There is nothing God cannot do! I believe that wholeheartedly. To convince others is not such an easy task…to stand firm on that myself when I am having a rough day is also not so easy. To remove myself from the picture and hand God the paintbrush is not always an easy feat when you are looking at numbers and absent family members…yes, church family members. It is heartbreaking, discouraging, and downright lonely to see people absent for a week, two, three or even more with no apparent reason. I can chase them down, but when push comes to shove I know I cannot control the outcome, it’s all up to God.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
A church in revitalization or rebirth is like a roller coaster. My congregation knows how much I hate roller coasters as I use them in illustrations often. One week we’re up and the next we’re down, then we experience a loop-de-loop, which give me an upset stomach. As shared with the family, my favorite amusement park ride is The Lazy River. In church life, however, I’d rather see a constant steady climb. Unfortunately, church life doesn’t usually happen that way. I’ve come to understand that all too well.
I have also come to understand we need to be thankful for the small victories of seeing a visitor return twice, receiving a hug from one of the children just because they love being at church, or seeing spiritual growth within the church family, which isn’t so small when you think about it. It gives you hope of the many more victories to come.
My roots have permeated deeper into the depths of what Haskinville Wesleyan Church is and will become. God continues to cultivate His work here and I am encouraged that He is the One who will bring all things to fruition.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
It must be that time of year when my mind settles and I begin to pondering. A time my fingers must be put to the keyboard. It’s been two years now since the Lord transplanted this pastor to Haskinville Wesleyan Church. I am feeling settled in at last. Making this my home. There is an oak tree planted in the front yard of the old church. I looked up at its outstretched branches the other day to see acorns…lots of acorns clustered from the tips of those branches. The first time since my arrival has the tree produced these capped wonders. Hopefully, I can gather some for crafting and decorating the parsonage and church.
I was looking for this verse the other day. It was if God was speaking to me. I couldn’t find it when I wanted it. But now, as I pen about the mighty oak, I realize once again, His timing is perfect. I realize I have been called to this place for a specific reason. I look around and see grieving people; I grieve with them. I see poor and lonely souls, I see troubled and wounded warriors who are scarred from the battles they have been fighting for such a long time. They are my community. They are my congregation. They are the people I see every day. They need Jesus, I need Jesus. The world needs Jesus.
So, I must dig my roots in even deeper to comfort and encourage, to share the Good New of Jesus Christ. As this community, in which I have been transplanted becomes stronger, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Let all we do bring glory to God.