He Leads Me Into Crisis

The former RBC campus at 12th court
God will not lead us into temptation, but He will lead us into crisis.  As C.S. Lewis pointed out about his allegorical lion Aslan, God is good, but He is not safe.  Psalm 23 is refreshing.  It is a Psalm of restoration, but it is also one of crisis.  If read in context, it is laced with trial and danger.  He leads me beside still water because the rest of the pools have gone dry.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures.  Just a few weeks from now the grass will be burnt to a crisp beneath the intensifying heat of the sun.  We move from crisis to crisis.  He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  Sometimes sheep eat food in places where they themselves could easily be eaten.  The only reason they survive is because of the shepherd.  He leads us to eat in crisis.  He is not safe.

He moved us from crisis to crisis.  When we moved here 8 years ago we did not know that we would be moving here to move.  We moved here to help the church recover its ministry in the neighborhood.  We did not know that recovery would require a move.  After 52 years of ministry in the same location, I, who had been there less than 3, had to ask the church to move. 

It is impossible to put into words what it feels like to know that God is going to lead you, and the people who follow you, into crisis.  It is not safe.  Perhaps one day I will write a more full account of what it is like to lead a church to relocate, but not today.  For now it is sufficient only to say there is a great deal of personal pain and crisis for everyone involved.   

The move was more than geographical.  It was a spiritual relocation.  It took us 3.5 years to move.  So far in my life, that period was the dark night of my soul.  It forced me to deconstruct every chord of theology I knew.  I slept very little.  I argued with God a lot.  I searched for loyalty.  I questioned friendship.  Everything I once thought God honored, I learned that He didn’t.  I realized what it mean to wait.  I lost control.  I gained trust.  I doubted.  I believed.

There is much more that I could say about our move, but the purpose of this week’s blog posts is to state appreciation.  On the other side of that move, today, stands a community of people for whom I am eternally grateful.  We have become thirsty and have been refreshed together.  Together we have experienced how God moves.  We have all changed.  To be your pastor now means something very different to me than it did 5 years ago.  Preaching to you now is a new experience.  I am grateful for how God has moved in us.

God leads us into crisis.  Psalm 23 is laced with danger.  The pools we are enjoying now will become stagnant and dry.  Something will cause us, once again, to move.  The next move may not be geographic, but much like the last one, it will require us to relocate spiritually.  We must find new pools.  We must tread through valleys.  We must eat where we may be eaten.  He will lead us. 

I love being your pastor.


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