There are times in your life when you find it hard to be sure that God really is in control. Its easy to feel guilty at such times, but our own humanity and frailty of faith makes it inevitable. Then of course there are other times when you find everything going right and are hit with the sudden realization not long afterwards that what just transpired must have been God. Finally there are sequences of events which leave you in no doubt at all that God is at work, because there is simply no other way to explain them.
I think it would be fair to say that so far this year I have experienced all three of these situations. It will be no secret that the circumstances that led to my having to leave the United States in March were mystifying to me. I felt a s sure as I could possibly be within my spirit that God wanted me to be here, and I should probably confess - maybe for the first time - that I really felt a state of invincibility, almost like a Godly force field around me. I felt that no matter how bleak things might look, it was all going to work out that I'd be able to stay in the end.
I suppose that feeling of invincibility contributed to making what followed such a shock and a a blow to where I thought my life was going. If there is any purpose behind this particular post today, it is to show that God really IS in control, even in those moments where it starts to look less and less as if he really is, and your faith and confidence start to waver.
So let's backtrack to the end of March 2012, when I land back in the UK with pretty much nothing apart from a suitcase of clothes with me, and nowhere to live save for a room in my mother's flat. I guess there was a certain sense of optimism on my part that I'd be back in the London Embassy within days and setting the wheels in motion towards getting me back across the Atlantic pronto.
Except that my attitude changed very quickly in those early days to a sense that maybe I was meant to stay here. After all, the process of getting paperwork and giving everything up to go to the U.S. was hard enough the first time, I really was becoming less and less convinced if I wanted to go through it again, particularly as there was no guarantee either that I would actually have a job to go back to, or that the U.S immigration would actually let me back in the country. And if they did, I might still have to endure another 2 years of frustration and misery to get my work permit renewed.
So the focus changed onto what I was going to do now I was back in the UK. To put it bluntly, the alternatives were limited. I could try and get back into UK radio or get a job in a shop, or something similar. This is where it starts to become obvious that God was up to something.
There are only two places in the UK that a Christian broadcaster can realistically go for full-time work, and those are my (then) former employers UCB or London-based Premier Radio. After 2 frustrating months out of work, with increasingly demoralizing trips to the unemployment office and having to fill out a decidedly depressing job search diary each day, I had a chance to go see the guys at Premier, followed just days later by a trip up to Stoke on Trent to visit UCB.
Things didn't quite work out at Premier. They did have a weekend show available, but at just one day a week it really wouldn't have justified the travel. The visit to UCB didn't bring anything instant, but a few weeks later a call came offering me a 4 month contract at UCB to present shows on a cover basis during the summer holiday period.
After 3 months of a steep learning curve as I readjusted to the mechanics of UK radio, but also a huge amount of fun, I have the chance to co-present the UCB UK Breakfast Show on as permanent a basis as all the other UCB employees. I am also the (volunteer) warden on the UCB Hanchurch site, which comes with an in-house flat.
It doesn't take a genius to see that God has been at work here. As I recently discovered, but which was no shock at all to God, if I had arrived 2-3 months later back in the UK, this opportunity would not have opened up, and who knows what I would be doing now? God got the timing absolutely perfect - as always - leaving me with a profound sense of gratitude, and feeling slightly foolish for those moments of doubt. The good thing is that in future times I can look at this and remind myself - as I hope you might also do yourself when the need arrives - that God really DOES know what He's doing!