Yes, No, and Not Yet

One of my best pastor friends through the years has been Chuck Moore. Several years ago in one of our numerous lunch conversations that included our other pastor friend, Tom Bayes, I remember Chuck saying these words in regards to figuring out the will of God. “Sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says not yet.”

I didn’t fully comprehend the wise depth of those words when he spoke them, but I have thought them multiple times since. And now that I’m semi-retired I ponder them even more, because making decisions as a retiree are more difficult. They become less dependent on financial matters, relocating, and position and become more focused on the leadings of the Lord and leaning on the Lord.

For example, how much longer does God desire for me to coach middle and high school basketball? How much longer does he want me to be a substitute teacher, knowing that each of the last few years that has resulted in a long-term teaching gig of two months or more? How much time does he desire that I commit to writing? What kinds of tools and training events does He want me to incorporate into the writing? What does He want me to write? How much does He prefer that I rest and seek renewal? What does He want me to offer younger folk in regards to the wisdom of experience? How long does He desire that I offer my preaching services to the small church I travel almost an hour to?

Some of those questions can’t be answered with Chuck’s three options, but many can. There are timeline-connected decisions that seek His guidance. There are possible new directions that are in need of His answer. And there are certain activities and involvements that need His hinting as to whether they need to drop off the schedule or proceed further on down the road with.

Being retired, although my wife reminds me I have not grasped the full meaning of that term, has an openness to it. It’s like being in the midst of a vast, open field where I have a variety of options as to which direction I go. There aren’t any trails to indicate the right way. In fact, maybe there are several right ways. Maybe direction is now based more on talent and personality traits, not job descriptions and wants. Since just about any direction is a possibility, maybe I need to have my hearing checked to my tendency to not hear the “Nos!” and “Not Yet!”

Finally, I have a sense of certainty that is reassuring. It’s that God is still speaking to me, guiding me, and not done with me yet. His involvement in the direction of my life is not restricted to a period of time when I was filling a certain position, and had a weekly schedule punctuated with meetings and job description-connected responsibilities. He still has a leash around my life, although perhaps it has a bit of a bungee stretch to it.

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