God’s Plan

Written by Jake Snawder

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.  Isaiah 6:1-4

When I was asked to write this, I felt pretty excited about it, having never written a blog before. In the weeks that followed I began to think more about what I would write; I began to worry. How can I put into words what I feel like I’m being called to do? How could anybody put that into words? Having never really thought about it until the time came to answer the question, I really did have to think about it. I could have easily just said; “Exactly what I’m doing now”, and left it at that, but I knew that wouldn’t have been enough. The truth is though, that it really is what I’m doing now, but I have to explain how I’ve come to that conclusion.

In my professional life I am an installer of home appliances, and it has been very fulfilling work. I’ve spent the last seven years in that field perfecting my skill set that is required to be the best I can at my job. It’s a lot of work, and I’m tired at the end of the day, but it is the trade that I have chosen to make my career of. I’d rather come home at the end of the day with dirty, calloused hands than spend all day typing on a keyboard in a cubicle. I feel like I’m in a very rewarding line of work that is providing a public service and makes other people happy. I’ve always considered myself a people pleaser. I feel good when I’ve completed a job and the customer is happy, and I feel like that makes God happy as well.

But I feel like what I’m being called to do goes beyond just my career in the appliance world. I try my best to keep my professional life and personal life separate from one another, although sometimes it’s not so easy. In my personal life I have chosen to become a youth Sunday school teacher at Wesley Chapel, but I’m not your conventional Sunday school teacher, as you may have noticed. That’s nothing against the other Sunday school teachers who are your traditional example of what one should be. There are a lot of variables that led me to that, and at different times I didn’t really notice that it was God at work, but now as I look back on it, it was all God at work.

I grew up in a Catholic church. For 10 years I went to a Catholic school, and until I was 14 years old I attended Catholic mass regularly. The only thing missing was that I was never part of a children’s or youth group like what is at Wesley Chapel. To be completely honest, I never knew those type of groups existed at other churches. All I knew was that we had to go to mass every Wednesday during school hours, and I was never paying attention to the message. All I knew was that it was an excuse to be out of class for an hour and a half, and that was good enough for me. Looking back on that, I am very proud of the education that I received at the Catholic grade school, and I’ll never forget the time I spent there. But that would all change once I entered high school.

My goal for this blog is to explain what I feel like I’m being called to do, not tell my whole life story, so I’ll spare a lot of details in this section. Several people know that I am a recovering drug addict, and after reading this you’ll know also, now with three years sobriety under my belt. After spending so many years at a private school, going straight to a public high school was quite an adjustment. This is where I look back and wish I would have stayed in church and been part of a youth group. Shortly after my freshman year of high school started, I began to experiment with marijuana, and over the course of a few months it would become a habit. It wasn’t long until I began to seek other substances to try as well. This would consume my entire high school life.

After many failed attempts to get clean throughout my late teens and 20s, there finally came a day at the age of 27 where I decided that I was done with the drugs for good, and it very much came as a God moment. I got myself clean, and just a couple weeks later met Chrissy, to whom I am now happily married. Just a couple months after Chrissy and I began dating she introduced me to Wesley Chapel UMC. From that moment I’ve never looked back on who I used to be. But even when I began attending Wesley Chapel, and decided that it was a comforting place where I needed to be, I still didn’t know there was a place that I belonged within the walls of the church. But then there came one of the worst days in my life.

In the early afternoon of January 31, 2021 I received a phone call from my older sister, Shannon, as soon as I answered the phone, I knew something was wrong. My younger sister, Micayla, had been found dead at a friend’s house due to what appeared to be a drug overdose. She was 20 years old. My family had known that she had been using drugs, and we had all been trying to help her stop and show her our support to let her know that she did have people who cared about her, myself included, having been roughly 18 months sober at the time of her passing. That was when I began to feel the call to where I needed to be within the church. Shortly after Micayla’s death, I inquired about becoming a youth teacher at church. Having grown up around the daycare system (my mother was a daycare teacher for over 40 years), I had no problem giving up an hour of my Sunday mornings to talk to the youth about a man who died for my many sins.

So, what is God calling Jake Snawder to do? Well, if you would have asked me this question two years ago, I would have never been able to give you the answer you deserve. My goal as a youth teacher is to make sure these teens don’t go down the same path that I did, to not have to go through and experience what I had to, and to not end up like my little sister. That’s what God is calling me to do, to remind these youth that they are the future of this church, that they matter, and that they always will.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined!1 For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6: 5-8

2 Responses to “God’s Plan”

  1. Becky Perkins says:

    Well written, Jake. You are a good, heart-felt writer. Thank you for sharing. Am proud of you.

  2. Ruth Ann Bandy says:

    Thank you for sharing some of your life experience with us. Thank you for following God’s leading and for stepping up to be a youth leader at Wesley Chapel. I pray that God will bless you and use you to make a difference in the life of the youth you are serving.
    Ruth Ann Bandy

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