Why is it when everything is nearly perfect, it always changes?
My nearly perfect pastor resigned last week. Of course, I know as a man he’s not perfect, and I didn’t even know him personally, but the church’s mix of style, doctrine, leadership and preaching was nearly perfect for me.
This feeling isn’t new. I’ve been here before.
Our dream team headed for Lombok in 1996. All nine of us had finished basic language and cultural training and were ready to dive into church planting. Just a few months later, robbers broke into a teammate’s home, stabbed him three times and changed the trajectory of our lives. Before we hardly hit the ground, only four of the team were left wondering what had happened.
I have experienced so many of these changes that I fight cynicism. You have the perfect job? Just wait, the ball will drop. You’ve found the best set of friends? Hate to say it, but someone will move away.
- The company with the great colleagues, the right flexibility and the exact match for your gifts is bought out.
- Your dearest companion and partner of fifty years contracts Alzheimer’s and is no longer the same person.
- The team that met in training and vowed to minister together until churches were planted in a foreign country disintegrates when one couple suddenly returns home.
- The family of believers who were caring and close are now estranged.
- The worship pastor you loved and hoped would never leave hears God’s call to missions and moves out of state.
- The perfect friend who just clicks with you loses their battle with cancer.
- The new friends you are just getting to enjoy discover she has a terminal illness and well, you can figure out the rest of the story.
We work so hard to find a comfortable zone where we can thrive at a maximum. Some never achieve this. And those who do, find that it is tenuous at best, because change is inevitable. People move. Health deteriorates. Situations fluctuate. Change. Some is self-imposed. Some beyond our control. Some want it. Some resist. And the world starts to roll and the revolving door spins.
And now I face the loss of a weekly dose of inspiring and challenging teaching from God’s word from a gifted man who has taught me new truths, nuances and applications.
However I have been in his place. My husband and I left our mission team and a church staff position. Being on the other end has taught me that the old adage “All good things come to an end” is okay.
Could we always live on the mountain top? Too much vacation would no longer be vacation. Everything going for us would never create the right formula for growth and maturity. Staying the same would not let us see how the next venture might be even more perfect. Change also brings adventure, excitement, fresh ideas and new opportunities.
I get it that my pastor needs this. From his vantage point, I get it. From my own, it’s yet another change.
So what do I do? I grieve this legitimate loss. I put myself in his shoes and seek to understand his decision without judgment. I allow God to move his servants around as he sees fit. I renew my resolve to live presently, enjoying what I have now. I remind myself that my true hope is in my unchanging God alone and not in any man or situation. I let go of control and trust God. And I combat cynicism with truth:
Surely the righteous will never by shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (NIV)Psalm 112:6-7
What unexpected change are you experiencing?
Which of the principles above can you apply today?
Prayer: El Olam, my everlasting God (Gen 21:33), thank you that you are eternal and will be with me forevermore. You will not resign or leave the team, move away or quit. You will always be dependable, consistent, and trustworthy.
Further Study: Hebrews 13:5-8, Psalm 91, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Lamentations 3:22-23, Proverbs 3:5-6