About four and a half years ago (August 9th, 2014 to be precise,) I was on the highway alone in my car yelling at God. I wasn’t mad at him. I was calling out to him (or maybe, in my grief, calling him out a little bit). My wife was starting her 3rd trimester of a very high risk pregnancy. Our church launch, which was meant to happen the following month was no longer certain. Our bank account was drying up, and I had just passed up on a great job opportunity at a local church because we felt a conviction about God’s plan for ConnectCommunity. Every single area of our lives (except our marriage) was uncertain. The questions in my head were: “Did we make a mistake along the way? Are we going to make it? Do we have what it takes?”. We were very aware the step we took — walking away from family, friends, job security, and stability — was going to present challenges and would require God’s provision. But what about our part?
Have you ever been in that place? You take a “step of faith” and you give it a go at some kind of challenge, dream, or calling, and halfway through it you realize nothing is in place; you can’t picture a scenario or a pathway where things turn out alright. I’m a positive person. I grew up a believer. I don’t mean only a believer in God, I mean a we-are-gonna-make-it-happen-and-things-will-be-alright believer. But there are times in life when a clear line of separation between personality and faith is drawn; being positive generally helps, but in those times, only faith can get you through. The season we were going through at that time was challenging us in every front. So I found myself yelling at God. In my car. Alone. Asking for a sign that showed me I was still on the right track. Still called. Still at a viable place. I needed to know I wasn’t failing as a man, as a husband, and as a father.
I exited the highway, and in front of me there was a car with an encouraging bumper sticker. I laughed. True confession time: Christian bumper stickers make me laugh. I find many of them to be very cheesy and a bit weird. So my reaction to the bumper sticker was, “really?! A bumper sticker? How cliché is that?”
It had been an emotionally intense season, and because of it, I had the unreasonable expectation that God was not only to answer my prayer, but He had to answer it with empathy. Like, “God, don’t just give me an answer, but show me you are just as affected by this as I am.” I wanted God to rush. To show urgency. I wanted Almighty God, the creator of the universe, to treat my situation as an emergency. I realize now how silly that is now, since a main feature of an emergency is that it is surprising, time sensitive, and uncertain. All qualities that God is unaffected by.
Let me remind you: God is not surprised by your challenge or circumstance. It doesn’t phase him. He is neither running out of time, or unsure about the right answer. He’s not going to come to your emotional state. He wants to bring you to His — a place of peace and confidence.
At the light, I turned left and parted ways with the bumper sticker. So I prayed and said. “God, what should I do? What do I do about all this??” Five minutes later, I stopped at a light, and lo and behold, the same car is stopped in front of me. Yes. God spoke to me through a bumper sticker. It completely disarmed me. He not only gave me a word, but he made me laugh.
Here’s a picture of the bumper sticker: