouldn't have been able to endure the preparatory process that to some seems excruciatingly long but to me just seems right. I wouldn't have found favour with the board of elders or been so comfortable in that space. And without God's timing I wouldn't be sitting here now eagerly anticipating the next stage in the process, to meet the rest of the congregation and leaders and speak my heart and what I believe to be God's heart into the position for which I am applying.
You see, timing is everything, especially when we have become distracted by the concerns of our culture to succeed in our own way. Ironic how God will bring us full circle, however, to provide something that is exactly what we were searching for in the first place, only after bringing us back in alignment with Him instead of perpendicular to Him. It is not all finished yet, there is still process. But I walk ahead looking up, waaaaaay up (Friendly Giant anyone?), expecting only that God will prevail in this situation and in our lives where He rightly belongs. With humility accepting the direction He is taking us and with anticipation that this pastoral position will hopefully work out. Not taking hold of it as my own, but accepting the call and walking in grace and humility to serve in such a way.
There is definitely a story to be told out of all of this and you are only getting a brief glimpse into the goodness that God has been orchestrating. This weekend I spoke at our current church on Christ as Saviour, indeed it is a personal story but much greater than that. Not only does he save us from eternity in absence but he saves us from our own paths of destruction here and now, if we are willing to let him. Timing is everything, don't think for a moment that you control it.