It’s been over 12 years now. Recently, I went back to the place where I grew up. I showed my wife where the first 16 years of my life took place. We retraced important steps and visited significant places. We also did a good bit of exploring because 12 years is a long time for things to change. And things have changed. The place where I grew up was just ranked the best place to live in the country.
But it was leaving that place that turned out to be an inciting incident in my life. During my sophomore year in high school, my parents, my brother, and I all discussed and prayed about the possibility of moving. It would be a dramatic change. New city. New school. New church. New house. But when it came time to make the decision, we all agreed that’s where God was leading us. I didn’t like it. I was leaving behind everything familiar. It had been easy to trust God before this day, but now my faith would be tested.
At the time, I thought this was a test for God to pass. But as I look back on it now, I can see I was really the one being tested. He wanted to know if I would trust Him in this situation. I wanted to know if He was trustworthy–if He was the God I had known, read about, and seen in so many ways up to then. At first, it was difficult. Making friends was not easy. Spending so much time with my brother and parents was a big change. Getting comfortable at a new church was even more difficult. So much change. I literally had to trust God with everything.
This move set the tone for the next 12 years of my life. My longest-lasting friendships were made at that new school. My first experiences in ministry occurred over 3 separate internships at that new church. They eventually ordained me (yes, it took them 3 internships to approve me), and I eventually met my wife during all that time there. That new house became the place where my family bonded together in new ways. The people I met there led me to Taylor University, which led me to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In those places, I learned about worldview, the integration of faith and learning, and how my desire to do ministry could mix with my passion for organizational excellence.
Today, I get to help lead a non-profit organization that is technically owned by 46 different church partners. My role in that organization is an intersection of my entire history, especially the history that took place over the last 12 years.
Through that move as a 16 year old boy, I learned to trust God by relying on Him to meet my every need–demonstrating that He is the good Father He says He is. That deepened my faith in ways I’m still uncovering today as a man. I’m not sure I always passed the test of trusting Him, but I’m confident of this: I have no reason to ever doubt God’s faithfulness.