That Day

While in Afghanistan, in October of 2016 I received this email from Sean, a great friend and mentor:

“Erick,

So if you can, explain the circumstances that took you to BAF. The last time we spoke things with your business and rentals were going well and you felt God had you where he wanted you and you were surrounded by godly men in that business. I can't imagine that you are there [in Afghanistan] giving landscaping quotes so I am just confused a bit. I thought you got out of the military on a medical so I wouldn't expect you to be there through the military. It just seemed so odd and contrary to our last discussion and so sudden so if you can shed light, it would be appreciated. Take care and God bless. Sean”

My Reply:

“Hey Sean, Great questions! So, to paint this picture vividly we must go back to Jun 27th, 2014.

You know most of this story, but let's recap. I was still working for you, and it was an early-out Friday that day. On the way out the door, Steve [fellow co-worker] invited me to Creation Fest for the weekend. I was reluctant, but I decided that if my youngest brother Andrew wanted to go with me, then I would go.

I called my brother shortly after, and he said he'd go. I packed up some firewood, a tent, and some food, and we were off. We arrived to the front gate and the gate attendant said, "That'll be $86 per person."

'Ouch!" we were both thinking the same thing as we looked at each other. "That is quite a price to pay for one night in a tent." So, I asked him if he gave military discounts.

'No sir," was his reply, but then he hesitated as if someone just said something to him, 'Hold on just a sec.' He walked over to an older lady who looked like she was in-charge.

All I could hear of the conversation was her saying, "Well you just mind the Lord and do what He is telling you to do."

The gentleman came back over to the truck and handed me two wrist bands and said, "Have a great time!"

I sat there for a sec waiting for the discounted price to be quoted, but none came so I asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"Have a great time!" was his reply the second time as he smiled, hoping that I got the clue. I did indeed get the clue, and I drove in with a smile.

My brother said with a smile, "God is so cool."

The next morning (Sat June 28, 2014) my brother and I woke up and built a fire to make some breakfast before going to listen to the first speaker for the day. I opened up my Bible and began reading the account of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. They were headed up a mountain. Perhaps a long steep mountain, rocky at the least, and Isaac asks his dad, "Pops, we have the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb that we are going to sacrifice?"

Abraham's words, "My son, God will provide a lamb."

Those words “God will provide,” kept ringing in my ears all day. Suddenly, this very clear and real dialogue in the corners of my mind began to take place. I got this overwhelming feeling in my soul, that things were going to change in my life very rapidly. Keep in mind this just prior to or about the same time that my Army Unit was notifying me of my E6 position going away.

I began to cry out in the quietness of my heart, "Lord, I don't feel like I am supposed to be stuck at this job for the rest of my life. I feel like I’m missing something, but I can’t quit this job. I just bought an investment property, a house, and a new truck. I have financial obligations now.”

I felt like I was miles from where I needed to be, with no map and no compass. The prayer of my heart was, “When God? When will you provide for me what I need and what I desire; the need of feeling fulfilled, in knowing that I am accomplishing your will and doing my mission here on earth? I’m tired of failing.”

The answer came in less time than it took for me to ask that question.

"Erick my son, Abraham did not get his provision until he got to where I told him to be. In order to get what you need; you need to go to where you are supposed to be."

I thought my next reply was relatively logical, “Where am I supposed to be?"

"Did Abraham know his destination before he left? [rhetorical question of course] Getting moving and I'll show you," came that still small voice.

“No this can't be happening right now,” I thought. “I don't have a big enough savings account to quit my job right now. This is crazy. If this is you speaking to me Lord, and not some crazy notion in my head, then You’ve got to make this clear. Quitting my job, a good job, with no direction and no clue what I’m supposed to be doing? This is ridiculous."

Excitement mixed with anxiety ebbed and flowed inside my head. I started thinking in this moment that perhaps a second attempt at Ranger School and a Special Forces Career was in the making.

My brother and I finished eating breakfast and we headed over to hear the morning speaker. I still remember his topic. It was on 2Kings 4. This is what he read:

“One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, ‘My husband, has died. You know that my husband honored Yahweh our God, but now the lender of my husband is coming to take my two children as his slaves for failing to pay the debt that my husband had with him.’

“Elisha asked her, ‘What do you want me to do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’

“She said, ‘I have nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’

“Then he said, ‘Go and borrow empty containers from everyone—from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you with your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.’

“She left, and did as Elisha said. She kept pouring that jar into the empty containers. The empty containers kept filling up from this one jar of oil. When they were all full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another container.’

“But he replied, ‘There are no more containers.’ Then the oil from the jar was gone.

“She went and told the man of God about the miracle that had happened, and Elisha said, ‘Go sell enough of the oil and pay your debt, then you and your sons can live on the rest.’”

I don’t think it was a coincidence that the whole theme of this story was, God will provide. Especially in light of this new reality that I was facing; namely quitting my job. After this first speaker was finished telling about the miraculous provisions of God in his life, the next speaker took the stage. It was just as vivid now as it was then. His topic was on 2Kings 6. This is what he read:

“The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision is too small for us. Please let us go to down by the Jordan River where we can get some timber and build ourselves a place to live there.’

“’Go,’ Elisha said.

“Then one said to Elisha, ‘Please come with your servants.’

“’I’ll come,’ he answered.

“So, he went with them down near the river to cut down some trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head flew off the ax he was using and fell into the water, and he cried out, ‘Oh, dag-nabbit! Elisha! This axe was borrowed!’

“Then Elisha, the man of God asked, ‘Where did it fall into the river?’ When the young man showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it there, and the iron floated. Then he said, ‘Pick it up.’ The young man reached out and took it.”

For me, this is almost that kind of story that you “have to be there to believe it” but none-the-less the application was still very relevant. Again, not only was it God will provide but another interesting correlation to this passage of scripture was a question the preacher asked, “Have you ever felt like you have lost your edge?”

“Yup sure have,” I thought.

“You need recall where it was you lost it. Then you need to reach out, or maybe in your case, step out. Do whatever it takes to get your axe head back,” was the preachers reply; as if he could hear my thoughts.

As I heard his words, quitting my job immediately came to the forefront of my mind again, “Father in heaven, I don’t know about this. Again, Lord, if this is You speaking to me, then please just make it clear. This seems so crazy.”

As I sat there contemplating the illogic of it all. God spoke to me again very clearly, “Erick I want you to go find Hannah. She has something I want you to hear.”

Hannah was a gal I met earlier that day. “Where do I find her?” I thought.

Once again I heard very clearly in my head, “Get moving and I’ll show you.” Ok at this point I’m getting concerned, like, “Do I need to check into a mental ward. Where are these voices in my head coming from?”

I started heading up the hill to where I saw her last. There are at least twenty thousand or more people at this festival, and hundreds currently surrounding me. How in the world am I going to find this girl? Just then she literally brushed by me in the mosh posh of people. It didn’t take long for the crowd of people to separate us, but I yelled her name, “Hannah!”

She turned around, we made eye contact and she smiled and waited. I caught up to her and the only thing I could think to say was, “So umm...what is God doing in your life?”

“Well,” she started, “Two weeks ago God told me to quit my job. I’m from Texas, and a week ago I had no idea I would be here in Pennsylvania.”

“What!” I exclaimed. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Our conversation continued as she told me the very crazy and awesome story of stepping out and trusting God.

I then took a few brief moments to tell her what I thought God was leading me to do. Her reply was something like, “Just do it. You won’t regret it.”

A few hours later as we were enjoying some live bands, I asked my bro, “Hey man you wana go get some ice-cream dots?”

“Sure brah! Let’s go!” he agreed.

We got about half way there and I couldn’t believe my eyes. “Clark,” I said to my old Army buddy who was walking towards me. “What are you doing here?” We embraced and he started catching me up on what had been happening the last year or so (Now that I think about it, I don’t think we ever got those ice-cream dots. Sorry Andrew). He was Hoss of a man. His arms were as big as my legs. He made great money working in the Natural Gas industry.

He began by saying, “The craziest thing happened recently. About a month ago God told me to quit my job.” When I heard this you can imagine how I was freaking out at this point. He continued, “It made absolutely no sense to me, so I didn’t listen. Then about two weeks ago I was on the ground below the crane, and the retention nut came off the hook on the load above me. The 40lb retention nut came down and scuffed the brim of my hard hat causing me to look up just in time and see the load coming down at me. I jumped out of the way just in time. After that I was like, ‘ok God you got my attention. I quit!’”

“No way man!” I exclaimed with goose bumps. “This is crazy dude.”

“So what’s up with you?” he asked.

“You are the second person in the time span of approximately two hours to tell me the same thing about their job. What are the odds? It would not be so crazy if I didn’t think that God was telling me to quit my job.