Stories that Talk: Boxed Up Hopes

Keith and Sarah Fletcher were married, dreaming of settling into a lifelong work for Christ, but they got off to a rough start. Sarah recalls: A small church in North Carolina unanimously voted Keith in as their pastor—and nine months later voted him out. We were jobless, homeless, expecting our firstborn, and confused.
Keith was next hired by a church in Oklahoma. We dug in, gave birth to our firstborn, and got to work. Nine months later, the church ran out of money and could no longer pay us. We were again on the street.

Keith found a staff position in an Indianapolis church, and this time we made it past nine months, but just barely. One day he went to work and the pastor said, “I don’t think you’re happy here. Maybe you’d better find another job.” Actually, Keith had been happy, but we were nonetheless dismissed.

I was pregnant again, and very discouraged. All my wonderful hopes of a settled marriage and ministry had been boxed up and crushed in Ryders and U-Hauls; we were ready to get out of full-time ministry and go home, except we weren’t exactly sure where home was.

Then one day in my Bible reading I discovered 1 Peter 5:10: “ … may the God of all grace … after you have suffered a while … settle you.” Before the Lord settles us, I thought, He sometimes allows us to pass through periods of suffering. That made sense. The Lord refines us, teaches us perseverance. Even more, He wants us to realize that no earthly location is our permanent address. We must instead be established and settled IN CHRIST.

Through the months and moves that followed, I clung to that promise, and the fog began to clear. Four months after moving from our house in Indianapolis, it burned down, killing its new occupants. With a shudder, I began to understand God’s mysterious ways. New, better doors opened, leading us eventually to our current ministry. Keith now readily admits that part of his effectiveness in developing Christian resources for nationwide use comes from our having lived in a variety of places … like North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Indiana.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

as told by Robert J. Morgan

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

%d bloggers like this: