Three and a half years ago I resigned as Lead Pastor of a church that I loved and gave my blood, sweat and tears to revitalize. My family and I came to that decision only after months of prayer and repeated confirmations from the Lord. (you can read about it all here) We left with a sense of excitement and purpose because God had moved so quickly and purposefully.
My wife and I have determined in our hearts to truly hear with the same amount of clarity from the Lord that we had about leaving our church as to where He is leading us next. Ministry, particularly the Lead Pastor position, is much more than a job; it is a relationship with many parallels to marriage. With that in mind we have had to say no to many churches because we just didn't have His peace about saying yes. It made me feel foolish many times. Even though the Lord has provided for us in many ways, finances have been really tight for us and scary with some big expenses coming down the road. I have felt this burden more than anyone. It is hard-wired in a man's heart to provide for his family. Though I am working some side-jobs as well as guest-speaking and doing consulting with churches on church health issues, the income is only enough to pay the immediate bills and support a not-so-secret Chipotle addiction. :) I have grappled with wondering, 'where is God?' and 'why is it taking so long?' and 'Is He done with me?' and 'At what point do I become a "former pastor"?' I have had to endure people's speculations about if there is hidden sin in my life, if I am truly called or I have pride issues and whether or not I am truly listening to God's voice. (friends of Job) There have been some truly dark times that I have walked though. But God's grace has been there.
Months ago an opportunity opened up that, if it worked out, would make all the dashed hopes and frustrations make sense. It was the kind of thing that brought past, present and future into focus. Surely, this was the moment and the setting where all the prophetic words that God had spoken to us would come to pass. We stood on His promises. We were confident that even though I am the underdog (as always) God would open the door that no man could shut. Recently, we found out that the door was shut with no opportunity to even have a conversation. It's ok, I wasn't owed anything, but to be sure I was gutted over it.
Not even sure why I am writing this (or if anyone ever reads these things!) apart from some cathartic need to get it out. Perhaps it's just a way to tell myself that I choose to continue to trust in the Lord. Even though He has not done what I thought He would and what I wanted Him to, He has saved me and is with me and there is no better thing. If my time of serving Him in ministry is done, He is still good. Though my dreams are lying broken at my feet, I will still praise Him. I'm a blessed man with a wife I don't deserve and great kids that love and serve the Lord. At times I feel guilty for not being more appreciative of that. My heart just yearns to be productive for the One who gave it all for me and I feel impotent to do anything. I don't have the faith to talk about the future right now, so I'll just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and trust Him with the rest.
This song hits the mark: