When we work at doing what is right before the Lord, we often make decisions according to God’s will without the conscious awareness that the decision we are making is being directed by the Lord. When we look back and see what God has done we smile…inside and out.
Our decision to personally purchase a piano to be used in the parsonage was a very easy decision…I do not remember any discussion or serious prayer about what to do. And God confirmed that our decision was pleasing to Him as He provided the money that we truly did not have. We looked back…and smiled!
When we work at doing what is right before the Lord, at the necessary time we make the best decision we can. Seldom if ever do we have the guidance of a dream, of a burning bush, of hearing God speak, or of handwriting on the wall. Most often God guides us through a gentle steady pressure within. External factors may help us focus on the right decision, but ultimately we make the decision on the basis of what we feel, what we believe God would have us do.
God’s guidance to get us to leave Bakerville, CT and to move to Murfreesboro, TN is an illustration of no specific factor in the decision. God knew our hearts and He kept the pressure on until we knew His. We were thankful and at peace when the decision was made, but I know we were not real happy about the direction God was taking us.
Sally Jo and I knew that before we announced our decision to the congregation, we had to tell one particular couple – so we planned to go with them on an overnight skiing trip. Without explaining the situation, we asked close friend Nancy if she would take care of our daughters, Carla -4 1/2 and Jenna – 2. Carla was very excited about spending an overnight with her best friend – whose mother happened to be Nancy! The plan was that we would return in the evening after the second day of skiing – and pick up Carla and Jenna the next morning.
During that night we received a telephone call from Nancy: “Carla has suddenly become very sick!” We got up and went over and picked up the girls. The next morning we realized Carla was becoming worse, running a high fever. A call to the doctor brought a quick visit to the doctor – and a quick trip to the hospital. Carla had spinal meningitis – the first case in four years in a four county area. In addition to medication, the hospital was putting Carla into cold water to keep her temperature down. The news was not good: Carla would likely die, and if she didn’t die she would likely be seriously disabled.
Sally Jo stayed with Carla. I was crying so hard when I drove the 20 minutes home to be with Jenna that I remember being barely able to see the road. And I remember thinking, “Lord, how can I be thankful for this?!!” About the only thing I could come up with was that we had enjoyed five wonderful years with this very bright, strong, happy child! It did not help that Carla loved to play in the cemetery…which was located behind our house! I was truly shaken. “Why Lord, after our decision to obey your tough request, did you let this happen?” I never have understood the answer to that question.
My dad used to say to me “never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light”. I tried not to. Carla lived – and lives with a nerve in the back of her neck that flares up whenever she gets over tired, over stressed – a weakness in her nervous system.
Several months later, on the morning the moving van was to come, Carla asked me if I would take her down to the pond one more time. We stood at the edge of the pond, hearing the water flow over the stone dam, watching a bird fly so close above the water that its wing hit the water and left a ripple. An incredible moment – and then Carla asked “Dad, why do we need to leave this beautiful place?” I had no answer!!!!!!!!!!
As we walked the short distance to our beautiful parsonage the tears were streaming down my face, even as they are right now. “Lord, this is not fair!!!” I knew I should not doubt in the dark what I saw in the light…but this was very dark.