“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson.
God stories are my favorite. I love to hear people tell of their God stories, especially the ones that require leaps of faith. It continues to encourage me as a Christian to take more steps of faith. Meaning, taking steps in a direction without knowing the outcome, but trusting God and knowing He has you. In the Bible there are countless stories of faith from Noah, obeying God and building the ark (which took countless years before the flood came), and Noah’s trust saved his whole family. To Moses’ journey of leading the Israelites out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Such stories exist today!
I have watched many friends take bold steps of faith in their lives, like Henry and Celia Deneen. Henry was a successful attorney and judge in Columbia with 4 young children when he trusted God and His call to pick up and leave Columbia and leave behind a very successful career. They moved to the West Coast and attended Golden Gate Seminary. They left their comforts—nice house, family, friends, careers, incomes, and moved thousands of miles to Heed God’s call. God’s call didn’t stop in California. It continued after seminary to missions in France, then back to Columbia, and then on to Colorado where he is now the CEO of GEM, Greater European Mission. All the while, his wife, Celia, and their children, Lee, Laura, Leslie, and Layna, cheerfully followed their dad and God’s call on his life. It has been so encouraging and inspiring to watch the obedience and fruit that has come from such a walk of faith and obedience. Lee is now in his second year of Law School at the University of Georgia. Laura is in Nashville with a budding music career. Leslie is a junior at Clemson. And Layna is a talented soccer player in high school in Colorado. Celia is still impacting kids as she has always done by being a guidance counselor in a public school. God has blessed this family, providing for them as their lives have zigzagged all over the map while trusting God to guide them. Picking up and moving their entire family countless times, all the while leaving friends, jobs, and comforts to go to the next place. The very cool thing is the COUNTLESS LIVES that God has touched through all 6 of them and still does.
Bill and I had been married just a year when we moved to Columbia. It was Henry and Celia that reached out to Bill and me and became our friends. Henry knew of Bill from USC and had heard we moved to Columbia. As characterized by their whole lives now, they reached out to us, invested in us, and became our friends. Now I can trace back the number of close friends we have who are an extension of the Deneens’ outreach in our lives, including our church home of 26 years. At the time, Henry and Celia were the College Ministers at Shandon Baptist. It was their influence and encouragement that prompted us to not be just church members, but to contribute.
I could write pages or write for days of the influence the whole Deneen family has had on our family and others. There is a STRONG POINT I would like to make here……….deciding to trust God….. most of the time making that decision may not make sense to you or to those around you. When the Deneens decided to move to San Francisco, I was shocked, concerned, and nervous for them. It truly did not make a whole lot of sense to me. They have been “role models” to me of living the faith chapter of Hebrews 11. They have demonstrated to me and countless others, IF we do not trust, we are limited to our own resources. We weren’t created to do it all on our own. WE were created to TRUST AND OBEY GOD, and allow our faith to grow by TRUSTING GOD as our PROVIDER. Their lives have taught me many things. Allow me to list them and allow them to encourage and challenge you:
- Dare to be Vulnerable.
- Ask yourself, “What do I need to TRUST GOD for?”
- TRUST GOD’S CHARACTER and not any particular outcome.
- Trust God even when you don’t understand.
- Seek God and ask HIM where in your life do you need to have FAITH and be obedient even when it doesn’t make sense.
- Decide what needs to change for you to trust and define the steps you need to take to make the change.
- Rewrite your “Map,” if necessary. It is NEVER TOO LATE for God to add a zigzag or two.
- Take the ACTION STEPS. “PULL THE TRIGGER!’
By doing these things “YOUR LIFE WILL BE LARGER AND IT WILL ALLOW YOU TO BE USED BY GOD TO BE MORE SIGNIFICANT, not just in your own life but in the LIVES of OTHERS.”
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6