Joseph was lying forgotten, bound in chains in a dank prison cell when the guard nudged him. “Wake up. Come with me. Pharaoh himself has summoned you to stand before him.” Eyes blinking in disbelief, Joseph wondered what it could be. Had the cupbearer finally remembered him after all these years?
I was sitting in seminary back in 2004, my spirit rising as I listened to a classmate defend his sense of calling to do long-term youth ministry. The professor was chiding him for having such a limited imagination. After class, I invited him to lunch. I encouraged him to follow God’s call and to not worry about what people think. A few weeks later, he went to Tennessee, and we lost touch.
In 2015, as we prepared to move to Orangeburg, my mentor recommended that I contact his church’s former youth pastor, who had attended college in Orangeburg. So I called him seeking counsel. We had a great connection, and he has come down to preach for us multiple times over the years. In the last six months, God has opened a door for Joel and his family to relocate to Orangeburg and join our church as a full-time staff member.
As we were beginning the interview process, the Pandemic hit. Everything had to be done virtually. At the time, this felt like a major set back, but in retrospect, we have seen God’s sovereign hand at work. Over the last 3-4 months, Joel and his wife, Latifahia, have been connecting to our church through online worship and Zoom Bible studies. Thanks to this “disaster,” when they arrive in Orangeburg on July 27th, they will already be a part of our church family.
In a recent conversation, Joel asked me, “Did you use to wear a baseball cap backwards?” “Y…yes.” “I think we had a seminary class together, and you invited me to lunch…”
God moves in a mysterious wayWilliam Cowper, 1773
His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unsearchable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.