It was just another ordinary day when the letter arrived. It plopped quietly onto the front door mat, along with the free newspaper and several bills, and lay there for a while before my husband picked it up.
I looked over his shoulder as he opened the envelope, and tried to focus on the words amidst the noise of our young sons charging up and down the stairs.
Dear David, it said. We, at the preachers’ meeting, have been praying about who God might call to become a local preacher. We wondered whether this was something you might consider?
I stopped reading. I was a little astonished. My husband was a sales rep. He sold home improvement products. Surely he wasn’t being called to preach?
You’re not going to do that, are you? I asked incredulously.
I might. David replied.
I was astounded. I had been brought up in the church all my life. My dad was a local preacher, but I wasn’t prepared for this. I can still remember the tone of my voice that day. And I can still hear what I said next, even though it was over thirty years ago. I’m not proud of it.
Well listen David, I fumed, You can become a local preacher (as if he needed my permission) but just don’t tell me you want to be a pastor…because I want to choose my own carpets.
I don’t think he answered me. And even if he had, I wasn’t listening. My mind was off somewhere, flying down the road of self pity, imagining a life of poverty and parsonage living; a road that took me away from the cute little home we owned, with its newly built conservatory and leaded windows; a road that led to houses I would never own, and carpets I could never choose.
And that is exactly what happened. A few years later we packed up, left the only home we had ever owned, and spent the next thirty years traveling that road.
But we never traveled alone. And one day, at one of the curves in that road, God was waiting. I just didn’t see Him at first.
He was sitting quietly in the room at Trinity United Methodist Church, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, listening to the conversation, as my husband and I were introduced to some of our new church family.
We don’t own a parsonage here, one of the members explained. But we’ll give you a housing allowance, and you can buy your own home.
I almost laughed out loud. And I’m sure God was laughing too.
Here I was, over thirty years later, discovering something I had never imagined would be possible:
My husband was still a pastor, and I was about to choose my own carpets….
Two things that I never thought could co-exist together- an impossible combination. But God specializes in the impossible. And while I thought that saying yes to God was synonymous with sacrifice, God knew that saying yes to Him is synonymous with blessing.
And do you know a funny thing? I am no longer interested in carpets. I don’t need them anyway – our lovely new home, which we have owned for the last four years, has beautiful hardwood floors.
And I think about that journey I was so afraid to take, and the road I still travel, with its ups and downs, and curves, and bumps. And this I know:
We never travel alone;
God goes ahead of us;
Helping us climb every hill;
Waiting at every curve;
Stepping in with surprises;
Seeing what we cannot;
And blessing us as we keep walking.
And far, far better, is the road that leads away from the world, and leads us closer to God.