Soon the day came when John completed his degree at the Seminary, and it was time for us to move on. In a way we were hoping that our current ministry would choose him to become their pastor full time since they were in the process of looking for a new minister. But that was not meant to be. Even though he was well qualified and well liked, it was understood that they needed to have someone new in their leadership…and we needed to move forward.
As I reflect back over this time in our lives, I would like to linger here awhile and not venture forth. See, back when we were actually looking forward to our future, we were full of excitement and joyous anticipation at what the Lord was going to do. We were young, full of vitality, somewhat innocent and naïve, and had a real sense of purpose. Our commission was “The Great Commission” as given to Christ’s disciples in Matthew 28:19-20:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It is merciful of God that He does not give us glimpses of our future, but only asks us to trust Him and obey His commands…and He promises that He will be with us always.
In Joshua 1:9 He says to His servant Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Please don’t misunderstand me…God has never forsaken us. It’s just that as I look back in retrospect, I can see when the real tests started in our lives. Everything prior to this had been a kind of preparation for the bigger tests that still lay ahead. Kind of a “pre-test” if you will. We were now approaching the precipice of true adulthood spiritually speaking…we were “graduating” from the classroom to the “real world of ministry”.
I Corinthians 13: 11-13 says at the closing of that great “Love Chapter”: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”We were being led by the Spirit of God to take the next step in our maturity…to grow up in Christ, and to receive our true inheritance:
Romans 8:14-18 gives us a look into our future: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us"