It was April, 1996. My husband sat at the kitchen table, his head in his hands. “It’s time for a change,” he said. “I’m simply not interested in doing this any longer.”
My husband was a successful civil engineer. His income had allowed us to design and build a lakefront home four years prior. We also owned a speed boat—a toy that provided tons of fun for family and friends. Humanly speaking, we had it all and the future held promise for more.
Despite his success, however, Gene felt a growing restlessness. He liked his work but sensed God nudging him another direction—into fulltime Christian camping ministry. Trouble was, the camp to which He nudged us provided no income. In fact, we were offered a year-long internship during which time we were to survive on savings. After that, the director said, we’d have to raise our own financial support if he offered us a permanent position.
The thought of facing such financial insecurity didn’t exactly thrill us, but saying yes to God did. We knew that, if this was nudging was truly God-given, then He would provide for our family’s needs. Our job was to obey. And so, we put our lovely lakefront home up for sale and began planning our move.
Telling the story like this sounds so trite, as though saying yes to God was easy. I assure you, it was not. Our knees knocked; we knelt on them every day, sometimes more than once. And for good reason.
Saying yes carried a risk. It meant ending Gene’s career and future with a growing company. It meant having no guaranteed monthly income, nothing for retirement, and no extended dental or orthodontic care (with kids in braces). It also carried personal cost. For Gene, it meant leaving his homeland (the U.S.) and his extended family behind. For our kids, it meant saying goodbye to friends, teachers, and the church family in which they’d grown up.
Some friends envied our adventuresome spirit. Others said we were crazy. One fellow nicknamed us Abram and Sarai. We laughed, but we could relate to the Old Testament couple. God gave them a command, too: “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go into the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). How did Abram respond? Despite risk and personal cost, he departed as the LORD had instructed (v. 4).
Abram’s example encouraged us to say yes to God 15 years ago. We did it again in 2007 when He nudged us to leave the camp and launch International Messengers Canada. Saying yes once again forced us to face risk and personal cost. But the journey has taught us so much about the Lord that we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
One thing I’ve learned: When God says go, His followers are faced with a choice. If we claim to trust Him, then saying yes is our only valid option. The details are God’s responsibility; obedience is ours.
Have you experienced a similar challenge? If so, tell us about it!