Mark's Minute

Feb 2 2017

When I was first starting in pastoral ministry, I was youth pastor at a small church that was struggling. The youth group was going great, and I really loved those kids, but the church itself wasn’t doing well.

In order to address the issue, the leaders figured the best thing was to fire the entire pastoral staff (me and the lead pastor) and try to start fresh. They broke the news to me on a Saturday night and said they’d be announcing it the next day at church.

That felt like a punch to the gut.

The thing was that I was sure we had been hearing God correctly when I went to work there, but I felt like God was pulling the rug out from under me, and I was really…well…let’s just say that I experienced a pretty broad range of emotions in a pretty short period of time.

Looking back, I still don’t think the choice they made was a good one, and the pain has left a scar that will always be there. But here’s the thing: I learned that day that it was possible that I did hear God’s voice when I went to that church, and that the only reason I was upset was because I heard more than he intended to say.

God never promised me that I’d be there for a long time. He didn’t promise rainbows and unicorns. He just told me to go.

Why? Why would he ask me to go there knowing that it would end in hurt? I don’t know. But I know it’s not because God is mean-spirited. Somehow I have to balance the facts that God loves me and that he doesn’t shield me from pain. 

That’s a lesson that Mary, Jesus’ mom, had to learn. God chose her to bear his Son, and that was pretty disruptive to her life. Yet she somehow found the faith that allowed her to accept her role in God’s plan, even though she wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to play it.

We’re going to look into that story this week from Luke 1:26-38, and I hope that you can join us.