It was 1978 and I was in the Navy, getting ready to transfer off my first submarine to “shore duty.” The man in charge of assigning me to a duty station told me repeatedly that there was no place else for me to go other than where we already were, in San Diego. We had hoped to go to Seattle to be near family but he was adamant so Debbie and I bought a home in San Diego. We had no sooner done so than the assignment man called so say we could go to Seattle. We jumped at the opportunity and moved north, leaving an empty house – which remained empty for the next two years.
With double mortgages to pay, I soon found myself working three jobs. You have got to know that God and I had many conversations on those lonely nights I was headed into the industrial area to clean offices and warehouse bathrooms. “Why is this happening? What did I do wrong? When are You going to fix this? How long do I have to wait?”
Meanwhile, my wife and children were having a wonderful experience being around their grandparents, especially Debbie’s parents who lived close by. Sadly, after we had been in Seattle about two years, a brain aneurysm in Debbie’s mom burst and Norma died quickly. Ah, now I could see God’s grace at work – even though it meant working three jobs, He had us in Seattle to enjoy Norma’s last years on earth. And incredibly, not long after Norma’s passing, I got promoted, re-enlisted, paid off all our debts with my bonus and stopped working three jobs. You go, God!
Hindsight is the mountain of perspective that often helps us see how God was at work and how His sustaining grace was working in our lives, unbeknownst to us. But why do we insist on waiting for hindsight? If I had known when we first moved to Seattle how it would play out, I would have had a much better attitude those two years. Actually, if I had just trusted Him and rested in His sustaining grace, my “suffering” would have facilitated awesome intimacy with God and a better attitude.
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” (2 Peter 3:10) I think I am beginning to comprehend that “knowing” Christ – abiding in Him, learning from Him, being more intimate with Him – occurs during the journey, not at the end looking back.