Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
There’s hard…and there is really hard. You know, sometimes faith is easy. The way is clear, the path is obvious and you just do it. Sometimes, it just isn’t that way. Sometimes, all the time, faith requires…faith. So back in 2000, my family and I were living in Cobden where I was pastoring at Cobden First Baptist. We had been there over 14 years and it was one of those pastor/church relationships that don’t happen too often. We were in love with each other. It wasn’t a job…it was family. And then the phone rang.
It was a call from Don Billman wanting to know if I would be interested in pastoring in Harrisburg at Dorrisville Baptist. I had received calls like this before and the answer was always, “No thank you. We are really happy here.” This time, though, for some reason I said I would think about it—pray about it. It was almost frightening but I could hear the Whisperer whispering and I was pretty sure He was calling us to step out on faith. I tried to dismiss it, I tried to ignore it, but He kept whispering until I finally knew that it was a choice to obey or disobey.
After several weeks we arranged a date to go and preach a message, meet the folks at Dorrisville and to see if we should join our lives together. I had asked God for a pretty big favor. If this was in fact His will would He give me a 100% vote. Now in case you don’t know that was a pretty big deal, especially since we were talking about a couple of hundred people. Well, we met each other and they voted. It was 100%. I was taken aback as I realized it was time to step out on faith.
Pastors usually leave churches in one of two ways: readily or reluctantly. I was a reluctant prophet. I knew going was the right thing, but it wasn’t the easy thing. It was probably one of the HARDEST things I have ever done. We were excited about Dorrisville, but I knew I was leaving family in the process. Were there doubts? Yes. Were there assurances? Yes. And that is the point of this story.
A week or so after the vote and in the middle of the process of saying goodbye to Cobden, I was sitting outside of Target in Marion. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was having a talk with God that included two questions. “God, is this really you?” “God, what have I done?” There I sat with those two questions rolling around in my head. And then they showed up. It wasn’t two angels named Micheal or Gabriel but it was a couple of messengers from my Dearest Daddy. Their names were Tom and Leanne.
Tom and Leanne were members at Dorrisville—my new family. They walked up to the bench outside of Target and politely introduced themselves. “Hi we are Tom and LeAnne. We are members at Dorrisville and when we saw you sitting here we just HAD to stop and tell you how glad we are that you are coming to Dorrisville. We can’t wait for you to come.” I can’t tell you the emotion of that moment. It was a clear and confident assurance from the Whisperer. From that moment on I knew I was right where God wanted me and that was what mattered.
So we finished saying goodbye to our Cobden family and said hello to our new family at Dorrisville. On July 16, 2000 we had our first service there. I wish I could tell you how marvelously I led and how confidently I took the field but the truth is this rookie fumbled the ball a few times. But gratefully my new family was gracious and patient and suddenly here we are twenty years later. It has been a wonderful journey for me of learning and growing, serving, and sharing. Over the past two decades we have had so many times of celebration together. We have learned grace together. Someday, one day, the Whisperer will whisper again but until that time I am having the time of my life.
So if you find yourself at the edge of a cliff and you are not sure what to do next. If all the light is gone from your world and you are stuck…go ahead and take the next step. As Patrick Overton wrote, “When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” Whether it is the uncertainly of the corona virus, the unrest of our Country or the upcoming elections this Fall…we can rest in Him…for He surely has this.