Ryan Miller | Family Pastor
A few weeks ago Pastor Brian preached a message about the will of God. In the message he stated that sometimes God’s will is, “I don’t care”. I have to admit, when I first heard him say that I got a little defensive. Like many people who depend on God as their guide I had suffered through periods of wonder and confusion trying to figure out what God had in store for me and my family. To hear him pretty much say that all of the work I invested into trying to figure it all out was a waste struck a nerve. As I listened to the message though it became clear that the point was not that God doesn’t care, but rather He is going to take care of whatever decision we make.
I remember facing graduation from college almost 10 years ago. I found myself flooded with all kinds of emotions like excitement, anxiety and nervousness. To compound all of those emotions, I was engaged and faced some major life changes over the course of about 6 months. Little did I know the totality of the changes yet to come. In early spring of my senior year I visited a church in Charleston, SC that was hiring a Children’s Pastor. Things moved fairly quickly and I soon found myself with a job offer to join this church. It was a great church and great opportunity, but I still found myself praying for God’s will. Ashley and I prayed for signs and for God to continue to open doors if this was right. Everything seemed perfect and every door opened so we planned on moving to Charleston. Shortly after I graduated college I hopped in my car and drove to Charleston to begin my life in ministry.
After only a couple of weeks there I found myself sick (literally) and alone. It was not what I had anticipated. For the next 3 months I tried to make the best of it and thought it would get better as soon as Ashley and I were married and she could be there with me. Unfortunately, it never got to that point. Two weeks before our wedding I found myself unemployed and living with my parents. It was a rough time to say the least. As we reflected on what happened, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves what we did wrong. We thought we had heard God and it was His will for us to be there. So why did this happen? I truly don’t know if we missed it and got caught up in the hype and excitement or if it was God’s will to be at a place for only 4 months. Sure I have learned some lessons from the situation, but can I be honest and say the pain still lingers in my life.
As we faced the future as a married couple, we decided to purposefully slow down and take our time. Unfortunately the opportunities weren’t there and we found ourselves questioning God and His will for our marriage and future. We took the one and only opportunity we had to move to Georgia and volunteer at a church. Life became extremely difficult yet again as things did not turn out as we had hoped. It turned into three years of pain and difficulty. Once Ashley finished her Master’s degree we began looking for a full-time position in ministry. I sent resume after resume, had interview after interview and nothing was happening. Again we asked ourselves, “What is going on God?” We knew we were called to ministry, we knew we loved working with students, why was nothing working? A year into the process and nothing. We really were questioning God’s will for our lives.
Just as I was about to give up, which I never do, an opportunity arose. As you can imagine we were a little gun shy and wanted to take our time. Again we prayed, fasted and sought God’s will. I would love to say that God spoke to us in a vision or voice, but he didn’t. Truly what I felt about this opportunity was no different than what I felt in Charleston, or in Georgia. It was a peace that God will take care of us no matter what the situation. As badly as I wanted to find the perfect place for ministry and my family, I was learning that no place we ended up would be perfect, but that the God we served was. My situation couldn’t dictate the nature of my God.
Even after being at Open Door for over five years, I am faced with moments of stepping out in faith. Instead of asking God for the perfect outcome or situation, I am being challenged to trust Him to be perfect in any outcome or situation. There may be no right or wrong, it may just be what it is. You see, I have found myself reflecting on my time in Charleston and Georgia and asking one of the most harmful questions, “What if?” My mind has been filled with false pictures of what could have happened instead of focusing on what did happen. While it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t what I would have chosen, God still allowed it to change my life. If you will allow God to take even the situations you hated he can make something beautiful out of them and out of you.
If given the choice to go back and do things differently during those first four years of my marriage and ministry, I absolutely would. But I can’t. So instead, I choose to take what I have experienced and allow God to change me. I will continue to trust God in any and all situations and know that sometimes he doesn’t care what decision I make, but he most certainly always cares about me.