Today’s guest blogger is Anna VanEaton. God has given Anna a mission field to being a counselor in an outpatient clinic. She has been counseling/mentoring for over 18 years. She has the delight of working with a MD that is a Jesus lover, and their care for people has Jesus at the center.
Recently my husband and I moved, lock stock and barrel, to New England from Tennessee where we had lived the entire 18 years of our marriage. There were several horizontal reasons why we made this decision all of which culminated in an overwhelming sense that God was moving us to do this.
We believed very strongly after much prayer and counsel that we were making the right move. After all, we were going to spend the rest of our lives working and serving in a community of believers that make up the current 330 year old congregation that was responsible for commissioning Adoniram Judson to Burma in 1812.
However, within 5 months of our arrival, we became keenly aware that the decision we had made was the wrong decision. Through a series of providential blessings we are squarely back in Tennessee where we started from, same jobs, same house, same Christmas tree in the same corner of our living room.
It has not been an easy time and we have asked ourselves and other faithful brothers and sisters why this happened. How could we be so convinced that God was moving us in a certain direction only to realize that we had not made the right choices? We have questioned our ability to hear God speak to us in these matters and have wondered at how much money, time and effort seems to have been wasted the last 5 months, and whether we were simply following our own selfish desires.
As biblical counselors, my husband and I have consistently worked through similar situations with our counselees walking through many rich passages of scripture that are full of encouragement and hope when the questions about life’s circumstances are unanswerable. We run consistently to passages like Romans 8:28, and Daniel 4:34-37, Genesis 50:15-20, Ephesians 2:10 and many others that present a solid foundation for God’s sovereignty and care for us in all of life’s situations.
This time of year, we are blessed with consistent reminders of Jesus’ first advent. One of our favorite passages is Matthew 1 which lays out the genealogy of Christ from Abraham to Joseph. If ever there was a hope filled passage of scripture, this is it. Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob, Jacob had Judah, stop. Can you remember who comes next? Judah has two sons named Perez and Zerah. Perez is the next in the lineage of Christ.
Now the reason that we draw attention to Perez is that Judah had three sons. His eldest had a wife named Tamar. He died childless and Tamar was given to the next son to carry on his brother’s line but he died childless as well. Judah’s youngest son Shelah was not old enough to be given Tamar at that time so Judah promises Tamar that when Shelah is old enough, he will give her to him so that sons can be born to carry on Judah’s name. The problem is that Judah does not keep his promise. Tamar, realizing that she will die childless if she does not take matters into her own hands, dresses up as a prostitute on a day when Judah is in town to shear his sheep. He takes her, his daughter-in-law, is intimate with her, and from that relationship Perez is born, and so continues the line that would eventually produce Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father.
What an incredible story. The scriptures are filled with stories like this one, all with hope filled endings. But, here in our moment of questioning how does this story help us understand what God is showing us about the last 5 months and how can we rest in his sovereign hand even when the circumstances of life don’t seem to make sense.
In part 2 of this blog, we will share lessons we are learning about how God is opening our eyes to a more majestic view of His ways so that we can exclaim, as the apostle Paul did at the end of Romans 11; “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
You can read Part 2 of Anna’s blog one week from today!
Anna is a beloved daughter of the King, who loves being the wife of Joel, married over 18 years. My husband and I open our home to Biblical counseling and walk alongside hurting, broken couples. We have both been students of NANC, and I with CCEF. Together, we are looking to complete a Masters of Biblical Counseling through Westminster Seminary/CCEF.