I was having a conversation with a young friend yesterday about discovering God's plans for your life, and how messy that process can be at times.
I told him that almost exactly a year ago, I was standing in the kitchen of my newly renovated "dream" home, in Florida, reflecting on the vibrant ministry I was leading and how my life just seemed to be in a wonderful groove. On that day, I remember telling my wife the following:
"I can't think of anything that would get me to leave this---it would have to be something pretty special."
I feel like God was listening in as I said that, and then responded by saying, "Challenge accepted, my friend!"
Only one year after that moment in the kitchen, I find myself living halfway across the country in a community I have come to fiercely love, and serving in a church that is growing and thriving in incredible ways.
I would have never imagined that kind of plot twist.
Twelve years ago today, Merideth and I were sitting at a table outside of our new apartment building, five stories above the streets of downtown Chicago where we had just moved so I could attend seminary.
I remember being so full of wonder and amazement that we were actually there---it had been an improbable journey, a blur of signs and wonders, miracles and astounding twists and turns. I would have never imagined it.
Nine years ago on this very day, I celebrated my last day at the church were I was first ordained as a minister. I'd never expected to leave there so soon, but God had other ideas. I look back now and see so clearly how amazing God's timing was at that time. It was nothing short of miraculous. I would have never imagined it.
Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of struggles, pain and low moments in the middle of all of these stories. But I've learned something invaluable over the years:
You can't out-imagine God, as it turns out---especially if you are dedicated to discovering what it is that God desires of you.
The difficult bit is trusting God in the process of discovering those desires, finding your calling and embracing God's will for you in it.
May you surrender your own will today as you seek God's will in it's place. May you learn to trust in God's imagination, which is far bigger than yours. May you find peace in knowing that even though you don't know what the future holds, you can trust the one who holds your future.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.