Far Better Than We Know
It’s almost Christmas, so I’m feeling a little sappy. I hate to admit it, but Christmas time is the one time a year, I watch some Hallmark movies, and just eat them up.
In this season, I also always seem to find myself a bit more emotional than usual. I have been doing a lot of reflecting over the last year, spending time just thinking about different moments and considering God’s part in it all.
I am sure it is no surprise, that in church planting there are some bumps along the way. I expected it for sure, but how frequent those bumps would come, or how tough some of those bumps would be to navigate; that I was not fully prepared for.
Some of them seem small now, some seemed impossible in the moment. There were things like, only a couple weeks before we launched as a church, we heard that the space we had acquired and done a significant amount of work to prepare, was not going to work, and we’d have to find a new location in 10 days or less. We’ve had fees for different types of permits and expenses in the multiple thousands that we didn’t know were coming pop up along the way. We walked through the difficult change of everyone knowing everyone really well, to seeing people each Sunday that you don’t even know. There have been people who left that I thought would be here for the long run, there have been people angry at me for what I said or did, or didn’t say or didn’t do; or had their feelings hurt for how I dealt with a situation. I have watched people walk through hardships as a family, or as individuals, in really heartbreaking and terrible circumstances. It’s only been a few days short of a year, and it already seems like the list is more than I can handle.
Yet, in each of these moments, in all of these circumstances, there has been one really obvious and loud constant. God has been both present and providing every single time. I have seen God move to open doors that seemed shut, locked, and barricaded. I have seen God heal relationships that seemed broken far beyond repair. I have seen God provide for people and the church in miraculous ways. I have felt the comfort and peace of God in situations that made the turmoil of the day, fade completely away. I have experienced His presence, heard His voice, received His love, and been assured of His promises.
The thing is, I look back over this last year, and although I can clearly see all the hard things we’ve walked through, I don’t look back and see a year of difficulty. I look at a year of unimaginable good, breakthrough and blessing.
Here is what I really want you to hear today, life is going to bring challenges, hardship, and pain. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. When we walk with God through life, it doesn’t mean every obstacle will go away, but how we feel in the midst of it will be completely different. God wants us to be close to Him, in the good and the bad seasons, and when we really keep our eyes on Him, trusting and looking to Him… we will see, that He is far better than we know, and His presence, literally, changes everything.