Trusting God in Discovering What’s Next
Did you have the blessing of growing up in a Christian home? I did not grow up in a Christian home and knew nothing about God. As a child, I never heard the Gospel proclaimed to me. I heard the name Jesus and understood the concept of a god, but it never made any sense to me. How can we know if a god exists when we never hear or see him? How can god have a child who’s a human being? It all seemed so strange to me with nobody around to explain what it all meant.
My name is Robert Pickett. I live in New Hampshire, an area with little persecution but also a lack of hunger for God. I have worked in the field of engineering for about 20 years. My wonderful wife and I have been married 15 years and have three children. I grew up in New England where persecution seldom occurs.
The Gift of Salvation
In 2004, someone finally took the time to help me make sense of it all. She explained who God is and what He is like. She challenged me to read the Bible. Thankfully, she found a great church in my own neighborhood for me to attend, one I passed by daily without ever realizing it. Impressively, she did this all from 1,500 miles away in Florida.
I gave my life to Him in my condo on June 30, 2004. At the time, sin was beginning to wrap itself around me. God forgave my sin and called me out of it. Despite the intellectual objections I had against believing in a god, all my objections became points of conviction. I married this wonderful woman who led me to the Lord in 2006.
In 2009, my wife and I moved to North Carolina. We had always wanted to live in a warmer climate where the culture was slower paced and less self-focused. We immediately found a great church in Wake Forest. During this time, I felt that God was calling me to be a teacher. I made an assumption in my head as to what this looked like and began to pursue Praxis testing and interviewing at local schools.
Confirmation or Confusion?
I thought perhaps I was receiving confirmation of this when I received awards on my Praxis tests for getting such high scores. But I hit a complete roadblock when it came to employment. No offers came and very little in terms of actual interviews. During this time, I returned to employment in the semiconductor field for a short period of time. I needed to earn something for my wife and I, but it wasn’t much.
During this time, I just focused on my relationship with God and doing my job well. During that time, my pastor asked me to help with a few things when they popped up. It could be someone needing help moving, visitation, or other tasks. Then he asked me to be the church men’s ministry leader. The only leading I had done to date was being a young adult leader which really required nothing of me. It was mostly a ceremonial title.
I wasn’t sure why he asked me since I was new to the church, very young, and had no experience. But I trusted my pastor, so I did it just assuming he had a reason. I took this role the whole time we lived in North Carolina. We had a close-knit group of men that faithfully met every week and dealt with real, honest issues. It was a joy to serve and being the young guy, I learned quite a bit.
Then the pastor offered me a paying job to be the youth pastor at the church. Now I was in over my head. Pastor? Me? I heard someone maybe a month earlier say that I would make a great youth pastor, and I laughed in their face. I’m not a public speaker, nor do I know anything about kids. Do you realize how big a disaster it would be to have a nerdy engineer trying to act as some sort of pastor?
Trusting God, No Matter What
But I trusted God and told my pastor that I’d do it. And God resolved my fears by giving me a burden for the kids and giving me the talent necessary to speak to them at their level. I relied on the Holy Spirit. I was actually teaching, though it looked nothing like what I had expected. Actually, I assumed I was going to be an Algebra, Chemistry, or Physics teacher!
During our time in North Carolina, we had issues pop up back home that made it clear that we had to move back. We moved back to New England. I took a job as an entry level engineer with modest benefits and a low wage. We really had to scrimp. I was back home making way less money, being a homeowner for the first time, and dealing with lots of medical bills that I couldn’t afford as children were born. I tried to determine how to live out the calling I thought God had for me while dealing with my new situation.
After I started tutoring kids at the church, I agreed to be the youth pastor. But I didn’t really put my full trust in God during this time. Hence, the youth pastor role and my marriage suffered quite a bit. I eventually stepped down from being the youth pastor when they had someone qualified to take over, so I could focus on my growing family. I’m glad I did because it was necessary at the time. Part of me wonders what God would have done if I just continued to trust in Him fully as I did in North Carolina.
Living Out the Gospel in the Midst of Tragedy
Fast forward to 2019. I have three awesome children. I’ve been learning how to cope with life’s challenges and how to persevere even without the protective bubble I had in North Carolina. God really teaches a person adversity when they lean on Him.
Then in 2021, completely out of nowhere, my six-year-old son died. My life in that moment was utterly shattered. Never in my life had I felt such pain. I’m a dad at heart. It was the greatest joy in my life to be a dad. The moment the nurse put my oldest son in my arms was the best moment of my life. It has been the second-best gift I have ever received outside of salvation. I have no idea why this was allowed to happen.
God came alongside me, and I promised that I would spend my life honoring my cherished son by living out the Gospel as fervently and purposefully as I could. I wanted Satan to know this wasn’t a victory for him. It needed to be clear that if my son had to go early, that he would be so proud of his dad when we reunited in Heaven. I really want to hear my son say, “Good job, Dad!” and get one of his awesome hugs.
Serving My Church and Community
I’m still living in the wake of losing my son as I write this. I’m still shocked by it and hurt. There is a lot of fixing to do in my heart as a result of losing my awesome son. But I know who I can trust through the tragedy. There is another in the fire with me. There is One who is closer than a brother. I put my trust in Him that we will one day be reunited.
Until that day, God has asked me to partner with Him in proclaiming the Gospel, in teaching others about my amazing Dad in Heaven, and in serving His people until my last breath. I currently lead a small group and have started Biblical coaching on the side. I’ve seen good Kingdom fruit come from these avenues!
My spiritual dream is to serve my church and the community of churches through Biblical coaching as well by standing alongside them as they encounter their own life trials. I want to be one who can help them as they struggle with marital issues, with grief, and other issues that they may face in their life. I continue to seek the Lord and ask Him how I can serve Him with my entire life. These classes at Christian Leaders Institute will help to prepare me for whatever else He will call me to. Thank you, Lord, that you love me and consider me worthy to carry on your mission!