Let’s be honest, life has a way of throwing us the occasional curve ball. Who am I kidding? Some seasons dealing with the unexpected become the normal routine.
I must confess that in those moments, I have little appreciation for God’s long-term purposes, often because they seem like major disruptions to my plans. However, I’ll admit the tougher moments in life tend to be the richest and most formative in hindsight, even if they come with tears.
Part of my story is that I had no intentions of moving to Cleveland. Honestly, I lived in Southwestern Ohio my whole life and hadn’t bothered to visit Cleveland. It was never on my radar and because of that, God is the only reason why I call Cleveland home.
After college graduation, my father networked a job lead for me in Cleveland. I called to be polite but wasn’t really interested because I studied digital media and my aspirations didn’t land me in a church full time. At least that’s what I thought.
In the midst of disappointment and through a growing stack of rejection letters, God opened my heart to unexpected opportunities. I began to hold loosely to what I thought the future should look like. With time and prayer, I was ready to explore almost any full time job possibility.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose”
Romans 8:28, ESV
It’s in that place I clung to God’s truth that He does have good things for those He calls according to His purposes.
As God would have it, that Cleveland job lead popped back up 4 months later. This led to a series of phone interviews and lots of prayer discerning if this is what God had in mind for the next two years. Ultimately, God’s peace and calling revealed to me I should go and I moved to Cleveland in January of 2006.
It’s funny how a two year commitment would turn into eight years in Cleveland. How my desire for job experience would morph into a calling, and then land me in full time ministry.
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God”
Romans 8:26-27, ESV
Ultimately, I love that God knows. He knows my heart. He knows my anxiety. He knows my needs and He knows my future. He also knows how quickly I lose sight of those truths, especially in the midst of disappointment, even when we’re not sure what we hope the future holds.
Thank God, His plans were so much better than what I envisioned. Mostly because when I make plans, I’d never think to plan a disappointment or grievous life-altering event. Still, those are the things that change us and hopefully leave us asking God, what now?