Last night I sat around a table with my children, my husband and one of our closest friends. When we met this family a year and a half ago it was as if they were long lost friends. No, make that family. This friendship was orchestrated, no doubt, by God. We instantly formed a deep connection and knew that God united our families for His purposes. We all agreed that he didn’t just bring us together for friendship, though that is the icing on the cake, but that he had bigger plans beyond that. We just weren’t sure what. Jason and Stephen quickly went into business together, these two are like Peanut Butter and Jelly. They were meant to be partners. As far as the business world and making money goes the possibilities could be endless with this duo. So they began conspiring all the ways God could use their financial gain for His mission. Over the last year I have seen them work hard, make money, mentor employees and give when they’d rather keep. Being “bosses” has allowed our families to practice hospitality and love on individuals who work for us in unique ways. We constantly pray and point them to the God we serve, Who is gracious, and loving, and the reason we get to do what we do. But every time our families come together, we talk and wonder if God is calling us to do something else. There’s just this weight on our hearts for the scores of people, especially in our area, who have no relationship with Christ. We want to reach them! And while we know that God can continue to use us right where we are, we all have wondered if He is calling us to more. More risk, more generosity, more letting go, less safety, less convenience, less comfort. Last nights conversation was no different,….. Except that as we sat together, our families were suddenly hit, simultaneously yet unrelated, with the reality that everything you have can be taken from you in an instant.
A small storm came through yesterday with a trajectory, it seems, straight for Papa Johns. We had already been dealing with roof issues that the landlord neglected to take care of. Yesterday as the bottom fell out of the sky so did the roof inside Papa Johns. “Would you like your pizza soggy or soaked?” That was the joke cracking wit of my daughter Micaila. The store was floating and we’ll be shut down for I don’t even know how long. I’m thinking not only about our investment but our employees (and maybe how now I have to cook tonight ) And then I get a call from my friend asking for prayer because they are at risk of losing everything they own. Being a small business owner is no cake walk. Fortunately we do have insurance and lawyers and all sorts of things to protect us. But even greater, we reminded each other that we serve a God Who is the ultimate source of protection. As we sat together, what I was most encouraged by with these two men was how they acknowledged Gods sovereign hands in the midst of this. They weren’t scared, bitter, angry, or complaining. Neither men were worrying about the future except in the way that they don’t want to miss what God is trying to impress on them.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Francis Chan
We put a lot on the table last night. And I pray that our families would continue to walk in obedience and grace as God leads us each day. I’m so thankful for His provision, thankful for my husband and our friends who encourage my faith daily, and thankful for the security found in Him.
This couldn’t be more fitting. From Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
“……And what we will be has not yet been made known.” 1 John 3:2
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises……….Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.