I have decided that prayer is a dangerous thing. I used to pray to become patient. Then I waited for several long years to get pregnant. Since this summer, I have prayed for God's guidance as we look to our future. Then, just before Christmas, someone from our presbytery called Jeff to tell him that he had to stop preaching immediately. We had been in sort of a limbo where he was preaching, but not preaching every week, to try to abide by the rules set out in the book of church order. January second was his last sermon at our church.
On the one hand, this situation is very frustrating. I hate that Jeff is still waiting to be ordained after all this time. I hate that such a small thing (i.e. - Jeff's theological stance on what seems to us to be a minor issue) is standing in the way of our church having a pastor. On the other hand, though, I am somewhat relieved that God has given us the direction I was praying for. Obviously, when I prayed for guidance, I was hoping God would show us that he wanted us to stay here and fight. I wanted this situation to resolve easily and with the presbytery realizing it had made a mistake. As usual, his plans are different. We know now that God has another place where he'd like us to minister. We don't know where that place is; we only know that place is not here. As someone who is sometimes paralyzed by too many options, it is a bit comforting to have one option, no matter how appealing, off the table.
All I can say is that through this we have continued to see God's grace to us. After all he's brought us through in the past, we know his plan for our future will be wonderful.
(Incidentally, if anyone out there knows of pastoral jobs in the PCA/ARP/EPC, feel free to let us know!)
For more about January Reflections, go here.