Proverbs 16:9 (New International Version)
9 In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.
The members of a local congregation in need of a new pastor, were each given a list of 18 pastoral qualities to prioritize. From the results, the search committee would create a profile of the ideal replacement pastor.
While there is wisdom in defining the qualities sought in a pastoral candidate, this caused me to ponder the seemingly random way in which my life has unfolded.
Some might have a shopping list of "must have" qualities in a potential spouse, but I didn't. At first I didn't "see" Paul at all and by the time I did, I had already turned him down. I was beside myself a few months later when it dawned on me that I had make a mistake. We were both shy, so I was convinced that I had missed my one and only chance at happiness.
"He will never, ever again, ask me out, " I sobbed to Mum. But happily, he did, and at last we were both on the same page, at the same time.
By then I was in love because of what I saw in him, not because he matched a list that I had in mind. Before I met him, I didn't even know that I would love a man with strong leadership qualities and a heart of such compassion that it humbles and inspires me. And I'm sure that neither of us would have thought of picking someone with the qualities that we each have--we are so different in almost every way. But we complement one another so well that we fit like lock and key, and I am enough of a romantic to believe that we were made for each other.
All of this made me think of our culture of doing, planning; setting goals and being busy, versus waiting; listening; being still and knowing that God has an agenda.
While my life is a testimony to God having an agenda that is more wonderful than any I could have dreamed, I am still learning how to be still.
I pray that the congregation finds God's man or woman for their pulpit, and that if the person feels called by God to the church; that they throw out the list.