Today was hard.
Today we heard truths we wish were false.
Today we listened to confessions of weakness and sin.
Today we bade farewell to not one or even two...but to three pastors who have each shepherded in different ways, as well as a ministry director who has served faithfully for many years. All have also been friends.
Today we face a future we cannot really even begin to see.
But today was good.
Today we heard truth we had to hear for our own good. (1 John 1.5-7)
Today we listened to contrite confessions that were needed - both for those seeking forgiveness and those anxious to extend grace. (1 John 1.9)
Today we lost most of our pastoral staff and hearts are broken - among them and among us. But, just as it's necessary to remove a cancer to save a life, this was needed to save the life of our church. The people are not "cancer" - they are dearly loved brothers and sisters in Christ - but the situation in which they were entangled was cancerous, and radical surgery became the only viable option for saving the life of the church.
Today - as we're left with just a godly but very young youth pastor and willing but wounded elders - we don't know what our future as a local body of Christ holds. And we face a long process of recovery that will take months...and, in some ways, years. But we have a Father who sees everything and in whose very capable Hands we rest. We can't see the future, but He knows exactly what it is. And, because He loves us, we trust that it's glorious...for His glory.
And so, though I grieve, I'm resting in the truth of the first Scripture God brought to my mind this afternoon: "...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4.6-7)
As we approached today, my husband and I had no idea what it would mean for us. But we are unequivocally of one accord now because we have God's peace about the decisions. We will remain with our brothers and sisters in this particular local representation of the Church Universal...and offer our time, talents, and gifts to do everything we possibly can to contribute to its convalescence and recovery.
And, sad as I am, I'm filled with hope and expectation.
Photo Credit: Lopamudra!