Back in the early nineties, Richard (my husband) and I began to discuss the possibility of changing our church membership of almost ten years. We were longing for a more modern worship style and saw no signs of change in sight. After many months, we narrowed our prospects to two or three churches and were anticipating our departure.
In the meantime, we had agreed to attend a spiritual renewal weekend. The men attended first, and the women’s retreat followed two weekends later. We were excited about the opportunity to be away with the Lord in this “between churches” season.
Richard’s seventy-two hours became a personal revival—I could see it on his face when he came in the door that Sunday night. As he debriefed, I began to long for my own upcoming retreat in earnest.
After sharing many details, he finally broached the subject he had tactfully saved for last. Speaking deliberately, he explained that during the retreat the Lord had revealed that we were not to leave our church—we were to stay planted. When I had words with which to reply, I vehemently sputtered that the Lord had certainly not revealed that fact to me, and that he had obviously missed God, to which he wisely responded that we would just wait and see.
About halfway through the last day of my retreat, the Lord spoke to me too. One moment I was blissfully unaware, and the next moment I understood conclusively: We were to stay in our home church. Period. My predetermined will struck God’s solid, immoveable will like a speeding car smashes into a fortified steel guardrail.
Shaken and sick, I began to cry tears of genuine grief. My obedience was requested. We were being asked to remain, but in that moment I couldn’t fathom God’s reasoning. It took the perspective of many years to understand the why. In the meantime we chose to obey and stayed.
What followed were deep cuts in my arrogant attitudes—ouch, followed by coursework in humility—double ouch. Some of my most cherished life lessons were gained because I obeyed and was forced to learn them.
To my surprise our church also underwent reconstruction in God’s gentle timing. Now I know from experience that the Lord can change anyone—even me. And seeing revival in my home church was well worth the wait. Blessing always follows obedience.