A HARD PILL TO SWALLOW! I sat at the conference table deep in thought remembering the words, “You are an average pilot so we would like you to pursue being a mechanic after more training.” These words suddenly closed the door on y long-expected plan. I knew God directed my life, but felt disappointment and utter confusion, knowing God pointed me towards this from long ago.
From age thirteen I felt God directed my heart and life toward becoming a missionary pilot. Not until my father retired from the military to follow God’s call into missions was I aware of the vast need for the Gospel all over the world. My privilege as a staff kid at the Bible School in Wisconsin for New Tribes Missions surrounded me with Christians who worked in all parts of the world. I felt God tugging my heart toward missions as a pilot and for the next many years I trained to pursue this calling: flight trianing (2yrs); Bible School (2yrs); aircraft maintenance training (2yrs); and more intense flight training (5yrs). Finally the day came to complete the last hurdle for New Tribes Mission Aviation – the evaluation.
As I sat at the conference table after hearing those door-closing words, I immediately asked God, Now what?
I’m sad to say I struggled greatly with that transitional time. I couldn’t see the next step and I didn’t like it. The truth became clear: I am a control freak. I seek a certain amount of control in my life. I carry a Leatherman to have the tool I need in the moment. I clip flashlight to my pocket so I never meet darkness unprepared. I even choose waterproof boots/shoes so I can go anyplace and be ready. Suddenly I found myself trained and ready but at a complete halt. I remember being a lousy husband and father during the first few days as I internally argued with God, questioned the events that took place and scrutinized my performance.
I never doubted God, and His goodness, not once. I did however, fail to TRUST Him. I wanted the answer, the “flight plan,” complete with all the details and ,most importantly, the end result. I had to answer to people back home, our supporters, but I felt empty handed.
Alone at my dining room table early one morning before the family stirred, I talked with God, still asking what/when/how, but in a much less anxious state. I knew God controlled my future and I knew He always glorified Himself through it all. That much I clung to as truth. God spoke to me that morning and gave me an answer but I needed time to fully understand it.
He showed me the story of Joseph, how his future looked bright until one day everything turned upside down. Although betrayed, imprisoned in a foreign land, and accused but innocent Joseph never sat in the corner a sob story. In fact, Joseph trusted God so much in the midst of the overwhelming unknown that he gave a stellar performance. As a prisoner he became overseer of the prisoners and later, second-in-command of all Egypt. God showed me how faithful Joseph was to just DO and leave the results with Him. Joseph gave his all for his God regardless of the circumstances and trusted His faithful Creator with the outcome. God wanted this from me.
Time was crucial in this learning process. It allowed my wife and me to stop moving and ponder what God gave as our core burden. We asked God to clearly help us evaluate His calling in our lives. What a refreshing time filled with a lot of prayer and intent listening! After some Godly council, we gained a refined vision for the new path ahead. Soon after, God clearly pointed us to Arctic Barnabas Ministries as our new destination and place of service.
Now I get excited when I hear of people’s situations not going as planned. I get to remember what God did for us when I thought I could not take any more changes. Other people’s roadblocks give me an opportunity to share my story, and to encourage them to keep trusting God even though they can’t see the road ahead.
I now look at scriptures like Psalm 37:3-9 in a new light.
Trust in the Lord, and do good: so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light , and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prosperity in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth
For King & Kingdom,