Quiet Goodness Tribute #3 A Fiercely Courageous Father
I want to talk about courage in the face of uncertainty and someone whose courage kind of blows my mind. James spent many years pursuing an advanced degree. When he finished his degree, I’m sure his wife and four children heaved the proverbial sigh of relief and looked ahead to easier times. He got the first job and they were off to live real life. Halt. Shortly after having started said ‘real life’ James comes home with the melancholy news that he’s lost his job.
So James starts the job hunt locally and finds nothing. No leads, no interest, and no hope of interest from any prospect. Figuring that it is time to broaden the search, James and his wife decide that he will drive the 2000 miles to the west coast city where she was raised. He gets into their vehicle that could ill afford the trip one way (let alone the roundtrip) and alone and distressed, he is off. Once there, it seems that James' stars are aligning. He approaches four different firms, all of whom are interested in getting to know him better.
As I am listening to this recounting (by his elderly mother) I am mildly interested but not fully engaged. I wake up as I hear the next chapter of his incredibly story. Shortly before his prospective interviews with each of these four firms, John prays from guidance from God and gets the clear impression to graciously decline ALL forthcoming interviews and to go home to his family and pursue work options in their hometown again. At this point in the story I’m fully engaged and a little bit uncomfortable. Did I mention that he had already done that? Surely, I’m thinking, this guy wouldn’t be crazy enough to drop everything after all of the time and energy he invested only to go home empty handed! I mean imagine how that conversation went with his anxious wife at home? “Hey there honey! Yeah! I made it safe…the care was fine…made contact with four places, all liked me but… I’m headed home tomorrow…” Long pause…or worse, not a long pause at all. You know what I mean. I think faith is sometimes doing what seems like utter nonsense.
But what seemed like nonsense from where I sit in my soft computer chair looking in from the outside of this experience was unflinching courage from where he sat in his old car now turned eastward towards home and family. He respectfully declined all future interviews and obeyed the subtle whisperings of an unseen God. Mind you, I did not call him an unknown God. It is my belief that James’ relationship with God was not at all the unfamiliar, cordial, distant, call-only-when-needed kind of thing. He knew the God to whom he spoke that evening. He trusted. He did not flinch…at least he did not flinch when it was ‘go time’ and the calls needed to be made and the car gassed up.
To wrap up…James came home and soon thereafter was connected with a gentleman who owns just the kind of company that John dreamed of someday owning himself. This gentleman was looking for just such a man as James to come on and in a few years to take over full ownership.
Of course James did not know this when he courageously turned his back on what seemed to be his only chance to succeed. But God knew. I love learning about people who are more courageous than I could ever be.