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S everal years ago, I was privileged to be part of a small group tasked with making a major leadership decision. We had met several times over a period of months and now had come to the time to make a final decision. While the members of the group respected each other, it was clear to all that there was significant division within the group. Anxiety was certainly present in the room when we met for the final time.

Related: Managing your anxiety so you can respond in faith

When we began, our facilitator said she felt we needed to take a step back. She asked each one of us to take a few minutes in solitude to remember a time when God had given us a particular passage of Scripture that spoke to us in a time of real need. Then she asked us to share those stories with the group.

I shared about the role 1 Chronicles 28:20 played in the life of my wife and me.

“David said further to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.’” –1 Chronicles 28:20

Years prior, my wife was dealing with devastating flashbacks of abuse she had experienced as a child. We had made the decision that she would enter an in-house treatment program across the country from where we lived, not knowing what the duration would be. (It turned out to be seven weeks.) We had two young children at home. The promises of this passage, though given in a very different context, held us together while we were apart and gave us hope that God would prove faithful. And, of course, God did!

That time of sharing became a holy moment. With each other, we rejoiced over stories of great joy, and wept over stories of deep pain. There was a depth of vulnerability and mutual respect we had not experienced before as God’s Word came alive in ways that did not address the decision we still had to make, but in ways that brought us much deeper into relationship with each other.

Minds probably were not changed during that time of sharing, but attitudes certainly were. We made our decision rather quickly. It was not unanimous, but our commitment to respect the decision made certainly was. Why? Because we took the time to allow the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts, and that was done through hearing stories of where God’s Word had intersected our lives in a special way. Once we had been reminded of how faithful God had been in the past, it was much easier to trust this faithfulness going forward.

Related: Walking Backward into the Future

Don Poest

Don Poest is a retired minister in the Reformed Church in America. He spent 38 years as pastor of Brunswick Reformed Church in Brunswick, Ohio, where he still lives with his wife Cathy. The Poests have two sons in pastoral ministry and three grandchildren nearby. A favorite activity is taking the grandkids for ice cream.