When I was asked to work in another city recently, my family and I had to make a decision that was ultimately going to push our faith to it's absolute limit.
Now I know there are people who are used to working away from home and whoever you are and manage family life around that, I salute you. But for us this was tough because I've never been away from home for longer than 14 days, let alone the 27 days it's been so far. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll get to go home to my wife and children, but in the meantime it's provoked me to write this latest blog post to encourage any of you going through a difficult season.
One of the main reasons for this being so tough for us as a family is the fact that we only moved to Australia less than a year ago and are still adjusting to living in a new nation, so to be asked to work away from home for five weeks in a totally different city felt like a big blow to us. I asked the question over and over, 'after the year we've had, Lord, why this now?'
You see, since arriving in Melbourne we've gone through some deep tests spiritually. As well as finding our feet with schools, work, taxes, attending a new church and learning a new culture, we have experienced a season with virtually no money and just generally feeling like every part of us was being stretched and stretched. Thankfully that particular season didn't last too long as I began my new job and started to bring in a stable income, but then my mum in the UK was taken extremely ill and for the last four months has been battling a horrendous wave of sickness. So being asked to be away from the only people I am most close to in all of this was very hard!
Two days before I left home for Adelaide, my wife and I sat down to pray and ask God what this was all about and whether we did need this extra stretching. Not that long after we began praying God spoke to my wife and said, "Adam NEEDS to be in Adelaide." We found this an interesting way of saying things because it meant to us that there was a purpose to this trip, however long it was going to take, that would help shape and mould us for something better than what we were living out - even though it meant a season of separation and pain first. And it was and has been painful.
Seriously. I can't think of a time when I've felt more isolated and alone in a place, especially as my job has required me to work nights, six nights a week. So even if I wanted to enjoy my new surroundings, my new adopted sleeping pattern has meant that it has been nearly impossible to do so. My only hope that I arrived with was that I'd at least find a church that I could make my temporary home and hopefully make some friends. Thankfully, the latter has happened and I have made a few great friends that I know will be long term.
But what is the need for this new blog post? Surely I know that this season is nearly over and I'll be home soon and therefore there is no need to dwell on a difficult few weeks. Well the reason for this post is because there has been things I've learned that I wouldn't have already - I believe that these things will encourage anyone going through a similar time in their lives.
You see, it's taught me to trust in God even more that I ever have done before because He's all I've had here. Without Him I seriously don't know what I'd have done. He has shown me that I don't need to trust in provision but to trust in my Provider. He has taught me that when He is all I have, He is everything I need. He has also shown me that I can make decisions which are based around His promises for my life and when I step into these by faith, I can receive abundant joy and provision that goes way beyond anything I ever imagined.
Like Jonah in the bible story, I didn't want to go to where God wanted me to go because I didn't trust Him enough to begin with. I could have easily gone my own way and done what I thought was right at the time. I remember saying to my wife, "this doesn't make any sense at all - so I guess it must be God." When it came to the day of leaving home I felt very low and extremely disappointed that I hadn't been given a way out.
But you know, five weeks after I got here, with only one day left, the revelation has finally hit me. God has been wanting to get me here to trust Him, more than I've ever had to before. He has put me in the middle on nowhere to show me that He knows what I need. What do I need? God!
I have learned in this horrible season, that no matter what I face, God is the answer to my happiness. It's crazy because I have actually wasted the time I've had here because I've been moping about and feeling sorry for myself that I've been 'all alone'. But tonight I realised that I haven't been alone. God wanted to get me here because He knew, even if it was the final day, that everything I need can be found in Him and I don't need to ever feel alone or helpless again.
You know, my family and I took this step of faith to move away from family and friends because it is what God told us to do. We didn't know where we were going to live, we didn't know what job I'd have, we didn't know if the schools would be any good for our kids but we TRUSTED God. And He has not let us down. So to ask me to be away from them was another faith step - would I be prepared to trust God in an even tougher season than before? At first I definitely didn't think I could, but the tiniest part of me did. I've realised now that this is the mustard seed of faith Jesus spoke about in Matthew 13 (v31 - 32).
That tiny part of my faith knew that God was in it even thought the rest of me was going NOOOOO! And now, within a few hours of realising this, my faith has grown and I have an uncanny sense of the peace of God. It is marvellous.
So this is the reason for this blog. No matter what you are going through, whether you know God or not, He just wants you to put your trust in Him. Because out of that trust comes peace and out of that peace comes joy. It is a profound mystery of God but one I know he wants us all to experience.
He is so faithful.