A Time for Everything

Hello, Dear Ones,

Today was a bittersweet day. We received our new pastor in church today. We have been praying for this day. We have longed for this day, with faith and hope and love. It was day of rejoicing and celebration.

And yet…

These celebrations represent the breaking of another’s heart. The dreams of one we love once lay in the pulpit that this precious new pastor now fills. And though I rejoice with my church family at this wonderful gift of a new leader, my heart felt the absence of a friend today.

I try not to dwell in these thoughts. It is time to move on. As the wise teacher tells us in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. I believe with all of my heart that everything happens for a reason. I found it interesting timing that on the very weekend that we officially called our new pastor, our old friend received his new call. Doesn’t our Heavenly Father have a flair for the dramatic? Isn’t He full of kindness and compassion? I don’t pretend to know what His timing means, I only know that He has filled my friend with hope again, and for this I am so thankful.

The Lord tells us over and over in His Word that where there is pain, where there is sorrow and heartache; in this pain there is a chance to grow. We are supposed to be thankful for our struggles. To rejoice in them, no less.

Huh. I find this much easier to do in hindsight. The lessons are more easily internalized when I’ve made it safely to the other side. In fact, I don’t know too many people who suffer gracefully. In our flesh, we are prone to bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and the big one: pride.

Our congregation has had our share of these emotions in the last couple of years. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride. But only one among us had his life uprooted. Only one among us was left alone.

I sit with my friends and rehash all the circumstances that led us to where we are today. Every time we do this, I feel worse, not better. But it is like we have been through a trauma and we are compelled to talk about the terror of it. Like soldiers who have been through a terrible battle, we relive each hurtful incident. We must reveal our thoughts, our pains, our anger. Else, healing will never occur.

A time for everything.

And so it is time for the healing to begin. And I wonder to myself, what has the Lord been teaching me through this? What has He been teaching my departing friend? And the rest of our congregation? What have we all learned?

“…but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”–Romans 5:3-5

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