Bishop Election Devotional for March 17, 2019
“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:2
By Rev. Wayne Gallipo (St. Dysmas of South Dakota)
My late wife, Debbie, and our boys followed me up and down both coasts of the United States as I served a 20-year career in the United States Navy. I promised Debbie when we retired we would move back to Aberdeen to be with our families there. God had other plans.
Debbie and I felt a bit like Abram as we wrestled with my call to Word and Sacrament ministry. We both had jobs we loved that we felt were vocations that utilized our God given gifts in service to others. That time of discerning God’s call was perhaps the most stressful time in our marriage. Essentially, God was asking both of us to quit our jobs, leave our home and family and go to seminary and then who knows where after that. There was a lot of uncertainty as we tried to figure out how we could possibly answer this call. It felt like we were stepping off the edge of a cliff into thin air. But many people encouraged us to go and they and reminded us that when God calls, God provides.
We decided to trust that God would provide, and we took the leap of faith. We both quit our jobs, sold our house, said goodbye to family and friends and moved to Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Debbie immediately found a job as the Office Manager at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul. Soon after arriving at seminary I received a letter informing me that a couple I had never met had adopted me and paid half of my tuition! Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the South Dakota Synod and many individuals supported us financially and with prayers. God provides!
Answering God’s call involves a tremendous amount of trust in God and also the realization that we are not able to answer the call without God’s support. Is God calling you to ministry you had never dreamed possible? Is God calling you to do what seems to be unrealistic or beyond your abilities? If God calls, God will provide. This is not to say answering the call will be easy, the road may not be smooth, but God does promise to be with you in the struggles.
LET US PRAY
Heavenly Father, you called Abram to places and events unknown to him. Abram answered that call and left home and family confident you would show him the way. When you call us and we doubt our ability to answer remind us that like you did with Abram, you will show the way, you will provide if we but trust in your promise. Amen.
ELW #769 “If You But Trust in God to Guide You”
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