Sunday, January 20, 2013

When Life Is Tough

Mar 27, 2012, 11:19pm

As I write this I am going through one of those valley times in my Christian walk. I see no light at the end of the tunnel, there is no definite indication of what is going on in my life. My wife has the job at the hospital doing the Sleep Lab thing - which is great and God has provided there - but for me? Our family left Mt. Pleasant EMCC back on September 25 and there has been slight "blips" to try and be somewhere else serving full time as a pastor. I've been called too young, not enough experience, too old maybe for youth or kids, not flamboyant enough, etc. I had had churches ask if I was interested but they could only offer a part time salary and the church had like 20 people max. My degree for my B.A. in Ministry with Prairie is almost done. I am taking my last two electives simultaneously and everything is due by April 26th.

But when that is done does that necessarily mean the floodgates will open? There's no guarantee of anything. When waiting on God's timing, even for pastors sometimes the waiting is what makes it so tough. What do you do? What do I do? I look to God and still trust Him that He knows what He is doing and He is still guiding. Where to is what I don't know yet - and that can be scary.

Proverbs 3:5,6 is a passage I have always clung to in times of stress, uncertainty, and pain... "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Passages like that and Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." can sometimes feel hollow when we're going through the pain. Think of Job and how he lost everything except losing his life and yet he did not accuse God of wrong-doing. How many of us when we're going through hard times have not accidentally (or maybe on purpose) accused God of being against us?

For now, I am getting my degree finished. For now I am doing guest speaking (and leading worship) when called on by churches in need of pulpit supply, rotating speaking in Communion and youth at Pinewoods Chapel where we attend, and waiting on the Lord to open the door He wants me to go through.

Yes I did listen to James MacDonald this past week and the whole Perfect and Permissive Will thing. That yes God wants us to be holy as He is holy, that's His perfect will for us - to live according to His precepts. His permissive will? To allow me to make choices and ensure that what I'm doing is in line with Scripture. There are times when God does move us to something new and we need to be ready to listen and respond. Sometimes God wants us to just stay put and relax for a while - and a while in God's terms? However long it is until He's ready to move us again. That's tough. Trusting in the "silent" times is tough. As humans we want God to show us a bright neon sign that says...


...but that isn't God's usual way of operating. Lots of prayer, of fasting, of seeking His face, and then making some decisions on our own is how we need to proceed.

So take it from someone in the valley right now... God is still on the throne, He still loves and cares, He never gives up on us, He never abandons us. I ask the question, "God during this time, what are you trying to teach me?" The answer keeps coming back, "Trust me, and wait..." So that is what I and my family are doing - trusting and waiting.

How about you? If you're in the valley, are you trusting today? Or are you seeking to grab control of the reigns?

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