Part 1, Getting in God’s Wagon
As I sit on my patio in Lafayette, I am overcome, humbled, and awed at the journey upon which God has carried me. Several years ago, a dear brother in Moldova said to me, “We need to see where God’s wagon is going and ask if we can get on board to ride with Him.”
I must say that riding in God’s wagon is amazing! Over my lifetime, I have often ridden in my own wagon, but I have experienced the most joy when I found God’s wagon and got onboard.
I rode in my wagon all the time for the first sixteen years of my life. God blessed me with a Christian mom and a tolerant father, and I accepted Christ as my Savior at sixteen. I was in God’s wagon for a bit but didn’t know how to stay in it. For a newly saved teenager in the turbulent seventies, the ride was bumpy, and I wasn’t sure how to hang on. I don’t mean my salvation. That was secured by Christ. I mean I didn’t know how to stay in God’s wagon. Sometimes, I didn’t even realize I had bounced out of His wagon and was riding in my own or walking down the path of life oblivious to God’s plan.
Yet, God was working His plan. I’m so thankful that I am not powerful enough to ruin His plan for me! As I moved beyond high school, I focused on my wagon. I didn’t even look for God’s wagon. However, that was not a problem for God. He simply twisted the road to take me where He wanted me to go!
I joined the Air Force upon graduation from high school, partly to learn a trade and partly for the educational benefits. God used my Air Force career to provide me with several blessings: a godly wife, more cross-cultural exposure, high tech training, and a college education. While in Spain in the Air Force, I participated in planting a church for the US military stationed at Torrejón Air Base. God also blessed us with two children while we were stationed in Spain. That was when I started looking for what God was doing and where His wagon was going so I could get on board.
God reminded me about a yearning for missions he had given me in my junior Sunday school class. Sensing God’s calling to ministry, I attended a Christian University and Seminary, earning a B.A. in Bible and a Master of Religious Education. God blessed my wife, Kathy and me with two more children and graciously allowed me to serve in many evangelistic and teaching ministries during those years. He also gave me the honor of serving as a pastor for three of those years. God’s wagon then took us to Spain to serve as missionaries.
God gave me the amazing opportunity to serve as the director of the Baptist Bible Institute of Torrejón. During that time, He enabled me to develop curriculum for training pastors and church leaders. I had realized my dream, yet all was not well, and it took a while for me to realize I was habitually getting out of God’s wagon to take my own excursions.
Tune in next week for The Bumpiest Wagon Ride.