"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring
My beautiful wife and I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog together to record all our adventures in this next stage in life. We are planning on updating it weekly and taking turns sharing our thoughts on life, theology, and our adventures. We are moving to Oxford in 15 days! I thought I would start off the blog sharing about how we saw Jesus work in our life this past year.
Before Lauren and I moved to New Jersey in August of 2011 I really wrestled with the theological concept the will of God. I learned that "the will of God" is a homonym (where two or more words have the same spelling but have different meanings) when used in Scripture. So for example, the will of God could refer to God's sovereign will or God's moral will or God's secret will. We as humans tend to want to know God's secret will like who should we marry or should I move or not. But Scripture talks more about us trusting God's sovereignty over all things (His Sovereign will) and loving Him by keeping His commandments (His Moral will). Yet we freak out about what the future holds for us (His Secret will) and the prospect of us making a "wrong" decision about what God wants us to do.
But the good news is that we are to follow the example of Abraham who "went out not knowing where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8). The great reformer John Calvin said of this text that “God told Abraham, 'Close your eyes and take my hand.'” And that is what God whispered to my heart through His Word. I don't want you to think that it was easy for us to just pack up everything and leave Miami. I mean come on, who would want to leave Miami for New Jersey? But in God's sovereignty I would have never even applied to Oxford if we hadn't moved here!
I remember when we moved here we moved into an illegal basement, unbeknownst to us at the time, and Hurricane Irene flooded our place two weeks after we moved in. It was horrible. We ended up having to move all our stuff with my hungover Indian neighbor (I'm not making this up) on October 30th, which for some bizarre reason snowed the night before and got up to about 20 inches of snow.
We also couldn't find jobs right away too. I remember sitting down with Lauren a week before Thanksgiving and telling her if we don't get jobs by Thanksgiving we will just move back to Miami. I started to think I made a mistake and maybe God didn't lead us here. I felt like a failure. How could I go back to Miami like this? I was broke, discouraged, and angry at God. How could He mess up my plans like this? When I walked into church that Sunday Dr. Tim Keller preached on Job and the verse that humbled my prideful heart was Job 38:3 where God tells Job, "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me!" I really needed that rebuke from Rev. Keller that Sunday.
It was at this moment that God showed up bigger than I ever would have expected. Not only did we both land really good jobs but the Lord also blessed us with a fantastic place and great Bulgarian landlord. God needed to humble me when I moved here before He could bless us. I thank God for His lovingkindness and covenant with us. We don't hold onto God, He holds onto us! Isn't this a picture of the gospel? Jesus died for us while we were His enemies! He will never leave us nor forsake us.
I also want to thank my father in law Pablo (yes he is from Hialeah) for never doubting me or putting me down during that tough trial. He would talk to me weekly on the phone and encourage me and give me advice. Even when other people in Miami were questioning my decision to move he stood by our side and believed in us. Young men I pray that you have a father in law who doesn't look down on you but trusts in you and encourages you. I love you Pablo and am extremely grateful for you!