Even This is the Day the Lord Has Made

Today was the day. The day we at Spring Lake learned of a few months ago. The day none of us wanted to come. The day we knew would make us cry. The day Chad said good-bye.

Chad has been our worship pastor for seven years, and about a year ago the Lord called him to attend seminary. He wrestled with that for a while, but ultimately couldn't deny it and remain obedient to God. So he and his wife Bliss began taking the next steps: telling our other pastors and elders, finding the right school, telling their families, starting to think about a move (to Missouri), and telling the worship team and congregation.

Chad and Bliss are well-loved in our church, for how they both serve us through leading in worship and for who they are as individuals: authentic, humble believers, committed to living fully and exclusively for Jesus. In fact, one song Chad sang today - The Only Thing by Ronnie Freeman - perfectly characterizes how both he and Bliss want others to see them:

Because of that, it seemed at first as if they are irreplaceable. But Chad himself immediately reminded us that nothing could be further from the truth - that if we think in such a way we are bordering on (unhealthy and unbiblical) idol worship and that, in fact, the Lord will, of course, take care of us all and provide well for us through this transition and beyond.

And He already has. We'll be blessed to welcome our new worship pastor, Aaron, and his family into our church family in early July, and I don't doubt at all that he is the next man the Lord has for us. God has been unfailingly gracious in clearly directing our pastors and elders in every ministry decision, and I'm confident He has done so again with this. I've met Aaron and his wife and have participated as Aaron led us into the Lord's presence during worship, just as Chad does. I'm looking forward to working with him as I serve along with him on the worship team and to what I trust will be a sweet friendship with Aaron and Erin.

But none of my genuine enthusiasm decreases the ache in my heart today...and I think that's okay. This won't get in the way of my ability to embrace Aaron's leadership in a few weeks. But, if I weren't sad today, that would mean I'd hardened my heart to how God has used Chad and Bliss over the past few years and to the beauty of relationship. If I weren't sad, that would mean my friendship with Chad and Bliss has been plastic.

So I'm glad to say I'm sad - because I believe that means my heart is where God wants it to be today.


Chad left us with a poem he wrote himself - a benediction of sorts that God can use to spur us all on in our journeys as Christ-followers:

A wasted life is a life unused

Never offered in service to Him
It's focused only on I and on me
And grounded in the stink pit of sin

But life without waste is a life instead
Of purpose that goes well beyond
Anything we could muster or make or conceive
And fixes our eyes solely on

The cross which offers a life sacrificed
The Savior, who leads in the charge
In Him we find all of life's purpose and plan
In death we find gain, and gain large

So consider it joy that is pure, my friend
To find in Christ Jesus this risk
To take up your cross, to count it all loss
Without the regret of life missed

Be all that we treasure, Lord, all that we love
Be seen in all that we do
Give us boldness of speech and courage to act
As more than a conqueror in You

Let's make much of Christ, friend, beginning and end
And raise up His name till we're gone
And die without question He's used every day
For the Father, the Spirit, the Son!

When we see each other again - as we almost assuredly will when Chad and Bliss return to visit family and friends - may we each be able to say that we're choosing to stay on this path of purpose. I know that nothing would please Chad more.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

What a precious gift - to care so much for another person that we hurt when they are gone. Hugs.

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