The past few months have been eventful for the Day family. At the beginning of the year, we were approached with an expatriate opportunity in a Southeast Asian country. Approached, mind you, we did not seek this out.
The transfer promised a promotion, a slew of enticing benefits, an invaluable addition of acquired skills, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel Asia.
After many prayers for guidance and direction, we took a leap of faith, plunging in with the confidence for God to align the outcome according to His will. Next thing we knew, I passed the application and interviews and I was accepted as a qualified candidate, contingent on the country’s governmental approval.
That last note was a holding point, but from people that had worked there in the past I was reassured that government approvals were close to a sure thing, almost a formality. For all intents and purposes, it looked like things were headed in that direction.
The dreams began to swell. Visions of how God might use the Day family on a majestic quest about the globe flashed before our eyes. Who knew what failures and successes, pains and growth, lessons and warnings we would acquire on our travels with toddlers? Just imagine how our faith would be strengthened through the process! Not to mention the dozen or so prayers over the last couple of years that this would seem to answer. Were we scared? You bet. But grand adventure loomed and man we were excited.
A month passed in silence. Another one too. And then government word came back…
Honestly, I sensed it coming a couple of days before it when the word “perseverance” came to me in prayer. But predicted or not, it was still a brutal piece of news to hear. Here we were, feeling called to step out in faith and trust God in something overwhelmingly beyond our comfort zone, only to have Him step in and intervene at the last minute like a sacrificial Isaac bait and switch. In my wife’s words: “We got Abrahamed.”
Of course, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac was an exponentially greater test of faith, one hard to even fathom. However, Abraham knew God’s promise to “make his descendants as numerous as the stars” (Genesis 22:17), and trusted that if he killed Isaac, God would raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Instead, God stopped Abraham short of delivering the death blow with the knife and substituted a sacrificial ram (Genesis 22:13). It is a wonderful parallel to God’s redemptive plan through His son, who would be sacrificed in our place and would, in fact, be raised from the dead.
Though clearly none of that was going on in our situation, the similarity is this: God asked Abraham to do something and stopped him a hair short. Abraham didn’t actually sacrifice his son, but was forced to demonstrate through his actions that he was fully willing and obedient – achieving the internal transformative effect God was after:
“Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” (James 2:21 NLT)
I feel, likewise, that the whole exercise of being obedient and willing to relocate has forced a transformation in us. My reaction was certainly not what it would have been a year ago, or perhaps even 6 months ago.
First of all, I was not mad at God. God did exactly what we prayed for. We prayed for Him to shut down the transfer if it was not meant to be (as my good friend Kyle of Compelled by the Cross reminded me in the way that only good friends can do).
Nor did I question, “Why?”
Maybe I will know one day. Maybe I won’t. That is of far minor secondary importance to the fact that I trust God has a reason and that reason is good:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
I was however, disappointed and sad… for a grand total of three days. That’s the timeframe between when we found out to when our daughter, Amelie, decided to make her grand entrance into the world. Nothing quite melts away the feeling of misfortune like getting lost in the gaze of a newborn’s eyes.
“The man of true faith may live in the absolute assurance that his steps are ordered by the Lord. For him, misfortune is outside the bounds of possibility.” (A.W. Tozer)
(That is a favorite quote of my friend and mentor, Paul. He thoroughly enjoys pointing me towards it in situations like these and I feel like I’d be doing him a disservice if I didn’t work it in here).
Life is certainly a roller coaster filled with ups and downs (though not usually so radically slammed together in the same week). Through the madness of it all, we’ve cherished friendships and family deeper. We relished sights and sounds of Louisiana in a whole new light. We were gifted a snapshot of our growing faith, knowing that we would’ve followed God to the opposite side of the globe. That may come in handy one day – for although this particular adventure didn’t unfold, it doesn’t mean that there’s not another one somewhere along the way.
To all our friends and family, we promise we’re not crazy. Life just keeps throwing crazy things our way. And yes, I know that’s exactly what a crazy person would say. Thanks for supporting and encouraging us!
– Nicolas Day
 Genesis 22