After arriving in San Luis Obispo County, I visited several churches and met lovely people in all of them. Finally, I visited my daughter’s Vineyard congregation and stayed. It doesn’t give me much social contact (it takes a lot longer for that) but I knew I was hearing authentic Gospel. I stayed. My daughter recommended a book she was reading, Jeff Pratt’s The Homeward Call. She said her pastor knows the author—good enough for me. I noticed that Jeff, the pastor and an online teacher I’ve been listening to, Jeremy Myers at RedeemingGod.com, all quote a Franciscan by the name of Richard Rohr. Interesting connections going on, it seems. So I’m reading Jeff’s book and stopping to reflect and this morning’s instruction is: “Reflect on a past time of difficulty—what is God saying to you?” I did and what God said was “I loved you then and I love you now.” Profound for me, because there were days of pain, difficulty and to my sorrow, times I let someone or something “help” me – or I ran – instead of simply standing in the storm and letting God deliver me. My husband died and I was living in Cornwall, England, trying to be the pastor to a whole new congregation in a new town and a country not my own. Without going into the details, I faced opposition. I ran. I went home, except that there was no home to go to. “Home” was there in England because that was where God had sent me. I did not escape difficulty in the USA, because life is not like that. We will have opposition. Life is hard anyway, but spiritual warfare is real. So it went on, the difficulty, until I stopped trying to fix my life and let God take over.
So what have I learned? When the storms come, this is what I have learned:
Nothing is worth walking away from God
I can’t go back and have a second chance
I can’t undo certain decisions I made
I can’t let the storm run its course
But I can tell you without reservation—
Nothing is worth walking away from God.
When the sadness comes, when grief clouds your vision
When men offer you a way out of your pain
Wait on God.
God knows your broken heart and your loneliness
God knows about the job loss and the messed up
Let the rains come and the winds beat down.
Accept no rides out of the storm until you are sure
It is God in that boat.