In 1988 my friend John, minister of Broxtowe, noted my decision to avoid a rough council estate in Nottingham in favour of a job in the north-east (slightly less rough in parts) with the words, 'Don't worry Steve; if the Lord wants you, he'll get you.'
Today I've been in the processs of being interviewed for the sort of job John may have had in mind. I'd reached the point of saying that if offered it I'd take it. A sort of Abrahamic, 'Well Lord if you want me to knife my son I will,' moment.
Well there was a ram in the thicket. I don't have the job; someone else does and if it's who I think it is I'm delighted for him and worried for him too. Will pray.
I woke up this morning hoping that, after applying for this job with all my might, I might not get it, then pushing that thought away and treating it as Satan. I wonder if I applied for it with all my might? Who can tell?
The phone call telling me I didn't have the post included the line, 'Thank you for your honesty.' So at least the real me was shown. But would anyone really expect less than honesty of a Christian pastor testing a call to minister in a particular place. I have always found this a conundrum and for one so keen on expressing myself well reckon it may come down to the particular form of words you use when being honest. It starts at a ministry selection conference when you have to balance a sense of calling with a sense of allowing someone else to test that calling. Sort of, 'I think I'm sure.'
Let's leave it at that. If the God who knew about scrambling language in the first place, and puts words into people's mouths, didn't give me the words I needed to express my sense of purpose at the right time then this was not what he wanted. But although what I seemed, in my deep inner self, to want, has happened I feel a little strange about it. Nothing more.
I will be accepting the job I was offered last week, grateful for the opportunity of testing I wasn't avoiding something else in taking it, and looking forward very much to a new challenge. Announcement as soon as all parties agree on timing.