March 19, 2008

Prayer for Guidance and Wisdom

He was (I think) eleven years old when I first met him. Just a kid. He and his mom were at a weekend family camp that my family also attended. Our two families were the only first-timers at the camp. The only ones who weren't "in the know" regarding all the camp traditions. The only ones who felt so out of place at that camp.

That immediately drew me to him.

A year or two later, he was one of the campers at the youth camps where I counseled. I got to know him better as I helped guide him on his faith journey. In the years that followed, I watched him mature. His faith deepened, and his leadership skills grew.

He's in college now. He says that deciding which college to attend was a difficult choice for him. One had a high academic reputation; another, a strong community that would nourish his faith. A prayer, inspired by his decision, reads:

Lord, please walk with me through life, and provide me with guidance as I make important decisions. Please give me the wisdom to see your plans for me, and strength to stick with the path that you guide me along.

Lately, I've been praying a similar prayer, since I am at an important crossroads myself. When I resigned my previous pastoral position, I did it because I knew it was the right thing for the church I was serving. My father had invited my family to live with him until I found a new call, and I figured that I could easily find temporary work that, when combined with the money we had managed to save, would provide for my family. After all, I had done temporary work before, in the mid 1990s.

Alas, this is not the mid 90s. There are no jobs, especially in a city that is still recovering from a TV & movie writers' strike. Even if there were, potential employers wonder why a pastor with a master's degree is interested in what is considered an entry-level job.

So, the saved-up money is gone. Bank accounts are now in the red. I've stood in line at the welfare office and have had phone conversations with the unemployment office. I've told my kids, "No, you can't buy a book at the book fair. No, you can't go to the nature camp over spring break that I'd promised you." My wife has now found work at a preschool, which is keeping the situation from becoming any worse, but on the other hand, it's not doing much to make it better. And like that young man in college, I'm wondering now if the choice I'd made was the right one.

There is hope. I am now in conversation with a congregation about becoming their pastor. As far as I can tell so far, we'd be a good fit, which is good, since I will not accept any position just because I need a job. Only if I sense that this is the place to which God is calling me will I go.

In the meantime, I have that prayer to guide me.

1 comment:

kathy a. said...

wishing you well, danny.

i was so intrigued by your post at jo(e)'s, since i was born in burbank and grew up in north hollywood. my dad was all over griffith park in his youth. we could probably compare notes for days.