Thursday, April 4, 2013

Out of Exile

I've made no secret that the past nine months haven't been very fun for me. I've openly questioned "why?" I've been miserable in many ways. I've definitely had to work on my anger with a few individuals and was intensely challenged by a sermon my friend Rob on forgiveness regarding my feelings toward those individuals.

Another of my friends, Israel, was telling me a few weeks ago how he read through the book of Jeremiah during our pastoral interim. He was drawing the parallels for me to his experience with that of the Israelites/Judahites during the Babylonian Exile. I took his recommendation of the book of Jeremiah as a hint that perhaps I should read that book during my own "Exile" from active, full-time vocational ministry.

I started reading the book a few weeks ago, taking it nice and slow so as to take enough time to really digest what I have been reading and to focus on the Word, not just read it to say I've read it.

So, I've drawn some parallels of my own based on the weeping prophet.

First, this has undeniably been a time of exile for me. It's been incredibly difficult. It's been full of tears. It's been full of questioning. it's been extremely frustrating. I've felt abandoned, discouraged and broken at different times over the past months. I did not, however, feel like I was being prepared for this time in my life. Perhaps I wasn't paying attention, but I don't ever feel like God was getting me ready for such a time as this. Again, maybe I just wasn't paying attention, wasn't willing to learn.

The second major revelation for me happened in the fifteenth chapter, right at the end when God finally says to the people "I will save you from..." This was incredibly for me, because it was the promise that accompanied the Exile. The people were being punished (I haven't figured out if I was being punished, or being winnowed through this period), but God was quick to tell them that he wasn't abandoning them. He would save them. He would bring them through.

What a powerful word from the Lord. I'm leaning, in these days, on God to bring me through to the end of this period. I've felt for a few weeks now that this period of my life is drawing to a close. I believe that something is going to happen soon and God is finally readying me for this time to be over. In my selfishness, I can't wait. I'm ready to get back in the saddle and get back to work for the Kingdom.

Most of the people who are reading this are friends of mine, people who have known me for years and have been praying for my family and me during this time. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the prayers and support over the past months. It's meant a lot to us. Continue to pray for us in the days to come, please!

1 comment:

  1. As someone who has had his own issues with ministry, particularly with a certain denomination, I know the feeling of being exiled. I even felt that way when I was dismissed from The Naz, maybe that more than anything.

    Anyway, you're in my prayers. I know we weren't the closest of friends but you are a fellow minister and if there's anything I can do to help let me know.