For this post to make much sense, you will need to have read “No Longer A Pastor” from a little over a month ago. What a ride this has been for my wife and I (and Ezra, but he is blissfully unaware). I am not going to share every detail because I am almost finished with my 5th book that will tell the entire story. For the most part, it is a collection of raw journal entries from throughout this process. We are hoping that this “waiting” part of the story is nearing an end. We shall see.
Two weeks ago I finally, finally, finally cracked the code. I received “the” email for which we have longed. A university in England had shortlisted me. I was one of the final candidates for a Ph.D. scholarship in Philosophy. If won, they would pay for part of the doctorate and provide a yearly stipend. My wife and I were so excited. HOPE! Maybe we We didn’t give up both jobs and our house for nothing. Now it all made sense. God was doing this. Surely Daddy would not let us get this close to our dream and all that we have sacrificed for only to let us be disappointed.
The 20-minute interview with three professors in England went well. We just “knew” we had it. The three profs said that an email would arrive the next day informing me of their decision.
I woke up at 3:45am the next day to go to work (a little overtime). The email awaited. My application was declined. Again. What is more disappointing, to not get an interview or to get that close and watch it slip away? At 3:45am I woke my wife up to share the news. We were so sad and disheartened. I whispered to her, “I don’t know how to get out of bed and do this day.” But I did. I am a man and my family depends upon me. That is enough. That is what my dad always did and there is nobody I would rather be like than my dad. I love you dad.
We made it through that day and were actually doing okay though it was hard. Then Friday and Monday happened. A university up in Spokane (where so many of our berst friends are) contacted me and offered an adjunct position. Yet, it was not enough to move my family across the United States. We turned it down. I could not believe it. Nothing else loomed on the horizon. This was our last security blanket. If we give this up, we have nothing pending, only a blank horizon.
I cannot believe the faith of my wife. Once again, she spurned comfort, rejected security, and looked me in the eye and said, “This story demands a big finish. The Lord did not take us all of this way for one course.” Most men are married to wives that after a month or so of the heartache and disappointment we have experienced, would have called it quits. But not my wife. In our low moments we look at each other and say, “We are dreamers.” So a door opened and we shut it.
Monday night was hard. I had been declined in England and we had shut the only door that has opened thus far. We knelt beside our bed and prayed a VERY honest and messy prayer.
The next day a young lady who knows very little of our situation read my blog post, “No Longer a Pastor” from over a month ago. She called Allison and told her that she does not do this kind of thing but that she felt that she HAD to call and deliver the message, “Don’t give up.” The Lord had finally spoke. We had not heard him in months. It was good to hear his voice (see John 3:29).
And then Wednesday happened. While at work, I received an email from another university in England. It had been several months since I applied at this school. Shortlisted again! Another interview! How could this be? They informed me that initially, their quota for scholarships was full. They now have more to give and without having to reapply chose my application for consideration. I get another chance. 30 minutes with a few British folk in a couple of weeks. It’s actually quite fun.
What is more interesting is that this is a Christian university and they are interested in reclassifying Ph.D. proposal from the field of Philosophy to Theology & Religion. What is God up to?
Paul wrote, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Our hearts have been ripped out, put back together and given wings, ripped out again, and now given wings once more. What a process. What a journey thus far.
But it’s our fault. Since February, Allison and I have been crying out to the Lord, “We want to go on the adventure of a lifetime.” God’s adventure. A new land. New people. New places in nature to behold. New experiences. And do it all, ultimately, for his glory.
I’ll keep you posted.