By Brian Sharpe
One of my more formative experiences in high school was moving. I was in the middle of my freshman year when my parents came to me and told me that we would be moving from Buffalo, New York to Grand Rapids, Michigan. At that time, I was going to the same high school that my two older brothers had attended. I was having one of my best academic years. I had more friends than I had ever had in my life. I was doing well in sports. My life was going well. I had everything I could have ever wanted, and my parents told me I was moving. That transition was very painful. I went from knowing lots of people to only knowing my parents; all my siblings were out of the house at that point. It was a lonely time in my life. I mean, I could talk to people on the phone, but I had no one I could be with.
I look back at that experience in high school and realize that my family moving was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Now, God did not ask me if I would like to move. God didn’t even tell me that this experience was going to be for my benefit. I’m not sure I would have listened to Him if He had told me. But, looking back, God used that experience to get a hold of my heart and my life. I’m not sure if I would be in ministry today if I had not moved.
God is in the business of guiding and directing our lives. He is writing our story. I guess the question is, “Do we trust Him to write the best story for us?” When I was in high school, it wasn’t a matter of trusting God. In fact, I’m not sure if I was mad at God or if I understood that God was in control. I was too busy looking at my circumstances and not trusting in Him. I have learned since then that I can trust God. I can trust that He is good. I can trust that He knows what He is doing. I can trust Him with the details of my life. I just need to live in obedience and follow His lead.
I couldn’t have predicted all the good that came out of me moving. The opportunities I had because of that move were amazing. I was able to go sailing for 10 days in the British Virgin Islands. I was able to go to Mexico and Guatemala in college on missions trips. I had a friend that was a graduate of New Tribes Bible Institute who encouraged me to go there, and that is where I met my wife. While at New Tribes, I had a friend who after graduation went to Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so I went to Lancaster Bible College. When I graduated from Lancaster, my wife and I applied to churches in New York and Washington, where both of us were from, and God opened the door for me to come to Elim.
Looking back, God knew what he was doing. He knew the work that needed to be done in my life to bring me to Himself and to use me. We never know what God is going to use in our life to bring Him glory, but what we do know is that no experience is wasted in God’s economy. Even the most painful experiences can be used to bring God glory. We can be thankful to God in everything because we know God will use our experience to mold us and shape us into who He wants us to be. In this season, we can be thankful because God is writing His story on our hearts.
What’s the story that He’s writing on your heart? What experiences have you had that you feel have been wasted? Are you trusting God and the story He’s writing? Do you invite others into this story that God is writing? In the next couple weeks, we’re going to invite you to write this God story for others to see. Please open up and let us see what God is doing in and through you.