It was one of the darkest times in my life. I lost my wife of 15 years, Wynter, to sudden heart dysrhythmia. One minute she was here, and the next, she was not. I found myself fathering my four daughters, then aged 15, 13, and twins at 11 years old, as a single dad and doing the best I could to walk them through their own grief. To make things even more complicated, just ten days before Wynter’s passing, we moved to a new city, state, and church for a new job I was taking as an executive pastor in the Nashville area.
It was a terribly dark time. But that isn’t what is most memorable. What’s memorable is the words God spoke to me and the way He showed himself to me in the darkest of seasons.
I had a front-row seat to God’s goodness, and I simply needed to pay attention to what He was doing. In The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford summarizes how I’ve tried to live since. “Paying attention is not a way by which we make something happen, but a way to see what is already given to us.”
You see, as grievous as that season was I couldn’t help but recognize all the ways God was speaking to me and showing himself to me and my daughters.
He showed up through my sister, Carmen, who left her entire life to help me raise the girls. She came as Aunt Carmen but became known affectionately as just CeCe to her nieces who will adore her forever.
God spoke to me through my church who became our immediate family though we barely knew anyone upon arrival. We were out of state when Wynter passed and hadn’t fully moved in yet. The church unpacked our belongings in our home, threw us a welcome home party and cleaned our house for more than 6 months. It was an unmerited favor that I accepted with humility.
And God displayed His goodness to me through many other people who would come to our aid, both tangible and intangible over those years.
Just like the Israelites, we would have never signed up for the trip. But God would send ministering angels to us just like He promised Moses on behalf of the people of God.
As you journey you need not be afraid when God tells you to go. And you need not question His presence. As you trust Him, He is both leading you, delivering you, and wanting to speak with confidence over you with every step (Exodus 33:1–3).
You simply need to pay attention in order to recognize His voice and see His hand (v.19).
And if you ever doubt His nearness, remember the words of our Savior Jesus Himself who became the fullness of what Moses was hoping to see. The glory of God incarnate (vv.21–23).