It has nearly been a year since our family packed up our belongings and moved to Tennessee. I admit now that we had no clue what we were in for. We have had everything we “needed” but only by faith.
If you have been a consistent follower of the blog, you know that things did not go how I would have planned them. There have been many times that I have questioned if we were actually following God or if we had just lost our minds. I can also relate to the Israelites and their desire to return to Egypt when things got tough. As a result, I poured myself into bible study and saw things in it’s pages that I had never seen before. Things like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David and the disciples struggling when they were instructed to do things that did not make sense. I saw that when God instructs people to do things, they do them because God instructed them to, not because it made sense. I also discovered that I had an American Christian relationship with God, not the Biblically authentic relationship that I had always claimed to have.
Our adventure has shaken our family and friends to the core. The vast majority have been overwhelmingly supportive (mostly in a “glad God called you to that” kind of way). A few have said we are silly because there is no God and a few others have added to the voice in my head that says “there is a God, but you have not heard from him”.
So, you might be asking why we have not listened to the negative voices, packed it in and decide to chalk the entire adventure up to experience. One simple answer: we are still confident that God directed us to move to Tennessee and we are not willing to give up on Him. This is not just my feeling, it is a feeling that is honestly shared by the entire family. Several times a week Jenny and I ask the kids if they are done with the adventure (sometimes secretly hoping they say yes, so I have an excuse to quit…) and want to go back to our old life. The resounding answer is always, to stay. I believe there are two reasons for this. 1.) God’s peace is with us to stay in Tennessee. 2.) Our family is doing better than ever. We have never been closer to each other or God and the children are thriving socially and educationally. Most importantly, we have gained true love, joy, peace and patience.
Besides a family of 6 surviving for one year without income, there have been many amazing “coincidences” that have kept us encouraged. For example, I felt the need to search for a specific quote on the internet, back in November, and when I searched for it the first site that I came across was Kevin Shorter’s blog (prayer-coach.com/2012/08/01/update-on-my-stepping-out-in-faith). The blog detailed how Kevin felt that God directed him to quit his job and not look for replacement income, but simply trust God to supply. I reached out to Kevin, via email, and discovered that he and his family are now in China, starting a program to keep young Chinese girls out of the sex trade (www.josiahscovenant.com). He believes that if he had not listened to God, when he was instructed to quit his job, etc that he would not be fulfilling his God given purpose today. Through Kevin Shorter, I met Kevin Adams, the author of “The Extravagant Fool”. In another strange “coincidence”, he also felt the need to trust God in an unconventional way and has written a book detailing that process (www.extravagantfool.com).
Kevin Adams just happens to live 15 minutes away from me and he and I met for lunch last week. The lunch began with little formal introductions. It was as if he and I were old friends and had been attending the same school and studying the same text books. When we began to compare notes, it was immediately evident that we were on the same page. We have been inspired by the same passages of scripture, the same extra biblical heroes of faith (George Müeller) and the same still small voice that says trust me with everything and see the power of God. In short, we share the thought that the Christian life, as exemplified in the Bible, is the complete opposite of logic and that God has called us to exemplify that in our lives. I am not sure what God has next for us, but my family and I have never been more excited to continue our adventure.
When we began this journey, I promised myself I would no longer be God’s public relations man (see post “No more PR”). That is why I record these events just as they occur. So far, a skeptic could say that there are all kinds of really nice people in the world and we were fortunate to find a family that allowed us to live with them. You could say the same thing about the coincidences of me finding a person in China who heard the same message from God as I did and then have him introduce me to yet another man with similar experiences that lives near me.
Our family chooses to look at these things as God’s hand in action, but we are not satisfied with that. We will not rest until we have seen the undeniable hand of God in action. Power that can not simply be written off as coincidence and is not reserved for a special church service or conference, but is active in our lives every day. We will continue to pursue the power that Jesus promised his disciples and we believe we will see greater things.