Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Hope it's Closer to the Ocean

As Laura and I were praying about the possibility of moving to Lititz and following Dr. Young as the Senior Pastor here at Grace Church, we had one concern that far exceeded all others. It was our daughter. Joy was in 8th grade and as a Junior High girl, her life was perfect. She loved her friends, her school, her youth group, and her church. In fact, she would often say to me that her greatest fear was that God would call me somehwere else and we would have to move. One of my personal fears as a pastor is that one of my kids will become bitter towards God and/or the church because their dad was in ministry.

Laura and I prayed specifially that if it were God’s will for us to come to Lititz that He would give us confidence that He was working in Joy’s heart. Throughout all of the many initial conversations with the Search Committee from Grace Church, we kept our kids in the dark. We did not want them to have to deal with the anxiety of a possible move until they absolutely had to.

We were scheduled to make a trip to Lititz to meet with the entire Search Committee and to attend the Sunday morning service without anyone knowing that we were there. We decided that this had gotten serious enough that it was time to tell the kids and that they should go with us to see what might be their new home town as well. We were leaving on Thursday morning so we planned to tell our kids after church that Wednesday night. It would be one of those “Good News/Bad News” conversations. Good News…you don’t have to go to school the rest of the week. Bad News…it is due to the fact that we may be moving to Pennsylvania.

On our way in to church that Wednesday night my daughter, who had no clue of what was going on, spoke up and said, “Dad, I’ve been thinking of something.” That will get a dad’s interest. “What have you been thinking about?” I asked. “I’ve been thinking,” she continued, “That if God ever does move you somewhere else, I sure hope it is closer to the ocean.” I was amazed and asked, “What makes you think that?” “I’m not sure,” she said, “I’ve just been thinking a lot about that lately.”

Folks listen, Lititz may not be right on the ocean but it certainly is a whole lot closer to the shore than Osceola, Indiana. At that point we knew that God had answered our prayers. We were confident that we could proceed and that our coming to Lititz was the will of God for our family. And here’s the proverbial “icing on the cake.” Our first day in our new home in Lititz, a family from the church who has a daughter Joy’s age called and invited Joy to come to the shore with them. Imagine that! Her first day in our new home God allowed Joy to not only move closer to the ocean, but to go play in it as well.

Isn’t that just like God? How can we even consider making decisions for our family and our future without consulting His will? There is no chapter and verse in the Bible that said, “Move to Lititz!” But for us, God’s will was clear. And as a result, we have all flourished here in Lancaster County, as individuals and as a family.

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