It's been a rough couple of weeks at Lakebay. It's tough when anybody leaves. But when 4-5 people/families all leave at the same time. . .it's difficult to keep your head up. Even when it's not really about you - people move for financial reasons, for health reasons. Still, as a pastor, you get one more of those phone calls and have to wonder what's going on.
And yet, God is good. Random words of encouragement. A wonderful lunch with another pastor in the area. A great lunch meeting with a denominational colleague, with words of hope and helpful challenge.
And then a breakfast with the core leadership of Lakebay, and a reminder of what amazing people these are. People who love the Lord, who love the church, people dealing with their own pain and struggles, trying to survive, but people who love each other and haven't given up hope.
And a larger, broader conversation with the whole church, and a reminder again of why I love this place. People who refuse to give up hope, who commit to rise to the challenge. People with a longer view of life than I possess, reminding us of God's faithfulness through hard times. People who aren't afraid to ask tough questions, to challenge, to critique, and yet do so in love and a desire to understand, not attack. It's a wonder to see God's Body living out the commands to Love One Another, to Honor Each Other, to Care for One Another.
So, yeah, it's been a rough couple weeks. I've had a few sleepless nights, I've had it out with God once or twice.
But already, tiny shoots of new growth are emerging from the ground. And I've seen clear evidence that our work will continue, that our ministry is far from over. And I've been reminded that I am in the midst of good people. Lovely people. Beautiful people. And that I am blessed.