I don’t remember being picked first for anything.
I might’ve been, once or twice back there. I just don’t remember it. I was pretty much in the “Mm. You’ll do” category. Natch, there’s a lot more to the back story of my life just as with yours. You’ll have to wait for a book or two to come out before getting all that. My biggest issue back there? Biggest fear?
Insignificance. Rejection. Seemed as though anybody I liked and wanted to be around left. So, yeah. Abandonment, too. Nobody likes that. Nobody likes being taken for granted, ignored for whatever or whoever’s behind Door #2.
Had anyone knowing me then been asked to describe me in a word?
They’d have been right. Even introverts get tired of being repeatedly hurt. Like most people, I have talent and abilities. I just kept ’em in a large cooler under the Ding-Dongs and Twinkies. When my plans to fund college fell through, I went to plan B. Then C. Career paths crisscrossed, both military and civilian employers found me a hard worker and solid friend. The one career I expected to make my life’s work – air traffic control – turned out to be a means God was using to get me to where I now am.
Washing out of the FAA academy socked me in the gut.
“God calling. . .” What? I’m not Abraham! Me? A pastor? I’m 30 and have a family now. Isn’t this all a skosh backwards? I knew my decent pay would shut off as suddenly as turning off the outside water faucet. I’d been around the Church all my life. Seen and heard way too much to retain illusions about what was ahead. I’d always respected my father-in-law, himself having left a lucrative career to be a pastor later in life. Guess what he told me?
“If you can do anything else and get to Heaven, don’t preach.”
Dad knew what he was talking about. I won awards while in school and doing grad work, but old, protective habits are hard to break. I did my best to serve God and love people. But part of me was always held in reserve–like Life half holding its breath. Everywhere I was asked to consider pastoring was a tough church with serious issues.
Again, I did my best, using what wisdom and intuitive discernment I had. I worked my guts out to try to make things better.
Were they? Heaven’s the only place that keeps accurate records like that. I never felt adequate and always moved on to the next pastoral charge feeling there was more that could have been done. After 13 years of that, my ingrown personality finally took a hit. My body, mind and spirit began occasional sit-down strikes. It was obvious something was about to break.
It did. Almost died 3 times. Body traumatized with a big ‘T’; mind mugged with repeated doubts; spirit feeling like it had been run over with one of those big Green tractors pulling a sharp, shiny plow. Hm. Whatever it was God put me here to be and do must be over. Don’t see much to show for it all. At least the kids are grown enough and Brenda’s got the means to take care of herself. I’m sorry, Daddy. . .
So imagine my surprise when God nodded in my direction and healed me. He did it in such a way that, to be precise, He keeps right on healing me every day. Medically speaking, I can’t live. Thankfully, God pays scant attention to Medicine and Science when He decides to work in and through people’s lives.
In other words, I’m an appreciative recipient of several more gunny sacks full of God’s grace and blessing than I had any reason to expect. I wasn’t a standout at anything–not so’s you’d notice. Not the brightest nor best. Not popular. Kind of a backward, country kid from the tumble- and puncture weed-strewn area of eastern Oregon pretty much ready to be any place else but there.
A common guy God’s given the ability to write uncommonly well.
This is to encourage you. Yeah–you, friend. You’re feeling doubt creeping in where faith ought to be. You’re looking around you, wondering why it seems everyone else is getting breaks where all you get are more bumps and bruises.
I can’t tell you what’s ahead, any more than I knew the journey God was putting together for me. But I can tell you He’s different than the Adversary wants you to think.
God never has and never will abandon you. The times you’re feeling so incredibly alone? Those are the times He’s been right behind you, standing ready to intervene the minute things start to get out of hand.
“How do you know that?”
I’ve felt Him there. Every time. I’ve heard His quiet rumble in my ear, “Keep going, Dan. Don’t stop. Use everything I’ve been showing you about yourself and about Me to make the best choices. Keep going, Son–I’ll see that you make it!”
Simple? Nope. Walking with God is not, nor has it ever been for weenies. That takes real men and women who choose to live in and by faith especially when they see so little happening. Remember what Jesus told the guys?
Blessed are those who never see, but believe anyway.
Your journey is not for the guy next to you. Not for the woman with the loaded cart in checkout #4. Not for the wiseacre kid with the hot orange backpack who looked at you funny because your ringtone was playing, “Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord”.
“Yeah? Well, I wish it was. I could use some relief!”
No. They couldn’t handle your journey. They’d cave in a few hours’ time. But you don’t want theirs, either.
No. The path before you is yours. God’s aware of it. He knows your heart and understands what you’re feeling. And there’s one thing I’m constantly finding that’s true. . .
It’s right when things seem completely gee-hawed–IM. POSS. I. BULL–that God steps in and does things in ways that are unmistakably Him.
Count on that. And you keep going.
© D. Dean Boone, July 2014