I started writing this blog as a form of obedience. Since this was the main reason (I am honestly not a fan of writing or reading, I prefer to do), my confession is this: I have been disobedient! It has been a while since I have posted. I cannot give a reason for or against as if obedience is required, God does not schedule when the obedience is to happen, He just expects it to happen! I started this bog followed by the dozen (grammar correct wanted to add an “s” but it’s not dozens yet!) of you to show obedience in how He was going to mold me as I attempt to grow into the life of holiness, He has called me into.
I have recently accepted my first assignment as a lead/senior pastor. This assignment moved me the sunny Florida panhandle to the Southwest corner of Indiana and the small coal-mining town of Washington. Many ask if there is an adjustment in moving to the small town. I would have to say there is not as much as many had expected for me. I enjoy the small town and the blinking light in front of the church where I serve. Now, there are other stoplights, just the one directly outside is a blinking one! The tough part has come in the separation of my family and myself. There were a couple reasons why we went this route. Some center around our children and their education and my unwillingness to hesitate or delay His call (let’s face it, I have procrastinated long enough!). I do not regret this decision, nor do I think for a second that my wife and I would change our minds given what we know now. There is that cost though. There is a physical pain in the separation. There are times when things are busy and dare, I say, stressful that it may not come into mind. Then there are those times when I am off and it is quiet in the house. There are those times (and recently) that it has been an utter joy to see God’s work. I have witnessed Him break chains of addiction, call seniors into action to learn new skills and have brought new families into the doors of the church that have stepped into leadership roles that are desperately needed. We have witnessed souls accept the call to follow Jesus and baptized someone on the first day of the year! All of this and more from a church that many would have seen as on its way down. What is all that if I cannot experience it with my best friend?
This is when physical pain steps in. There is the technology that allows us to see one another and I can chat with my kids over Facetime and through Alexa devices at a moment notice. That does not remove the physical desire to have one’s spouse of twenty plus years there. Now that I have depressed all four of you reading this, allow me to segue into my point. I wonder if God feels that same physical pain of separation when we live in sin?
We can say with certainty that Jesus felt the pain and mourned the loss of friends with John the Baptist. So we can say there is pain with God. I wonder if He felt that same pain knowing there is a separation that had to happen immediately following the fall of man when he decided to disobey and partake of the forbidden fruit? Isaiah 61:2-3 states instead of mourning, we should praise in the planting of the Lord. Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted (Matt 5:4). Who comforts the One who supplies the comfort to those in pain? We know that God desires all men to be saved (1Timothy 2:4) even though we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
I wonder if He feels that same pain, I feel from time to time but on a more consistent basis (let’s face it, there are many more on His mind as there is on mine)? When we think of that sacrifice He made on the cross, the pain He wanted to bridge just so we could have that mercy we so desperately need yet do not deserve.
This is just a slight observation of someone that is starting to feel the pain He feels as I see someone in the throes of addiction or pain or jealousy or has that heart filled with hatred for past wrongs committed against them. Sin is what separated us from Him. It takes our will to allow him to bridge that divide. We must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him. We have to be willing to constantly die to ourselves and surrender our will to His.
As for my pain, I know there is an end as the family will move north to reunite with me. I know that there is a finish line to look forward to. The finish line for God depends on our decision. He will not force us to come to Him. What if we had the opportunity and ability to ease some of His pain. Some of that pain we cause by allowing sin in our lives to separate us from Him. What if we could return the love He has so graciously shown us by surrendering ourselves and our will to Him and His?
P.S. I have started a YouTube page as well as one for the church. Feel free to check it out here as I upload sermons and devotionals weekly. Stop on by and let me know what you think! Thank you for walking with me!