The Hand of God
As I look back over my life, my heart is filled with wonder and awe as I contemplate on the multitude of tender mercies the Lord has extended toward me and my family. Trying to describe all of the sweet experiences and number of miracles that have occurred would take volumes. Suffice it to say that through personal experience, I know that God lives and that He takes a hand in our lives. I firmly believe that as we strive to conform our lives with His will, He guides our paths, puts people in our lives to bless and help us along the way, and opens up opportunities to do great things that we could not do on our own. I've seen this happen time and time again throughout my life.
Allow me to share just a few experiences from the past two years of my life to illustrate the points I made above.
In December of 2012 I started consulting for a healthcare software company. In February 2013 they hired me away from the consulting company, offering an amazing salary and management opportunities. As part of the offer I committed to moving to Ohio. We made several repairs and upgrades to our home in West Virginia to get it ready to sell and then we put it on the market. For six months we got only a few nibbles but no bites. After six months we took it off the market and decided to stay put.
The whole situation was somewhat of a challenge for us. When the offer for the job came, both Kimberly and I got a solid answer to our prayers confirming that it was right for me to take the job. We also felt strongly that we needed to get the house ready to sell, which we did. We assumed that because we had worked so hard that the Lord would open up the way for the home to sell quickly. However, it didn't work out that way. We were puzzled. Yet at the same time, Kimberly, who has always been more sensitive to spiritual promptings than I am, felt like the timing for us to move wasn't quite right. So we stayed put, waiting on the Lord to see what would happen.
How I thank God that we didn't move. If we had, the following chain of events would not have happened.
In April of 2013 I came across a book called The Ministry of Business, How Correct Principles Magnify Business Success, and amazing book outlining a plan for success both in business and in life. It describes a formula for success that if followed will lead to both temporal and spiritual independence. I started reading the book then but ended up with so much going on at work that I set it aside for a while. By August I'd completely forgotten about it. Then one night while I was traveling, I was in my hotel and opened up my Kindle reader on my phone and came across it again. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. I finished it in a couple of evenings and wished I had been able to read it twenty years ago! I was so excited that when I got home I started reading it with my wife.
Well, as happens so often, life got in the way. We homeschool and school was starting so trying to find time as a couple to read together was tough. I was traveling a lot too so that made trying to read together nearly impossible.
At the end of October I arranged to be home for the weekend and set up a trip for Kimberly and I to get away so we could attend a session at the Washington DC LDS Temple. We took The Ministry of Business with us and read it and discussed it the whole way there.
That night, after a nice dinner, we played some games in our hotel room and then sat and talked for a while. As we talked I mentioned to Kimberly how I felt the need to somehow reach out and connect with the authors of The Ministry of Business, Steve Hitz and James Ritchie. Normally I'm not shy about getting to know people and I'll find a way to reach out. However, I was nervous and hesitant to do so in this case, though I can't explain why. Anyway, as we sat talked, out of the blue I said to Kimberly, "wouldn't it be neat if we could take our children and go to Africa for a couple of months to do a service project of some kind?" She wasn't sure where that had come from, but responded by saying "it sounds like a lot of work," to which replied, "a little work never killed anyone." She agreed and then we dropped the subject.
The next morning we went to the temple. What a wonderful blessing it was to be there. I love going to the Washington DC temple. The building is a wonder to behold inside and out. More importantly, however, I love going there because of the beautiful peace that I feel when I am inside those walls. It is a soul penetrating peace that replenishes our spirits and helps us, at least for a short while, to forget about the cares of the world and contemplate the things of eternity.
In most temples, when you are waiting to go into on of the regular sessions, you go and sit in a chapel until just before its time to go into a session. However, in the Washington DC. temple you go and sit up outside the session room. I'm not sure why they do it that way. So, Kimberly and I arrived early and sat down just across from the entrance to the room. After while quite a crowd had gathered.
Suddenly an older man standing against the wall in front of us spoke up to me and said, "well you two look like a couple of Mormons!"
"I hope so," I replied, "given that we're sitting here in the temple."
We laughed and then I started looking more closely at his face. I then looked at the man standing next to him. Then back to the first man and then over to the other man. They both looked very familiar. The Ministry of Business, in the "About the Authors" section at the back of the book has a picture of both Steve Hitz and James Ritchie. The two men across from us looked an awful lot like them. I hesitated for a moment, but then worked up the courage to say to the man who'd spoken, "this may sound strange, but you look awfully familiar, what is your name?"
"You're him," I said. "I've been reading your book. I've read the whole thing and my wife and I read and discussed it together on the way hear yesterday."
"That's great, but here's the real author," he said and pointed to the man next to him. "This is Steve Hitz."
Then Steve Hitz introduced himself and what he said nearly floored me.
"Hello, I'm Steve. How would you and your wife like to go to Africa?"
I still get goose bumps every time I think about that experience. One of the principles Steve emphasized in The Ministry of Business is that there are no coincidences. That phrase immediately came to my mind with the force of a tidal wave. What were that chances of our going to the temple just that day, being there just at that time to meet the two men I'd been wanting to meet? Once again, it was brought home to me that God takes a hand in our life.
Since meeting Steve and Jim, a wave of other blessing have come. I've share their book with many friends and had the chance to meet many wonderful people that have proven and are continuing to prove to be blessings in my life. Here are just a few examples of people I've met and grown close to because of The Ministry of Business:
The list could go on.
How has my life been blessed? Steve and Jim have continued to correspond with me and mentor me, giving multiple suggestions for great reading and tremendous personal advice. Olga with her infectious enthusiasm makes me want to soar each time we talk. Yeah Samake, what can I say about him? He is a tremendous leader who truly loves his people. I can't help but want to be a better leader and be actively serving because of his example. Chris Jones inspires me in countless ways, but most importantly, because of him, and his tender writings about Mitch, I want to be a better father, husband, friend. Because of Chris, my vision of what is most important in life has much greater focus. James Arrington also suffers from infectious enthusiasm, an infection I hope to catch and spread. I can't help coming away uplifted after talking with him. Robinson, what an amazing man. He volunteered to translate The Ministry of Business into Spanish. Because I speak fluent Spanish, Steve asked me if I could help. Without reservation I volunteered. What a blessing it has been as I've had to read the book multiple times in English and Spanish to ensure a proper translation. Doing so has helped to cement the principles of the formula in my mind and reminded me again and again of their importance and applicability in our lives. At one point, due to the financial strain of being without work, Steve spoke to me about working out some type of payment. I refused, knowing that in volunteering for this effort I was doing a great service that will reap blessings for years to come. I felt that God would make up any difference.
God has made up the difference. By interacting with these wonderful people my life has been greatly enriched. I now see horizons that I never thought to see in my life. I have greater confidence than I thought possible. That confidence gave me the courage to walk away from my job with the healthcare software company this past spring due ethics and integrity concerns.
My new found confidence gave also gave me the resolve and determination to move forward doing my part to find a new opportunity and then trusting that God would open up the way. My trust was not in vain. In July I was contacted by a recruiter about a position in a small Iowa town. That lead to multiple interviews and a great offer in a small Iowa town. By the middle of September we had our home ready and again we put it on the market, using a different realtor. Within a week and a half we had an offer on the home and it has now closed. We're all now here in Iowa. After looking at multiple homes here, we put in an offer and it has has been accepted.
God live. He loves us. He is aware of our needs. As we put our trust in him, He guides us, directs us, an blesses us according to our needs.
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