Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Deep Calls Out to Deep

It's been a tough couple months. Personally, and with respect to this ministry. A lot of people walking through some very dark places. Karina and I have family who have wandered some frightening paths over these last few months; I've had conversations revolving around pain and fear and doubt and anger with more than a few people recently.

I don't quite know why this has all happened to so many at the same time. It's too easy to point to the stress of the holidays, the downturn in the economy, the darkness of winter. All I know is that the devil has been sifting those we love, and the wounds have run deep.

It makes for an interesting time in the life of a minister. In walking with others through pain, it forces me to dig deeper, to dwell with painful questions, to spend more time in the interior places, pondering the answers to which there may not be good questions, while at the same time carrying on the public part that is celebrating Advent, rejoicing in the New Year, speaking of Joy and Hope and Light in darkness. Sometimes, keeping a foot in both worlds is tiring.

But this I know: it is perhaps the greatest privilege of my life to walk with people through these dark hills. That I get to sometimes bear the brunt of their anger toward God. That I get forced into places I don't necessarily want to go, to hold somebody's hand when they've lost their way.

I'm listening to a podcast with Dick Staub and Earl Palmer, and Palmer just said "Grace brings us into the present tense." That's what I'm feeling like right now. The past contains too much misery, the future is too unknown, but here we stand, in the present tense, with God's grace enough for right now. Or, to some, the hope that God's grace is enough for right now. We do have a lot of issues "out there," like building projects and budget shortfalls and leaky basements, but for the moment, it seems our call is to remain here, loving and carrying some people through the difficulties and demons that suck at their souls.

God is good. Sometimes, when we can't see it, we need others to be good to us, just to keep us moving, one step at a time, on the road toward glory.

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