Who Am I?  Part 14

In the last article that I wrote out part of our life journey, I ended on the point that people can and do treat us unfairly in life, but that we need to be able to move past the pain and be able to forgive those who hurt us.  (Read the story here.)  Having to leave the church was a very difficult experience.  And when it first happened, my immediate thought was “What do I do now?”

It is exactly at this point that our faith must be strong and we remind ourselves of some very basic, but important biblical truths.  It is best if we have already memorized Scripture verses so that we can pull them up in these difficult moments.  But even if we can’t quite remember or even know what the Bible promises are, we have many good tools like concordances or Bible software which can help us pull up meaningful and relevant verses that help us to face the difficult trials of life.

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For example, consider some of these Bible promises:

  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deut. 31:6  (I believe the promise God gave to Moses and the children of Israel would apply just as well today to God’s people, the church.)
  • “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matt. 28:20  (I believe Jesus’ last words to His disciples in this Gospel apply to us as believers today.)
  • “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”   Phil. 4:19  (Taken in context, Paul is telling the Philippians that with the same kind of generosity that they had shown, God would supply their basic needs in life.  So I believe by extension, that as we faithfully serve our God, He in turn will graciously supply our basic needs in life.
  • “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matt. 6:33  (And this confirms what I believe, that all our basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing, will be met by God.)
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So while I served out the last weeks of my time at the one church, Jill and I prayed that God would supply us with a clear direction and a job opportunity that I would be able to move into quickly.  And that is exactly what God did.  Through word-of-mouth, I heard of another church that was looking for a minister.  I had a weekend without responsibilities in the first church and so we were free to fly to the city of the other church where I preached on Sunday and met with the search committee.

It was only a matter of days before the second church called back and offered me the position of their Pastor.  And so Jill and I and 18 month old Eric were able to pack up and leave one city and know already where we would be living and working next.  We did take one month out to attend a month long mission orientation course to evaluate our readiness for the mission field, but they said we should stabilize our family, take care of our debt load, and work on some basic communication skills to strengthen our marriage.  That may be a story for another day.

Oh and Jill was pregnant again.  This was now the third pregnancy where we ended up on the road to a new location while Jill was pregnant.  We have lots of funny stories that start with, “We were pulling a U-haul trailer with all our stuff and Jill was pregnant, and then….”  It really is unbelievable all the places we have traveled to and set up a home and started life and ministry over again.

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The city we headed to this time was Portage La Praire, a small sized city to the west of Winnipeg.  God watched over us as we traveled across western Canada with our U-haul in the middle of winter.  We stayed in one woman’s home to house sit it, and it was during this month that Glen was born.  Jill gave birth to him on January 15th, 1991.  The nurses were on strike and the Gulf War had just started.  Not a very auspicious beginning to say the least.

Meanwhile, the small congregation worked to fix up the little apartment that they had constructed years earlier in place of the upper balcony of the church.  Our living cost of rent was covered then by the church, but even with the salary they offered we found that I would have to work a second job.  Later on, when Jill was able, she worked at a part-time home care job.

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You can probably picture that this was a very challenging time for us.  And what did we learn in this time?  One thing for sure we learned is that to be able to eat, you must work hard.  Paul suggests that there is a direct correlation between our “daily bread” and hard work (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13).  While working as a pastor, I also worked the night shift at a retail department store doing the restocking of shelves.

I didn’t mind the hard work.  And I didn’t mind too much the guys who like to poke fun at me.  Actually, I thought it a compliment when the guys would say, “Hey Rev., come over here.”  My Christian faith was evident to all, and sometimes that meant the dirtier jobs were given to me.  But it provided an income for my family.

And so the second important thing I reaffirmed was that God would make sure that our basic needs were always met.  Sure it was hard.  God has never promised us an easy life.  But by trusting in Him to direct us and supply us our daily bread, along with a willing spirit to work hard, we found that in the end, our family of four, tucked away in the church balcony, had all we needed, and that was enough.

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