I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread.” Psalm 37:25
It seemed like a really, bad idea. Right after high school graduation I jumped into the Air Force, and it turned out to be a really good idea. Back in those days, or so it seemed, college wasn’t pushed for everyone, and I was pretty uncertain about what I wanted to do. So, through a strange set of circumstances, I found myself in the military. I loved it. Raised as a good southern boy, the discipline required for a life in the service came naturally. I was taught to respect others and especially those appointed over me. “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am” were part of my vocabulary long before the Air Force taught me to say it.
By 1980, I had been stationed in Minot, North Dakota, Valdosta, Georgia (where I met and married the best wife a guy could ask for), spent three years in Germany and finally landed in Knob Noster, Missouri. Like I said, I liked the Air Force, and it seemed the Air Force liked me. I was picked for several key assignments and was on track promotion wise. With a young family, the security the Air Force provided was an added benefit and while I wasn’t going to get rich in the Air Force, the pay provided a good life. Yup…life was good.
Then God spoke. No, it wasn’t an audible voice, but it was one clear enough that I knew He had a change of plans in mind. I felt, I knew that He was calling me to become a pastor but that wasn’t all. I also knew for me that meant leaving the Air Force. I think that was probably for a couple of reasons. First, I knew that as long as I was in the Air Force, I would be tempted to lean on that for security and not God. Second, I also knew that the Air Force would be calling the shots about my future. Well, that led up to me making one of the biggest changes in my life…after 12 years…leaving the lifestyle and security of the Air Force and jumping into the secure arms of faith and the life of a pastor.
When I went public with this it seemed that everyone had an opinion and a lot of those opinions followed one school thought—you are nuts. Certainly, the military thought it was a bad idea. After all, they liked me, and I liked them. I was on track for a good career and great retirement. You see, with the military, you can retire with 20 years and draw a pension equal to half of your base pay. You also get other benefits for the rest of your life. All that led to the “you are nuts” thing and this is really not good idea. But then…there was God.
You see, I was, oh, somewhere beyond probably and just shy of absolutely certain that God was asking me, telling me to do this. And somehow, some way, Judy and I with two toddlers under three were able to believe and jump. And now, forty years later, I am able to say that God took that “really not a good idea” and turned it into a really good idea. He has faithfully and completely cared for us over these four decades. I’m sure if I had stayed in the Air Force, I would have had a nice, secure life. I’m sure things would have turned out just fine. But God’s idea went somewhere beyond nice and secure and somewhere beyond just fine.
If I’ve learned anything from all of this, it is that God’s ideas are always, and I do mean always, better than mine. I have learned and I am learning that faith beats fine every time. The adventure, the challenges, the “mysterious ways of God” that we have experienced together trumps a nice retirement and manmade security. There’s a verse, and I’m really not sure all that it means, but it sure seems to ring true with me. The author says that he had never seen the righteous forsaken or his family begging for bread. Like I said, I’m not sure what that means entirely but looking back from where I sit, it says, “God is good, God is faithful, and God can be trusted.”
God is good, God is faithful, and God can be trusted. Period. Your story is probably a lot different than mine but if you are a God follower let’s all agree on that part. He really is good, He really is faithful, and yes, He can be trusted. So, in these days of uncertainty and in these days when up is down and down is up—listen carefully for the still small voice of your Dearest Daddy. Let Him whisper His better idea…and then trust. Don’t worry, you are not nuts—you’re a man, a woman and child of faith. And that is always best because, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne