I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was in my dorm room packing up to head to San Antonio. I was eagerly anticipating a call from a church I interviewed with to be their student minister. Can I be honest? When I met with them in person, I thought I nailed the interview. I left feeling like it was certain that I would soon join their staff.
After what seemed to be an eternity in my room, the phone rang. I stared at it for a moment as my mind was filled with excitement and yet nervous at the thought of having my first ministry position. After I gained enough courage to pick up the phone, I heard these words: “We really enjoyed our visit with you, however, God has called us to go in a different direction. May God bless you as you seek his place for you.”
I was not ready to hear those words. In fact, it seemed as if it was a bad prank call from one of my friends. I sat and listened, somewhat dazed and confused. All I could think to say was, “Thank you, I pray God blesses your church.” I hung up the phone and sat on the couch in my dorm, discouraged and in disbelief. I was not anticipating that God would say “no.” I didn’t know what to do or where to go from there. As I began the six-hour drive to San Antonio, I began asking God what in the world he was doing in my life.
Fast forward a few weeks. I was in San Antonio when I received a call from an unknown number. I answered my phone unsure of who was on the other line. To my surprise, it was a pastor who wanted a college ministry student to come and preach for him on an upcoming Sunday evening. Of course, I was elated at any opportunity to preach. However, the next words he said would change my life forever: “Nathan, someone told me you may be interested in coming on staff at a church as a student minister. We are looking for that position and would love to interview you after the service on that Sunday evening.” I found myself going back to the question, “God, what in the world are you doing in my life?”
A few weeks later, I became the student minister at FBC Waskom. That’s a great story as it is, yet the biggest part of the story is the fact that it was at FBCW that I learned about the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. It was in this church that I would fall in love with this family of churches that I have the honor of serving today. It was in this ministry that I would begin to meet some of my greatest friends.
Let me connect the dots: the path the Lord had for me that I could not even fathom at that point didn’t initially come through a “yes,” but rather a “no.” It wasn’t through an incredible moment of victory. No, it actually started in a dorm room discouraged and uncertain about what the future would hold. Yet God, in his grace and kindness, had a plan for my life that frankly, at the time, I didn’t even know existed or know was even possible.
So friends, let me encourage you today. In those areas of life that God may seem to be saying “no,” trust that it’s for a greater “yes” later. In fact, when you feel God is saying no to something you think you really want, buckle up—he likely has something for you that perhaps you can’t imagine. I often think back to that experience and thank God for saying no to a good thing to lead me to his best for my life. Be encouraged today by the words found in that familiar proverb: “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, leaning not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I love you and am honored to serve you!
Dr. Nathan Lorick
SBTC Executive Director
On another note, I want to personally invite you to join us for our Empower Conference at the Irving Convention Center, Feb 28-Mar 1. It is going to be an incredible time of worship, preaching, equipping, prayer, and networking. I promise you will be encouraged. As you are there, please find me—I would love to say hello!