Hard Choices

Let me tell you about a man I’ll call “Todd,” a fellow Christ-follower who’s become a dear friend in the past year. I've been walking alongside Todd as he follows through on a very hard choice he’s had to make—and he needs our prayers.
Three years ago, Todd and his family were living in the Midwest. Everything was going well—he and his wife had a good marriage, they had a good family, they were settled into a good church. Yet since they’d once lived in Colorado Springs, Todd had it on his heart to return if the opportunity ever presented itself. So he’d check job listings, apply from time to time, and wait.
Sure enough, one day he got a call about a job he really wanted. The interview went so well he was offered the job and asked to make a snap decision. “Yes,” he said, no doubt with some hesitation about not talking it over with his wife. To say the least, things didn’t go well once he did. As it turned out, Todd moved—the family stayed.
Fast forward three years, with Todd eagerly participating in the first “Alongsider” study I led at my home church, Calvary Worship Center. A group of more than a dozen of us went through The Ways of the Alongsider, a disciplemaking resource written by my friend and fellow Navigator Church Ministries colleague Bill Mowry.
As Todd and I got closer, he opened up about his story. It was a great pain on his heart. I remember the day he stopped by the office to talk about his “confusion” over what to do, whether to stay in Colorado or return home and fight for his marriage and family. I asked him what the Bible had to say about it all, and then, after some discussion, what he sensed God was asking him to do.
“It’s so hard,” he said. No doubt about it! Yet that’s the day the fog began to clear. As Todd considered next steps, we finished the Alongsider and he felt led to lead another group through the resource. I attended the group, helped as needed, encouraged him along the way, and listened as he honestly shared with the group what was going on in his journey. 
At the same time, Todd made preparations to go home—to follow through on the hard choice. He turned in his resignation, finished well at his current job, interviewed for jobs back home, and asked God for resolve to press on amid many roadblocks.
This past week the two Alongsider groups got together and gave Todd a wonderful send-off. We blessed him with “words from the Word,” Bible verses to encourage his heart. They included:

  • “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
  • “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day” (Proverbs 4:18).
  • “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old” (Isaiah 43:18).
  • “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol" (Psalm 86:11-13).
  • And, with a reminder to keep in touch and a promise to do the same, “Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land” (Proverbs 25:25). 
As for me, I affirmed my friend as I read John 1:43-47 and adapted Jesus’ words to Nathanael, “Behold, [a man] indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
The next day I received an email from a friend who was there: “Last night was awesome—thanks for setting it up and leading it. I know it was edifying to ‘Todd,’ and we sent him off covered in prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I think of 3 John 1:6, ‘You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.’ "
What a privilege to walk alongside others and see God at work in their lives—one relationship, one conversation at a time. It’s a joy that Navigator ministry allows me to journey with such people as Todd, even through rough terrain and tough choices.

Meanwhile, will you pray for Todd and his family? Is there a “Todd” in your world needing a trusted friend to journey with—someone you might walk alongside? 

Dean Ridings is a Representative of Navigator Church Ministries. To contact Dean or to learn more about the Ridings’ Navigator ministry in the Rocky Mountain Region, please click here.