Where He Leads Me ... I Will Follow
How many times as a child I sang that song? The chorus ends with, "I'll go with Him, with Him, all the way." Yet this did not become a reality for me until 1979; At the close of that summer, I heard the Spirit of God telling me to go to Colorado. He didn't say why, or how long, He just said, "Go." I had visited Colorado, and loved its beauty. I had dreamed of one day living there. Being awakened every morning to the mountains, sounded like LIFE to this flatland boy. So, Cindy and I loaded our 1966 Dodge Dart with as many essentials as we could carry. Then taking the $400.00 we had gotten from the garage sale of our things, we headed into the uncharted land of faith, with our 18 month old son Jay. We were thrilled about embracing God's will, to the fullest. We were apprehensive of the unknown. As we left that day there were two different crowds of bystanders, those waving goodbye thinking "Your Nuts!!" crowd and the "Go for it!!! That's exciting". While silently thinking, "Your Nuts" crowd.
To preface this story, we didn't know a soul in Colorado. I had no job, and no particular trade or ability apart from the Ministry. We had no idea where in the state we would end up. Actually, we had no real plan outside prayer, hunt, and search. So, as we left the state of Texas passing through a little border town called Texline, I softly breathed a prayer, "Lord, I sure hope I didn't miss you this time."
Our first night in the Rocky Mountain State we spent in a little run down motel, and except for an occasional roach killing the night passed uneventfully. We started out the next morning in prayer as we drove west across the southern part of the state. Beautiful mountains and breath taking scenery greeted us. We were appreciative of the grandeur, but our minds and hearts were set exclusively on our quest, "finding out what God's plan was".
We had been driving several hours and were winding down the backside of the Sangre de Cristo mountains when we passed through a miniature town called Chimney Rock. Now, come to think of it Chimney Rock may not be a town at all. It may just be a rock. Be that as it may, "By chance" we passed by a small Baptist Church. Suddenly, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Stop here."
Now, I had been a Baptist most of my life. However, in 1977 I had left the Baptist work to pursue ministry in non-denominational circles. So, at first I ignored the voice. He spoke again, this time a little more insistent, "Stop here." So, I said to the Lord, "I am not going to stop, I'm not Baptist any more". Ignoring my contention He spoke a third time, "Stop there". What did I do? The "Great man of God" that I am, I drove right on by. However, casually, I turned to Cindy, who was oblivious to the quiet argument going on between God and I. With a half-hearted laugh I said, "You know, I think the Lord just spoke to me, to stop back at that little Baptist Church we just passed." Now Cindy is not a person who will ever comfort you in your rebellion. She looked at me with that accusatory "you-ou-ou dummy" look and said, "You got me up here saying you heard the voice of the Lord, you sure better not stop listening to Him now."
Sheepishly, I turned the Dart around and headed back to the small white frame building. As I pulled up in the drive I realized how poorly this church was cared for. The yard was unkempt. The building badly needed repair and the paint that wasn't cracked was curled up and falling off. The uncovered front porch was gray and rather dilapidated. It almost looked abandoned. My first thought was, "How in the world could this be God." Reluctantly, I got out of the car and walked up on the porch. The doorway had a large pane of glass and so I went up and took a look. The inside was extremely small and was filled wall to wall with what looked to be salvage, plywood theater seats, fifteen in all. I stepped down and walked around the building, feeling foolish and wondering if I had missed God.
The church sat in about a half acre clearing on the side of a very steep mountain. As I walked around and wondered what I was doing here, by surprise I noticed up the mountain the bottom of a mobile home hidden from the road by a dense thicket of pines. Since there was nothing else to do, I decided to walk up and see if anyone was home. Perhaps they could tell me why I stopped. When I knocked on the door, an old man possibly eighty came to the door. I said, "Hello" and introduced myself. I told him that I was a preacher from Texas and as I had passed by the Church I felt impressed of the Lord to stop. I didn't know why. So, "Hello."
He looked at me for a moment and said, "Say do you kids have a place to stay yet?"
"No sir, not yet."
"Well I built a cabin back up the mountain here, Just for preachers, and the one who's been living there just moved out this morning. "Would you like to take a look at it?"
Startled, I muttered, "Sure."
He turned to get his keys and then turned back thoughtfully, "Say, do you kids like rainbow trout?"
I grinned and said, "I have never eaten any, but I love fish."
He disappeared for a moment, returning with a package of frozen rainbow trout. Spryly he stepped out to his vehicle and with a wave of his hand said, "You guys just follow me."
The old man led us to a fully furnished, rustic pine cabin nestled several hundred yards back up the mountain. For two weeks Cindy, Jay and I remained there and although we spent a small amount of money for gas and baby items, the cabin and much of our food was provided at no charge. Every day we were able to scout out the land and pray without any pressure. We were awed by the provision and the precise leadership of the Spirit of God. Our faith was enlarged greatly and I believe we got just a little glimpse of what Abram must have felt on his pilgrimage of faith from Ur.
We only remained in Colorado for six months. However, those days serve as a foundation of Spiritual confidence. I had completed, and with the help of my wife, barely passed the first course in our journey, "Trusting God 101."