Being on the outer, with very little or no support, was difficult—at least at first. Yes, I moved a short distance away from the church to which I had been attached, but the family mental health issues continued. As a consequence worship tended to swing from one church to another, and across a variety of denominations.
I began looking for work outside of the church. And several months later found myself being invited back to the industry that I had once loved. So I moved again to take up the position. Unfortunately, I quickly found that the company’s ethics clashed considerably with mine, and I was being asked to adopt some very questionable practices. So after three months, I was once again looking for work.
Despite that, bit by bit, I began to settle into a particular church, and into a style of worship that had previously been unfamiliar. Then, over time, I was asked to contribute more and more to the life of the church. Unfortunately, once again the health issue raised its head, and because of someone who should have known better, the whole situation came crashing down, and I had to start all over again.
In many ways I felt like I was wandering with Moses in the wilderness—but without the fire by night and the cloud by day. But some twelve months later, I finally won a job in a government welfare office, and moved again. The spiritual wilderness journey, though, continued, and did so for several years. In one sense I lost heart, but in another sense I somehow knew that God was with me. In many ways it was like the Theophilus years all over again. And it only really ended when I came to a decision regarding a personal relationship.
Now whatever others may say about relationships with God and other people, I was shown in a very real way that one affects the other. And as soon as I dealt with one, the other became resolved.
After that, I slowly returned to the denomination of which I had been apart, and after several months I became a regular. A short time later I left the government job, and went to work with a non-government agency helping the long-term unemployed. It was a rewarding job, but again I encountered some very unethical practices. At the same time, I began to feel God calling me back to the ministry. So I applied for a license, and found myself being invited to conduct services in a number of churches, and over a considerable distance.
Then, twelve months after having begun my new job, and having been encouraged by the many requests for help, a felt God leading me to resign from my job, and to trust that sufficient work would be offered within the church.
Almost instantaneously I was approached to do a full time locum for three months. That was then followed by a second locum for seven weeks. And when that was finished I was asked to do a third. The third was open-ended whilst they were seeking a new minister. But six months later, even though a new minister had not been found, I was offered a full-time position in another parish.
The years in the wilderness had been painful. I had wandered where I hadn’t wanted to go. Nevertheless God had seen me through, and I was about to begin a new phase in my life. And I couldn’t wait to see where it would go.
To be continued …
Posted: 10th February 2017
© 2017, Brian A Curtis