"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21
Some years ago, my husband was a bi-vocational head pastor of a small country church. In many ways those were really tough years, especially for me. Our children were very young and my husband was a pastor and then working another job to meet our bills. I had a hard time having him gone so much between work and ministry. But we were doing it and God was growing the church.
At a certain point we began sensing that God was calling us out of that ministry. In many ways, it didn't make sense. Why would LEAVING be a good thing? Weren't we suppose to be loyal and tough it out? We put out feelers for other ministries and there were no open doors. Now leaving really made no sense because, as a pastor, you're *suppose* to go right from one vocational ministry to the next, right?? Right?? So we stayed and prayed and grew more frustrated.
God in His grace, starved us out because He was calling us out and we weren't moving. Our provisions started to dry up. We never had extra money but previously we were making it, paycheck to paycheck. Now we were not making it, our bills were piling up and our credit was becoming damaged. Finally, we were at risk of losing our house. We knew now we had no choice but for my husband to move from part time work (outside his ministry) to full time work. His company told them they would take him full time whenever he was ready. The church offered to keep him and work with us but we really felt it would be best for them to search for a pastor who was perhaps older and not needing the provision that we did, therefore devoting more time to the ministry (which is exactly what God sent them and he is still there today!).
It was very hard for my husband, but he stepped down as their pastor. I remember at that time a woman from church saying to me that she knew that as soon as my husband stepped down, that we would leave town. I told her that even if that was our desire that we could not financially consider moving. (In my head I was noting that our credit was a wreck and we were focusing on trying not to lose our little 750 sq. ft. house.)
I still sometimes shake my head in disbelief of what God did next... We decided to just investigate selling our home and moving (in some ways to *save it* by selling it). The market was moving fast and was a sellers market at the time. Within 6 months of my statement to the woman I mentioned above, we had sold our home, paid off all outstanding debts and moved into a house twice the size of the previous house closer to my husband's job and were well on our way to repairing our debt! ONLY GOD!
I learned so many lessons at that time. I learned that a *lack of provision* can be a great blessing. It can be the way God brings me into His will. I learned that God will go to great lengths so *keep* me in His will as I pray for Him to do just that. Knowing that has given me great comfort since that time when I have been searching out God's will. I know now that My Good Shepherd will lead as I ask and lay out my life to Him, *whether or not* I am aware of His leading at the time. He leads, I follow. Clinging to Him is how His will unfolds to me, one step at a time!
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them." Isaiah 42:16
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" Isaiah 30:21