This past week marked the fifth anniversary of my move to California from Ohio. A lot has happened over the past five years; I came to California as a single nomad with a car full of clothes, a few hundred dollars to my name, and not much else. Now, I am married with a child, I have planted and am pastoring a church with a team of men that are some of the best mentors, friends, and brothers I could ever ask for, and I couldn't be more excited about what God has in store for the future. As I was reflecting over the past five years of my life I have certainly seen God's hand upon my life in numerous ways. The more I reflected and recalled there were two things from the early days of my move that stood out...
1) I remember after a couple of months of being in Cali I was in despair. I had no job (although I was applying like mad), I had no car (it broke down immediately after I got to LA), I missed my family (everyone was back in Ohio), and I had no money (money goes much faster in the South Bay than it does in my hometown), so I said to the Lord, " I am yours." Now this wasn't the first time that I have uttered these words, but this was the first time I meant these words.
2) After that, I remember beginning to experience joy despite my circumstances. Of course, we can all be happy when things are going our way, but for the very first time I was able to see that even in my roughest trials that God cared for me and was shaping me through my difficulties.
They say that hindsight is 20/20 and I suppose that is true in a sense. As I look back now, I can see that God brought me on "the road west" to strip me of the things that I used to identify myself. He brought me to the realization that I am His because He says, "You are mine!" When I finally understood that I am His and He is mine, I also came to know that insurmountable joy arises from the understanding of being a child of God.
We are able to become children of the one true God all because Christ died once for all. More than that, He rose from the dead; proving that He reigns over all things, even death. Are you His child? Has he taken you on a road different than the one you would have chose for yourself? Could the difficulties that you are now experiencing be an opportunity to cry out to God? The road west (with all of its potholes, bumps, and construction delays) is not the road that I would have chose for myself, but it is the road that God gave me. While I was on that road He began to teach me to seek Him and that He was able to fill some potholes, to smooth over some bumps, and to finish the construction. What might God be revealing to you as you cruise, coast, or get into a collision on your road?