My husband and I recently took a leap of faith…and in the process, our faith was challenged.
For me, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the amazing love of God and I wanted to share the experience with all of you, hoping you too find encouragement in whatever situations you are currently facing.
First, a little background. My husband is a public school math teacher in a district that is quickly becoming more and more liberal. We don’t live far from another state with generally more conservative values. He’s also much older than I am so he’s been thinking of things like retirement and how we could pay off our mortgage faster so we’d be in a better place financially.
All of these financial concerns and current job frustrations led to a recurring topic of prayer about this time last year. And then came a somewhat-crazy idea. What if he retired in our state and got a job in the other state? In addition to a better teaching environment, the combination of a teaching salary and beginning to collect his state retirement would allow us to pay off our mortgage in just about two years. Win-win.
Yes, it was a bit out-of-the-box when it came to planning for the future, but we spent a lot of time praying for wisdom. And did all the due diligence of number-crunching our budget and researching the actual retirement benefit he could receive while also asking others for their advice.
Once we determined this plan wasn’t as crazy as we thought, my husband started applying for jobs. First, he’d get the job, then worry about the paperwork like transferring his teaching license since he’d have all summer to handle the logistics. Except while there were many jobs available, he wasn’t called for interviews.
But the longer the process continued, the more sure he felt that it was just a matter of time. So, in our first real step of faith, he went ahead and applied for his teaching license out of state. Then took a football coaching position at a high school across the border.
Even with last-minute interviews for a couple jobs in August, fall rolled around and still we waited. The more he prayed, the more sure he was that it was still going to happen…just not until the fall of 2019 at the earliest. Football season was difficult with long drives and relationship building…and no visible signs that it would pay off.
Then, just days after his birthday, a job suddenly opened up at the high school where he coached. The timing actually meant he’d get a higher percentage benefit at retirement so maybe God had said “No” before in order to bless us now? And by interviewing, his willingness to branch out into a special education support position impressed the principal. Except he didn’t get that job.
What was God trying to teach us? Patience? We kept on praying and my husband kept on teaching and we resigned ourselves to waiting for the following school year again.
Then a new job popped up over Christmas break and the principal made sure to let my husband know about it. He applied. He interviewed right before Martin Luther King Junior day. After another week of waiting, he was offered the job!
After praying for so long and doing our research multiple times, the reality of a real job felt very different. And very scary. On the one hand, getting the offer with a start date in February, meant he would now get the maximum benefit allowed at retirement without having to buy a few months of service credit. However, there was no guarantee of the new job’s salary or the job continuing into the next school year or even of a football coaching salary. And if he didn’t give his current district 30 days notice, he could forfeit a month’s salary.
Suddenly, my husband was second-guessing the wisdom of making the jump. Unless something changed, we could find ourselves with only his retirement benefit to live off of instead of drawing multiple income streams.
However, the more we talked about his hesitation, the more I realized there are no guarantees in life. Especially in the current teaching climate he worked in. So, we calculated the worst case scenarios as if he didn’t get a second contract in the fall and realized that while things would be tight, it was possible to find income from other sources to bridge the gap.
On the heels of those human revelations, I felt convicted that we were trusting a back-up safety net of a contract more than God’s provision. And now that God was giving us the gift we’d been praying for and working toward for so long, were we really about to turn it down out of fear and uncertainty?
Then came a coincidence that only God could orchestrate. Unknown to me, back when my husband first started praying for doors to open across the state line, there was a certain verse that leaped off the page and gave him the peace to pursue this avenue. Then over the weekend as we debated and prayed about accepting the job, he stumbled upon that exact same verse during his normal Bible reading time. A time when he simply turned the page from the last chapter he’d read…and came upon the reminder. But he didn’t say a word to me, just thought about i might mean.
Except that wasn’t all. Sunday morning when I got up, my first conscious thought was of the job and whether we’d take it or not…and a certain verse popped into my head. All through my personal quiet time, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to tell my husband that verse. So I did…and he just stared at me. Okay, whatever. At least I was obedient. And then we got to church and the sermon message had that exact same verse…in the same Message translation that my husband first encountered almost a year ago.
“I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11 The Message)
Sometimes God’s faithfulness in answering prayer results in a virtual neon sign screaming “I’ve got this! Trust me!”
So we took the leap and accepted the job offer. And only then did the 30-day waiting period turn into a few weeks making both the old and new boss happy. And our question about the salary schedule was answered favorably. And the back-up safety net football contract is being actively pursued. And he starts the new job tomorrow!
And I’m going to print out that verse and stick it front-and-center on our refrigerator.
Because how do you know when to take a leap of faith? When you fully trust in the One who is waiting there to catch you. The One who has it all planned out and promised not to abandon you. As a home of formation, AWKNG School of Theology prepares men and women for the personal, academic, ministerial and spiritual formation essential for their conversion to Jesus Christ and for their commitment to a life of service to the church.
What about you? Have you ever hesitated to take a leap of faith? When does human wisdom factor into making a decision? And how do you know when to take the leap and fully trust God to be there?