Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If God is Not Providing, Are You Really Following

Today is going to be another personal post.  As my wife and I pray each night for guidance, living our lives as though we will be moving north soon, the fact is that so far there has not been much in the way of tangible guidance.  I know that God does not always give us tangible guidance, and we have been acting on that principle, but there comes a time when one must evaluate the direction they are heading or trying to head.  Today I want to consider a verse that I have used many times in this blog.  Usually it is a conclusion, but today it is a starting point. 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
The common paraphrase for this verse is "Where God guides, God provides."  If that is true, then can one make the assumption that if God is not providing, then is one really following God's guidance?  In other words, if those paths are not being made straight, am I really acknowledging him in all my ways?  That is the question that I need to consider.  In the beginning, this question seemed to be so clear.  I was approved for a mortgage (which considering what my credit used to be, is a miracle in and of itself).  My wife was so clear and at peace about leaving her teaching job.  We love our northern church family and feel such a peace when we are with them or when we attend church up there.  We do love our southern church family as well, but it is a different kind of fellowship, but it is a different kind of relationship.  We saw many houses and our house was placed on the market and was positioned for a relatively quick sale with a handsome profit to be made.  My job provides us wonderful health benefits, but any kind of testing or procedures have to be done at the hospital I work at so living near that job would make sense. That was where things were.  In that, I can not disbelieve that God was truly making straight our paths.  Then something happened. 

What happened was time.  It was no single event.  It was not clear message in the sky.  If there were, then I would not be writing this blog message today.  What happened was looking at countless houses and finding nothing that really suited our needs.  We are not looking for much.  Enough rooms, a nice yard, and a house in reasonable shape and not in the middle of a city.  A humble house no doubt but a nice humble house is a hard house to find.  We have visited many houses that would do better for Halloween tours than to actually consider living in.  We saw many houses that we were so excited to visit only to be disappointed when reality was very far away from the images in our mind (and on the realty website).  There were a couple of houses that we had some interest in, but they all had a variety of reasons where they just did not work out.  Currently there is no house we are really interested in that has any realistic chance at being ours.  As for our home, it is on the market and while there have been many visits, there have been zero offers.  One serious problem is that our condo association allowed some government certification to expire and while they claim they are in the process of re-certifying, they have no date as to when that might happen.  What that means is that some very important loan programs are unavailable to buyers making it more difficult to get a loan and possibly a lower selling cost if someone does want to buy our place.  As for my wife's job, she has none up there.  We had a lot of hope that through some contacts that something would work out, but that has not happened.  The reality is that we would not be able to live on just my salary and so a job for her is essential.  I can not in good conscience let her find a job at Walmart or something like that.  As for my job, while the job and benefits are the same, and while it is relatively secure in insecure times, the fact is that I am not happy here.  I come in and I do my job to the best of my abilities, but I just have no real enjoyment here.  I used to, but for a long time, I just haven't really had any desire to be here.  I love the benefits, but other issues are making is less and less enjoyable and more and more difficult to be here. 

As for my current reality, that is another story.  The fact us that the drive to my job is killer on the budget.  The early mornings are killer on my health as it is not healthy to get 5-6 hours a sleep every night.  The desk job combined with four hours on the road is taking its toll on my back, which is another health issue.  The long days take away my ability to really do anything during the week, including such important things as exercise and helping around the house more. To be honest, I really do not have time for any kind of hobby to relax me, if even that hobby was cooking dinner for my wife a few times a week.  I am not bemoaning the lack of time for hobbies for pleasure's sake, but for health's sake. We were designed to need some leisure time to lower our stress levels.  High stress with no exercise or time to relax means higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.  Then there is the money as long commutes take a lot of gas and gas is not cheap.  We also have two cars with a lot of miles that I am sure will need repair at some point.  Then there is the fact that many times I feel like I live in two completely different worlds that never really intersect.  There is the north world and the south world.  The south world is home and where most of my social life resides. The north is where my job, family, and church home (even if in exile) are.  When I take weekends north it almost feels like a non-weekend because I do not get time at home or doing home things. I love visiting my family and church friends, but no matter how nice that is, it still does not feel like home. 

It is not all negative, though.  In preparing to move, we set our priorities on paying down our debts.  We have been blessed with the means of making a nice sum of money over the past few months and it should extend for months to come.  We have taken that opportunity to pay down a tremendous amount of debt.  We are still working on my debt for mortgage purposes, but I hope that soon we will begin to be able to tackle my wife's debt.  Each bit of debt that is paid is like a burden lifted off our backs.  It means more money available for other things (though we are currently using that extra money to pay down more debt) and it makes us eligible for better interest rates should we ever need additional credit, for things like buying a home or new cars.  It is also flattering to us to know we are loved by two completely different groups of people.  It would be nice if they were all one large family, but it is nice to know that people appreciate us and desire us to be part of their lives.  By writing this blog every day, I have really been speaking to and hearing from God and it gets me excited every time I learn something new.   My wife and I love each other deeply and know that wherever God leads us that we will be together.   When it comes down to it, my wife is my earthly home, and it is great comfort to know that wherever I go, that God has given us to each other. 

And so, where I am now, is living between two worlds not sure which one I will ultimately call home.  Living north works better for life as my job and what I still consider to be my church home are there.  North is also where I grew up and where my family still lives.  Living south, though, for just about every other reason would be more desirable.  The cost of living is cheaper, a group of friends who I have grown very close to and fond of over the past couple of years live there, I enjoy living near the shore, and I enjoy the pace down there much more than I do of the rush rush of central Jersey.  The problem is that I can not have it both ways and I do not know which way things will ultimately fall.  I do know that I do not believe God wants us to live in a situation where things are wasteful in terms of costs, unhealthy in terms of circumstances, and unhappy in that neither my wife nor myself are living in what we believe we were called to be.  So something has to change, but what that change will ultimately be I wish I knew.  I know the Lord began our journey, but I do not know where He is taking it or for what purpose.  I do know that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord, but I do not know where that next step is going to take me or even when it is going to come.  Not that I am righteous in my own life, but I have been reckoned righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus saved me and cleansed me and now God is guiding me. Please joining me in my prayers to know where, or at least what direction.
The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds [him with] His hand.  Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV

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