Looking over these letters seems a little like trailing through a Baptist Who's Who of 1993. A surprising number of denominational leaders and others took the trouble to write - often handwritten letters too. (A friend commented how rarely we write by hand today...and how much we miss that personal touch. I am guilty of typing though Carol tells me noone can read my writing anyway!)
One of the letters came from a man I did not know yet and in his hand written letter (!) he commented: 'I was told that you did not seek this post. When the Lord leads us in this way I always think it's such a confirmation that it's right!' Not only was he right about me not seeking the post but I actively rejected the possibility when a member of the search committee first approached me. It seemed to me an utterly absurd idea - and I could list many reasons why I was disqualified. Another member of the search committee tried again with me. It was an extraordinary time as I underwent a gradual 'Christian battering' from people I didn't really know. I went to the first interview thinking I was making the numbers up. Indeed, after that interview one of the interviewers called me and begged me to be more proactive in the second interview!
I have come to believe that this comment above is a true insight. Because when you really do not seek the call it may be the Lord's leading! Of course, much depends on the spiritual qualities of those inviting you! And looking back I realize that not one of my ministerial moves was of my own volition. Moves to Blackburn, Cambridge, Spurgeon's and the USA were never sought.....indeed the move to the USA was the weirdest set of circumstances of all. Now, I know this is not true for many people, especially in these days of seeing vacant ministerial positions and needing to apply but my testimony is that this backwards way of moving into a new role can be blessed by God.