We believe it was decisively God’s will for us to no longer run our business. But that awareness dawned after several years of bringing us to where we could see it. In retrospect, the process was more 2x4-ish than it seemed. But for one part of this process, the Lord began withholding the grace for tolerating the bump-and-grind of the business world. And that looked drastically different for each of us. For me, it looked kind of like this guppy that naively started out on a new adventure and discovered that it was in a shark tank. And the sharks were not very nice. And they had this appetite for guppy fins.
Withheld grace looked a lot different for Jake – his fins were much tougher than mine. The costly lessons we could emotionally write-off as tuition. After all, it’s the school of hard knocks, right? But that all required grace. Without God’s grace, for me, it was becoming traumatic. I was being wounded. But once you are in certain situations, you cannot just high-tail it when you realize you no longer like where you are. This was one of those situations. A few more years were required to get things to where clients' needs could properly be met while the company was being handed off to a new owner.
So in retrospect, God withheld His grace from our pursuit of that which was not in His will. We opened our company about a year before we became Christians. As we began to seek His will, abandoning our own, the steering commenced. I see the withheld grace as a means of steering... directing...leading. At times all I had to cling to were these words in James 1:2-4 : "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." The Lord allows trial and difficulty at times – for our refinement… perseverance builds character…James 1:12 goes on to say "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." love Him we DO... and persevere we did – for 7 years - before God gave us the escape route. But that is another key - - GOD provided the escape. And it was really cool.
I’ll spare you the details, but the process the Lord used to reveal the way out felt like an action-packed chase scene. It put action to Proverbs 16:9 "The mind of a man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps." It involved Him revealing information we did not know, opening doors, which led to meeting new people, who then revealed more information, and as we were thinking this info contained the answer, and were preparing to “go for it” He then did the bait and switch… took that person out of the picture long enough for new information, new people to come into the situation – with whom we were given peace and clear sailing to pursue, and then when the deal was sealed, the first entity showed up again… but we knew by this time what God’s will was… the deal was done, we were at rest, we had found peace. In the process the Lord also prevented – truly restrained us from making a big mistake. At another point we were desperate for some very specific information, so we raised up a fleece prayer. Then later that day we repented, realizing the Lord’s faithfulness deserved greater faith than THAT - - then the Lord answered that fleece prayer anyway in a HUGE and unquestionable way. It was like He was saying yes yes yes YES YES YES YES!!!!! This IS the way - - WALK in it!!!
So now we are dangling...oops, I guess we call that "faith-walking". But if I can be honest, it really feels like dangling. I will be returning to work in health care - likely persuing more schooling as well, but must tend to more hand surgery in September, which will put me out of commission for several months - so I'm basically useless for a while. Jake must remain available for 2 months of transitioning clients into the care of the new owner of the company, during which time he cannot start a new job. So we are trusting the Lord for light on that next step, but in the meantime, dangling is beginning to feel sort of free... restful...dependent....I'm sure glad holding the other end of the string on which we dangle, is the faithful, competent, utterly trustworthy hand of God!
Fionia's Shark Mania gracious provider of first two shark images
Christian Clipart gracious provider of last fish image