October, glorious October when everywhere we look there are pumpkins around every corner. Fall….the most wonderful time of the year. My oldest son called from New York this morning, where they have gone to attend a wedding. As he began to describe the beautiful leaves that were changing and how the cool air was just so refreshing, it was easy to remember that soon, we, here in Texas will finally get to enjoy that most wonderful cooler air and the feel of Fall.
When Randy (oops, sorry, Peter Pumpkin and I are known as Peter and Penelope Pumpkin during this time of the year) aka, Peter and I began to realize that our travel time for 2019 was drawing to a close back in July and it was time to settle down here in Dallas, we had been praying about the church we would be attending, once we were here. In our minds, we knew that the church where we had belonged for 12 years was probably not an option as we were living in a totally different area of Dallas now. So we began to visit the churches around our new location. There were four churches which we felt would be possibilities. Like everyone, we had a checklist of things that were important to us. Did the church have Sunday School? Did it have a choir? Was it a church that preached that the Bible was the infallible Word of God and were they mission minded? Did they have a traditional service where there was a good mixture of hymns and praise songs?
Were the people friendly? As you can see, we certainly had a list of things that we had told God that was important to us. Why is it, when we are trying to find answers to our needs and questions, we tend to think that we need to tell the Lord what we need, as if He doesn’t know exactly what it is that we need?
As time went by, we had marked off a couple of churches that we did not feel drawn to or that just did not feel was doctrinally correct. But, we still had First Baptist Dallas which we had begun to visit. We loved everything about it. We loved the preaching that was truly so Biblically correct. They music was just amazing and the orchestra, do not even get me started on how this music major loved the beautiful music that was such a huge part of the worship service there. They had terrific Sunday Schools and it was not far from our home. One by one, we would check items off our mental check, each week we visited there. Each visit there we felt brought us closer to thinking that this would probably be the church we would grow old in. BUT God………..you would think that by this time in our lives, we would remember that sometimes our plans are just not lining up with God’s perfect plan for us. We think that just because we have found a place that seems “right”, it might not be what is right for us. This week, on FaceBook, a friend of mine posted a little slogan that has meant a lot to me the last couple of weeks’ Discernment is not the wisdom of knowing right from wrong, but the knowledge of knowing right from almost right.
Was there anything wrong with us making First Bapt Dallas our home church, no. Was it almost right as opposed to right? Well, here is how the Lord spoke to my heart Sunday, Sept 22nd.
We had gone to church that morning as we had the previous 3 Sundays at First Bapt. Wonderful sermon on Revelation and such amazing music. We left there on cloud Nine, and we talked in the car on the way home that we certainly loved the worship time there. But why were both of us not feeling like we should be there? We came home after having lunch and Randy laid down for a nap. This gave me a chance to work on my Bible Study lesson, which is a book on Elijah that I am attending on Wed mornings with a group of women. As I read about Elijah in 1 Kings 19:15-18 when God told him to go back the same way he had come,to fulfill some assignments God was going to use him for, these were the words that jumped off the page to me.
“Sometimes God moves us in new directions, but often He tells us to go back and stay the course. He sends us right back into the same group of people with fresh vision and purpose.” I began to weep. I sensed in my spirit that God was telling us to go back to Prestonwood, our home church before we had moved to California and Arizona. We truly had no intentions of going back there, when we knew we were moving back. It seemed illogical for us. It wasn’t close to where we were living. Why would the Lord call us back? Didn’t He know that it was 20 miles up the tollway? Didn’t He know that we wanted a church that was close by that we could drive our wheelchairs to as time went on? The church has so many new folks that have joined? Why would He ask us to go back? Had I, like Jonah, in the belly of a whale tried to run from God in fulfilling His purpose for us? Did we really think that we would know better than He where we should go?
When Randy woke up I shared how I felt that God has spoke to my heart about this and he agreed that the least we could do was go visit the next Sunday. So visit we did. What joy filled our souls. We left there excited and couldn’t wait for Wednesday night to get here so we could go back to the Wednesday night service they hold the first Wednesday of each month. So night before last, we attending that First Wed service. We got in the car and Randy looked at me and said, that was such a sweet service.” We knew in our hearts that we were being called back there. For what reason, we don’t know yet. But to see friends we have known for years and to just be loved on was such a great blessing.
As the Elijah study continues and I finish the book of lessons, this was in yesterdays study.*”Though we should always be open to new relationships and friendships, we should be careful to treasure the history we have with loyal friends.”
But God….we had prayed for months asking for direction. We knew He would be faithful to lead us and direct our paths. But we still tried to tell God what we thought best. You would think by this time in our lives, we would quit doing that. So thankful that those two little words, “but God” can change our perspective, our knowledge to know that He cares and is involved with the small and large details of our lives. But God…He will always lead us to not just to what is almost right, but what is perfectly right…every time we lean on Him and wait on Him to reveal His perfect plan.
* Elijah, Spiritual Stamina in Every Season by Melissa Spoelstra