Well, it’s been a long time world wide web, but I’m back. It seemed like after I left our last church I didn’t have too much to say anymore. Ever since the fateful day in August when I was confronted with the vicious backhand of reality and my impending departure from my church, I have felt I was not able to write anything here. I didn’t feel like I had much in the way to contribute. But, it’s been almost 2 years. And the Lord has sought fit to place us back into a pastoral role. And I wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few things that I have learned from August 2012 until now.
- God is sovereign. I preach this regularly, but fail to live up to my own words. How easy it is to say God is sovereign, but then when the carpet is pulled out from underneath you it’s much harder to accept your own preaching. Now I know why the Puritans talked about preaching the Gospel to ourselves. Because I need it. I especially need to preach it to myself when things are good, so that when things are bad, I’m more prepared. I never would have thought we would leave our church, but God is sovereign. In His sovereignty, He decided what was best for His glory, His plan, and my good. I didn’t understand it. I still don’t. But He does. It’s His plan. And at least now I can look back and say more than I could before, I think I see why.
- God is gracious. Boom. And just like that no job, no money, no nothing. No family around, no church family. This is when the desperation sets in. Sure, friends call. Some people help. You visit other churches. But, it’s almost like a part of you is missing. Women, you need to know that men see their identity wrapped up in their jobs. When their jobs go, everything goes. That’s how I felt. Depressed. Bitter. Worthless. Yet, God wanted to teach me about grace. When I was undeserving, he gave me a job. It was a lot less paying job, but it was a job. One I was good at. I got promoted within 6 months, and was recently offered my own store to manage. That’s encouraging. And the best part? I never went hungry. The kids always had clothes. Our bills were paid. Sure, God used people to help me often. But God did it. His grace was great in my life to bring me to complete reliance on Him. And what’s more amazing is, I actually feel in a better financial state now rather than before, even though I was making less than half what I was at the church. God is gracious.
- God is good. He didn’t leave me nor forsake me. He was with me the entire time. I grew in Christ during this time. My family grew as well. We got accepted into a church to fellowship with, and then the opportunity to preach to a people nearby for a year, whom I do not think heard the gospel much in the recent past. What a great opportunity it was to get to bring the Word to people again. They hungered for it. Not for me. But the Word. How exciting was that! And then, God brought a new church, with new people who wanted me to be their pastor. A new denomination, a new church, a new state. Huge changes. Exciting, and nerve-wracking. Here was a people who wanted a messed-up Canadian to be their under-shepherd. And we are excited to join them in serving Christ in New York. He didn’t leave me after losing my church. He didn’t say, “I’m finished with you.” He said, let me take some time to refine you. Give me some time to continue to make you more like Jesus. And in due time… well… due time is here. Less than a week away from becoming the Pastor of God’s flock again. He is good.
It’s been a trying number of months. I wondered where God was, how we would pay the bills, what people in our town thought of us, of the friendships and families lost, of wondering if the effort was in vain, and if I would be able to serve in this way again. Yet, through it all, God has been working in me. He’s been refining me. He’s been making me see less of me and more of Jesus. He’s been preparing me and teaching me. What a wonderful Father we have that does not leave us nor forsake us. He’s been with me during this transition. And I am thankful. Yes, I can say thankful now, that God made me go through this transition. For now, by the grace of God, I am a better man. I am a better husband. I am a better father. I am a better Christian. And I think, with full confidence, that I will be a better pastor because of it.
These months have been a gift. One in which I hope, and pray, I do not squander. Pray for me friends, that I will be a faithful servant of Christ Jesus, and remember who God is, and what He has done for me and my family.