Quick note before today’s post: Tonight is our Farewell Party at the Rongo in Trumansburg from 5 pm to 8 pm. I hope you’ll consider stopping in to say “goodbye!”
My philosophy on God’s will is pretty simple…if you think/sense/feel (whatever word you use) God is calling/leading/directing you to do something…do it. The only caveat being if it is immoral, or clearly unbiblical. (in general, I’d add illegal to that list, but at the same time recognize that God will have us violate unjust laws…think underground church in China. I also think that if we’re going to violate laws in following Jesus, we need to realize there very likely will be consequences.)
But when it impacts others…
it makes sense to confirm it first.
This week a friend gave me a large check because he thought God wanted him to. He talked to his wife, she said it sounds like God, so they did it. As the recipient of their gift, it seemed like God to me, but could they have been wrong? Maybe it wasn’t God. What then? We know that God clearly loves and blesses generosity…and when we respond simply because it seems like God, I believe He always honors that…even when we miss Him. There is only upside to following through in something like this…but we risk being disobedient if we don’t.
There are certain things God instructs us to do, that we can simply act on right then and their. In the example of my friend above, since he sensed God leading him to make a financial sacrifice, talking to the other person who would be impacted by this decision (his wife) makes perfect sense. At the same time, if he walked by a homeless person, sensed God wanted him to buy them lunch…he likely would have done that without checking, as it would not impact the family budget all that much. Make sense?
I first sensed God calling us to move there in August of 2010. And here we are 23 months later only now heading over…why didn’t we go two years ago? Think about who this impacts:
- Liz and I had 3 kids at that point in middle school and high school. Moving them to another country…was, and is, a major, life-altering change for them.
- The Ithaca Vineyard would lose their lead pastor and their worship pastor.
We recognize that some of our friends and family are to varying degrees impacted by our decision to follow Jesus to Ireland, but for our family and our church, this would impact every aspect of life…on a day in, day out basis.
So when I sensed this is God, my first inclination was to get over there as quickly as possible. But that is when I prayed something I’ve never prayed before.
“God, if you really want us to go, you need to speak to my kids. I can’t do this to them unless they are convinced it is you.”
Then I told my girls, take 6 months, if you sense this is not God, we won’t go. It felt a bit scary, but also right to let them have this type of input.
The next group we talked with was our church council. In reflecting on Acts 13, I went to each of them and asked them to pray and fast for a month about whether or not we should go. And I told them if you come back and say, “this clearly isn’t God,” we won’t go. But, if you sense that it is…I don’t know what other choice we have.
My kids would prefer to stay in Trumansburg/Ithaca…but they believe God is calling us to Dublin.
Our church for the past 13 years would have liked us to stay and continue leading, but they believe God has something new in store for us, and for them.
It was hard…
There were times in the process, where I wanted to scream…I believe this is God, and yet, I’m at the mercy of other people. It was difficult. Yet in coming through it, I’m more convinced it is God, because He has not only spoken to me about Dublin, but to Liz, to my kids, and to my friends and leaders at the Vineyard!
At the same time, we’re making the transition in a way that seems to be as healthy as we could have made it, because got buy in from those it was impacting.
So, when you sense God leading in a certain direction…just do it…except when you should wait.
Love to hear any thoughts you have…any times when you think it should be handled differently?