Sunday, January 31, 2016

Snapshots of the Future

This morning in church I had one of those surreal moments when I thought about the past.... and the future.... and how it sometimes is a good thing that we don't know the future from the beginning.

We were sitting in our new church (isn't it beautiful????) and a small group was singing the words to this song:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
It was the song that we had sung at our wedding.....   And suddenly I thought -- what would we have felt had on our wedding day we had seen a snapshot of the future?  What if at the wedding we had seen a picture of this church and us sitting there.  What if someone would have explained that in less than 20 years we would have 12 children ages 17-29, 7 grandchildren, and would have just moved all the way to the North Carolina/Virginia border to pastor a church and take on a huge job as a Chief Officer of a Family Service agency?

I think I would have said, "Way cool!" But I also would have wondered a great deal about what steps we were going to be taking to get from point A to point B.  Seeing a snapshot of the future might have caused me a great deal of anxiety.

There is a reason why God keeps some things a secret and simply says, "Follow me."  Todays sermon was all about that -- how God leads us through the unknown, the foggy moments when we can't see what is ahead.  He keeps His promises, though, and guides us from one place to the next.

The last three months have been wild ones for us.  We went from having a very sure solid predictable  future on October 1st  (retiring from Bethany, living in Minnesota until death) to living in Virginia having resigned from Bethany and leaving the Minnesota Annual Conference and being settled in a new parsonage on February 1st.

Way back on that day, when Bart and I stood and listened to our dear friends sing the song above, we were committed to those words.  I don't know if we have always followed them, but we have tried.  And we have found them to be great words to live by.

I don't think I want to see a snapshot of 20 years from now.   In fact, I know I don't.  I don't need to either.  All I need to know is that the same God that has brought us this far, will carry us through the next steps, one at a time.  

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