“I Wish I Could Fast Forward and Look Back”

Marvin Love is a friend, a local teacher, and a co-worker of mine in the after school program. He is also a playwright, and we had the privilege of seeing his play (“Don’t Count Me Out!, I Will Rise Again”) this past Sunday in Barnwell.

This play was performed last fall (November 6, 2010) at Grace Church in Greenville, SC. My family did not attend. That may seem odd, considering that within 10 weeks I would be living in Allendale. So, why didn’t we go? Because even by that point, Allendale wasn’t even on our radar as a possible place to live and work.

A lot happened between November and January, but there was a bigger story going on. Some of you know that the entire year of 2010 was a transition for us. As I wrote in God Isn’t Safe. But He’s Good., we had been asking God to grow us, and increase our faith, and use us to have an impact. We just couldn’t figure out what He was doing. Being in that season like that flat out sucks.

A few of you know part or all of the story, but here’s a quick recap:

  1. In January, I initiated talks with my boss about my job and struggles I was having. We knew a change needed to happen.
  2. Over the next few months we explored a variety of options: hiring staff under me, hiring staff alongside me, hiring someone above me, re-arranging staff under me, and so on. Every time we went down a path, nothing just felt right. We kept talking and moving.
  3. By mid-summer we concluded that the change that needed to happen was me going off staff as Pastor of Children & Families.
  4. During the next few months, the elders and a few other leaders from Grace Church spent a lot of time and energy shepherding Joanna and I. They knew that this transition was right, but that it would be tough on us.
  5. I pursued other job opportunities. This is a whole other story, but just know that it amazed me as I went from being sure that I would be back working in chemistry in the Greenville area, to considering working for another church, and finally to considering Allendale.
  6. We made our first trip to Allendale in mid-December, and went back a couple weeks later. And before long, I had a job with the Boys & Girls Club and moved here.

It is #4 (elders, leaders, and friends who cared for us) that I’ve been thinking about lately. Why? Because one thing I remember saying to them was,

“I wish I could fast forward a year, and then look back.”

I knew that God was working for our good. I knew that He was going to provide a job for me. I knew that something great was going to come out of this, not just great for us but mostly for His Kingdom purpose.

I love knowing the end of the story when victory is assured (which is one reason that I love the book of Revelation). But enduring what it takes to get there is no walk in the park.

I hated having to make a change. I hated feeling like just maybe I failed at my job. I hated not having a job (well, that part wasn’t all that bad).

But I really hated just not knowing, not being in control. So, that’s why I wished to fast forward. That would have made it all better, right?

If I was in control, I could rely on my own skills, instead of the power of the invisible God. But I would have missed out on this great thing He was doing. I would have missed out on the privilege and adventure of being in Allendale. I would have missed out on how He grew me and drew me to Himself, teaching me that I am not alone.

So, that’s where I was a year ago, wishing I could fast forward through the hard times, so I could look back.

But . . .

Now that I am forward 1 year and looking back, I’m glad that God didn’t let me miss the journey.

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8 responses to ““I Wish I Could Fast Forward and Look Back””

  1. Rodney says :

    Great reflection!

  2. Heather N. says :

    Thanks for being raw with us, Joey. It is good to hear about the journey and about how your heart has felt along the way. I have been thankful for your attitude and your willingness to keep following God and the path he has laid out before you. God has definitely answered your prayers (…to grow you, to increase your faith, and to allow you to have an impact, etc.) What a loving Father that He allows the hard times as well as the good! And to answer your prayers above and beyond what you could imagine. All for His glory!

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