Hurry Up and Wait!


 Written by: Anchul Axelrod
This is my first blog post as a staff member of Faith Promise Church. I’m relatively new here, as my three-month anniversary is January 17th. About four years ago, I thought God was telling me that it was time to transition, to move on, and find a new ministry to serve in. I began looking. I found nothing. I continued to diligently serve where I was at, while praying, looking, and seeking after Him.
As months passed one after another, my prayers became more specific. They went something like this . . .
Father, I desire to serve you with all my heart. Lead me to the church where you would have me be. Help me find a church that my family would love. A church whose theological beliefs coincide with ours. A church with a strong pulpit, with a heart for the lost and a burning desire to teach and grow disciples. If possible, I would like to find a church with multiple campuses. And lastly, I would love to find a church in the mountains, any mountains will do. However, if I had my choice, I would love to live in the Smokey Mountain’s.”
I continued to serve where I was at, pray, and time passed. I would love to say that I stood strong over the next 3.5 years but that wasn’t always the case. There were difficult times. There was doubt. Did I miss Him? Was this just my desire? Why was this so strong? During this time there were a number of churches I spoke with, but they all ended the same way. The fit just wasn’t right. I started to think that perhaps I was being too picky, or what I was looking for didn’t really exist. Was I being taught patience, AGAIN? I mean, I’ve learned this lesson! Haven’t I?
In July of last year I responded to very generic ad for a position at a church in Knoxville. The search was being facilitated by a ministry search firm. I had no idea who the church was. What ensued was the longest interview process I ever experienced. Again with the patience, and again time passed.
The seventh interview with the search firm was strictly questions on theological beliefs and doctrine. Questions, which would determine if I was a good fit for the church. Since I am rather conservative in my theological beliefs, the entire time, as I was answering their questions, I was thinking that I’m talking myself out of a job. As the conversation drew to an end, the person conducting the interview shared with me that I had successfully completed the first stage of the process, and they would be passing my information along to the church. It was only then that they shared the name of the church. My research began, and more time passed.
Eventually, I began conversations with Michele, Josh, Chuck, Pastor Chris, as well as the entire Worship staff. There were many discussions, trips to Faith Promise, a book to be read, and more conversations with the ministry search firm. Weeks turned to months, and time passed.
There were many amazing circumstances that transpired during this time including another church that I was talking with, who knew Pastor Chris and Michele very well, but God had a plan. The evening after I accepted the privilege to serve at Faith Promise, I sat quietly alone, reflecting on a prayer that I had prayed for over three years. . .
A church that my family would love: Wife and kids are excited! CHECK
A church who’s theological beliefs coincide with ours: CHECK (I could write a book on this)
A church with a strong pulpit CHECK
A church with a heart for the lost CHECK
A church with a desire to teach and grow disciples CHECK
A church with multiple campuses CHECK
A church in the mountains (close enough) CHECK
A church in the Smokey Mountains:
Quietly I sat in the darkness, weeping over God’s goodness. CHECK
So I’ve been here for three months and all is good, right? Wrong! You see, as I am here, my wife and daughters are still back in MO as we try to sell our house. They will join me once the house sells. This has been my prayer since I accepted the position. This is my circle. This is where I sit, earnestly praying, and waiting on the Lord. But this time, the waiting is just a little easier. God has shown Himself faithful.
There are reasons why we wait for our prayers to be answered. Often there are lessons to be learned, maturity to be gained, and there is His perfect timing in ALL things. As it says in Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
I continue to pray for the sale of my house, as I yearn for the reuniting of my family. I busy myself with His ministry. I look for ways that I can serve, grow and mature. And with a little more peace in my heart, I wait upon the Lord.