Call Waiting

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A blog that I faithfully read is titled My Way Home. I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already.  It is not only excellently written, but the topics are timely and presented with a transparency I can only hope to attain someday.  It was in responding to a recent post there that caused me to offer this fuller explanation of how our ever-faithful God showered me with His patience, waiting for me to answer His call.

Before cell phones became a ‘necessity,’ most folks had a phone (or two) placed strategically in their homes.  One of the innovations of that era was Call Waiting, a service provided by the phone company that alerted to you to an incoming call during a call already in progress.  I know it doesn’t sound like much know, but twenty some years ago it was a big deal.

But enough about ancient phone technology, suffice to say I would ask you to keep the idea of Call Waiting in mind as you plow through the following.  As many of you know, I started my journey of recovery from alcoholism in 1991.  From a detox to in patient rehab; I then dove wholeheartedly into AA.  It was their teaching that to recover one must rely on a ‘power greater than ourselves’ that I came to know Jesus Christ as Savior.  I’d gone to church every Sunday as a kid and heard all the stories; they simply didn’t mean anything to me.  That is until I was faced with the prospect of a slow and lonely death if something didn’t change in my life.

As the length of time away from a drink continues to grow, so did my trust in Jesus.  I counted on Him to not only keep me sober, but also to live my life in a responsible way.  Little things that had always been beyond me, like working and paying bills, became things I could do with the Lord’s leading.

I didn’t feel the need to go back to organized religion, for I had all I needed on a daily basis in this gift of sobriety.  I did not object, however, when my wife suggested we start going to church again, for the kids.  It is as I starting attending services regularly during this time that the story of Call Waiting began.

After being with this wonderful group of people that made up my new church family a short time, I became involved in various activities.  There was choir and bible study and fellowship dinners as well as other ministry activities.  I did many of them, enjoying a freedom in my spirit I had never known.

I also began to take an active role in caring for and about others.  Visiting folks in the hospital or those who were home bound became very important to me.  It seemed only right to give back in some way after having done so much damage caring only about me and my wants.  As I look back, it was during this time that God’s Call Waiting started to happen.

All of a sudden, it seemed to me, various people that I had contact doing these various ministry tasks started to tell me that I had a ‘pastor’s heart.’ I smiled and nodded at these kind words, thinking to myself they had me confused with someone else.  I was barely scratching the surface of learning how to take care of myself and my young family; surely this pastor business was not for me.

While hoping in my heart of hearts that these comments would die a peaceful death, they in fact became more frequent and were now being followed with questions like: “You really ought to look into this,” and the big one, “This is God’s calling for you.”

Well, I thought, if it was God calling, He was going to have to wait.  I had debts to pay and a wife and children I wanted to spend time with.  Being a pastor seemed at that time to entail lousy working hours with little pay.  I was all for helping out, when it was convenient, but not full time.  No, that call was going to have to wait.

If I’ve learned anything in this Christian walk all these years, it’s that you cannot out-wait God.  He left that line open all those years.  I eventually saw that there was a call on the other line, if you will, but I was still not picking up.

I am ever so glad He is as patient as He is.  For once I did answer the call to be a pastor, I have found some of the greatest blessings in those lousy hours and the pay scale is truly unmatched.  What God was calling me to is so much better than my own best plan could ever be, but He let me figure that out over time.

Part of me wants to apologize for leaving Him on hold for so long but yet the larger portion of my heart is grateful for His patience.  All that time that I thought I was doing my things my way; He was working on my heart to be able to trust Him more; which most certainly worth the wait!

How about you? What’s God calling you to do.

Thanks for reading,

Pastor Chuck