Jacki and I have been having difficulty getting jobs these last few months. It seems that everywhere we apply either isn’t hiring or just doesn’t even get back to us. As you can imagine, this has been quite frustrating. Coming back to the US, my plan was to find employment at an ad agency and learn graphic design. Jacki was going to find a job at a local bank as a teller and we’d settle into married life for a little while. Equipped with the skills and the maturity to plant ourselves overseas, we would head out back in a few years. That was the plan, the dream, the “promise”. With quite a few unusual setbacks, that dream hasn’t materialed just yet.
Washing the car the other day, I started talking out this frustration with Jesus. The thought that I may have made a wrong choice staying in the States nudged its way into my mind. Since leaving the Philippines, I hadn’t “heard” anything from him. That made me question as to whether I made a wrong turn somewhere and tossed my spiritual GPS out of the car along the way. While talking out these thoughts, I continued singing a song that had been in my mind. One of the tracks on the new John Mayer album is titled “Stop this Train”. It’s about a young man and the moment of panic in which he realizes that his life is not going where he wants it to go. For him it was going to fast. For me, it’s not leaving the station. At one point in the song, Mayer asks his dad to help him understand. His dad replies, “Don’t stop this train. Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in.” I thought about that line. I thought about how nice it would be to just be happy where I am in life. I thought about how nice it would be to not be afraid that I am going to miss my next big opportunity, because I’m not doing something I should be doing, even if I don’t know what that something is. I thought about how nice it would be to not be anxious about things working out just right.
That night I talked with a friend as we drove to Wal-Mart for a jar of spaghetti sauce. He told me that he was waiting for something he felt was “promised” by God. He had the dream and he had been doing everything he could to make it happen, but things were just moving too slowly. He didn’t feel the closeness that he wanted to with God and he wanted that to change too. He told me that the night he was talking this out with the Holy Spirit, he remembered a verse in Hebrews 11 that applauds the faith of Abraham. For my friend, Abraham exhibited two kinds of faith: acting faith, which steps out when the need for action is clear, and staying faith, which remains when the Father is still working things out. I realized that I was “hearing” what I needed at that moment.
Later that night, I told Jacki about my conversations throughout the day. When I came to the part about Abraham, something occurred to me. In our lives, there is always the period of time between the “promise” and it’s fulfillment, between the “dream” and it’s realization. That is the most crucial period. It is in that time that we develop as people and that we experience the multitude of emotions and other alternatives that vie for our attention. For some people God gives them the dream of a humanitarian relief organization. For others it’s the dream of being influential in the music scene. With every dream comes a few practical steps that we can take as God orchestrates the grand scheme to make it come together. If you want to start a company, you need to take the courage to raise capital and become a trustworthy person. That’s all part of your staying faith and your development. God told Abraham, “You’re going to have a lot of kids and grandkids”. Abraham didn’t have any kids and he was 73 at the time. What was God’s intention for Abraham’s development? I think it’s pretty obvious. If you want to have kids, you need to be making love to your wife. If you want to be making love to your wife, you need to be romancing her. If God’s dream for Abraham was to give him lots of descendants, Abraham’s entire responsibility was to romance and make love to his wife. That was God’s plan for Abraham’s development. For thirty years Abraham just loved on his wife Sarah. Then, God made it happen.
I understood, then, that me getting a job at this point is not really that critical. What is critical is that I love Jacki tenderly and wholeheartedly every day and that I develop joy, peace, and gratitude in my heart as we lay the foundation of our lives together. We still apply for jobs, but we don’t worry if they say no. We’ll find the jobs, or they will find us, that will fit us just right. Right now we have today and that’s all we have.