By Adam Van Dop
Here’s a little history about me.
In 2007, I was coming to the end of my bible college existence. I was coming close to putting almost 7 years of study (both full and part time) behind me, and was going to receive that piece of paper that says I hold a degree. In my quest of searching for what was to come next, I came upon a little CRC church in a small town, a small fishing community, 5 hours from where we were. Their youth pastor position had just become vacant, and they were seeking to refill it. I applied, to see what was I was capable of, and mostly to see if this was the area of ministry that God was leading me.
The thing with taking this particular job would mean that my wife and I would have had to move out of our known area, away from our families – something we at the time did not feel fully comfortable doing.
I sent my resume away. It wasn’t too long later that I got a call from the pastor there, asking to arrange a phone-call interview. The night came when the phone rang, and it was a couple of adults, and a bunch of youth gathered around a speaker phone. My heart began to race, and sweat started to bead. We all got through it. In a couple days, my phone rang, it again was the same pastor, inviting my wife and I to come for a full interview at the church, and spend a weekend with the church family. We accepted, and booked a weekend.
It was a pleasant weekend, the people were amazingly nice, the food was good, and the youth were crazily accepting of me. We even stopped at the school district office to see if my wife might be able to find employment. They asked if she could work that very day.
Coming to the end of the weekend, we began to feel that this was not the right situation for us. When we were in the church parking lot saying our good-byes, the head of the search committee told me it would be three weeks before the other candidate would be there for their interview, and they would make their decision in the days immediately following.
As the three weeks progressed, my wife and I had come to the point that if I had been offered the job, I would have turned it down – because we knew it was not the right fit.
All within the same month, a colleague of my wife tipped her off to a potential youth pastor job opening up around the corner from her school. I looked into it, and sure enough, the position was to open right after I graduated.
Again within the same month, my wife had been offered a full continuing contract at her school.
All this now waited on the response of the church and their search committee.
It was a cold rainy Tuesday morning; I was still working for my Dad, framing houses. I was dressed up in my wonderful smelly yellow rain gear, something I loathed wearing. I had been getting more and tenser for the last 3 weeks, wondering if the offer would come. All day Monday I couldn’t focus on anything. I didn’t sleep that previous night. Then my phone rang. I grabbed it out of my tool belt, and darted off the floor I was working on, sought the nearest cover from the rain, and let the conversation unfold.
As soon as I heard the tone of the pastor’s voice, I knew the offer was not for me.
My heart rate settled down.
My tenseness disappeared.
I felt a sense of peace as the voice explained to me the difficult decision, as the youth had voted for me, but the council voted for the other. I no longer cared – I knew I had done what I was told to do.
I hung up the phone and called my wife – shared with her the ‘good news’ that we got to stay where we were. She immediately phoned the school and accepted the position she was offered.
I shared this all with my dad, put my phone back in my car, and returned to work. I hardly noticed the rain after that. The walls I was building seemed to build themselves, and eventually the day came to a close and I went home.
Within a week or two or three (these details are getting now a little foggy), school finished, I graduated, and continued to look for youth pastor positions, and continued to build houses. Then I got the email that the position at the church around the corner from my wife’s school had officially opened, and I was invited to apply. I did just that. I got an interview. The next day I was offered the job and asked to start the next day.
I look back at this story, and see God’s hand miraculously orchestrating lives and circumstances to line everything up so beautifully and perfectly to take my wife and I where he wanted us to go. One word comes to mind – obedience. I firmly believe that God was testing to see where I was willing to go for him and his purposes. He asked me if I was willing to step up and move away. My wife and I answered with a yes. I believe now, our reward for answering that question correctly, we received jobs within a kilometre of each other. And now, we live within 5 kilometres of our work places, and still only a 30 minute drive to any one of our family members.
Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will obey my command” (John 14:15 |NIV).
Will you obey his command?
Will you answer his call that might lead you somewhere you don’t want to go?
What are you doing so that you might be able to hear his voice leading you?
May you hear the voice of the Lord poking and prodding you, trying to lead you in the right direction.
May you answer his call with enthusiasm and excitement. And may you know that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV)