Almost exactly 10 years ago I started on a journey that would take me farther than I’d ever imagine. I set off from Omaha, Nebraska, with all my life’s possessions jammed into the covered bed of my 1994 Dodge Dakota. Three days later I arrived in Silver Spring, Maryland, ready for my internship at the Adventist Review.
My first article was entitled “Heat-of-the-Moment Faith.” The piece chronicled some of the humorous (I say that now) car problems I had in my first few days on the East Coast.
Like when my driver’s seat broke. As I was driving down Highway 29 the back of my seat gave out, leaving me with no back support. A few days later I had to drive 20 miles at midnight with no headlights. Then, while I was sick with a nasty cold, the alternator in my truck gave out in a Target parking lot.
I tried to apply a spiritual lesson in the midst of the madness. I wrote about how easy it is to have 20/20 faith in hindsight, but that it’s much harder to have faith in the heat of the moment, as things are spiraling out of control.
God allows us to face uncertainties. If we return His faithfulness, the path will lead us closer to His purpose.
As I’ve been recently reminded, the lesson is just as applicable in 2017 as it was in 2007.
The past six months have been a whirlwind. In January we decided to put our house on the market. With two kids under the age of 2, our current house isn’t exactly kid-friendly, with its off-white carpet, broken-up floor plan, and restricted backyard. New construction had started in our area on a house that would be perfect for our family. But for everything to work out, we’d have to sell for the right price at exactly the right time.
I wish I could say that I followed the advice of my 21-year-old self. But there were times that the uncertainty really got to me. I never really doubted that God would work things out in the end, but my heat-of-the-moment faith didn’t even amount to that of a mustard seed.
In early April we got the call that our house had sold and that the transaction would be complete on the exact day that our new house was ready. I was elated. But I also had an overwhelming sense of unworthiness.
I saw in myself the grumbling Israelites complaining about food after crossing the Red Sea. I saw doubting Thomas, steadfast in his unbelief until he could touch the holes in Jesus’ hands. I saw a 21-year-old college student, unsure why God would bring him so far, only to have his vehicle practically disintegrate in a matter of weeks.
Yet that old truck got me through that summer and the rest of college.
God allows us to face uncertainties. But if we return His faithfulness, the path will lead us closer to His purpose. The apostle Paul reminds us, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28).
This isn’t exactly some stunning new spiritual revelation. But maybe you’re stubborn like me and need a reminder in the heat of the moment.
Jimmy Phillips is executive director of marketing for Adventist Health Bakersfield.