The last several years have been a challenge. I will not go into great detail about the struggles because I want to focus on my response, but a brief summary is necessary. When I was sixteen I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Later in my sixteenth year I decided to work in ministry, and so after college I went to seminary. I then pursued a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at the same school. During my Ph.D. I began looking for work in ministry, but I never found a job. A few years later I moved back to Georgia to help a church plant (as a teacher, not on staff). I later moved again due to financial difficulties, and the church plant eventually folded after the lead pastor died. I now work at a warehouse.
It does not take much imagination to understand how spending years preparing for a career and then finding no job in that field would be difficult. I sometimes wondered if those years were wasted, and sometimes I felt like I was going through life with no purpose and accomplishing nothing.
I have had to learn that God is in control even when I do not see it. I have had to remind myself that God has me where I am for a reason, even if I do not know what it is. Of course, this is more easily said than done, but that is part of the learning process – trusting God when I cannot see any resolution.
What is God’s purpose for me? I do not know yet. Maybe part of it is people that I have influenced along the way with or without realizing it, whether it is through relationships at church, or at work, or other friends. Maybe through my occasional teaching opportunities at church. Maybe through writing (I have a theological blog here). For now I can only be faithful in how I live and how I use the opportunities that I have now.
During this time two quotes have been prominent in my mind. The first is from Michael Card’s song “That’s What Faith Must Be”:
To hear with my heart
To see with my soul
To be guided by a hand I cannot hold
To trust in a way that I cannot see
That’s what faith must be
This emphasizes walking by faith and not by sight, trusting God when we cannot see what He is doing and trusting that He knows what He is doing.
The second quote comes from the movie Woodlawn. The sports chaplain Hank tells Tony how he lost half of his foot in an accident and with it lost his dreams of playing professional baseball. He says, “I think that sometimes before you can have new dreams in this life the old ones have to be taken away from you.” Is that what I now face? I do not know. If it is, then was I wrong to think that God was leading me into ministry? No. Maybe I was just wrong about the types of ministry I considered.
Whatever the explanation is, I remind myself to continue trusting in God’s sovereignty and to continue doing what I can along the way.