Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
— Bob Dylan, “Times They Are A Changin””
No, I’m not that big of a Dylan fan and I’m not that much of a cynic – radical maybe, cynical, I hope not. But the phrase “the times are a-changin” keeps running through my head (and besides, I wasn’t but a child when Dylan recorded this 😋).
I haven’t posted anything on this blog in a month – hadn’t intended for it to be so long but a lot has happened since the beginning of May and it carried over into last month. I’ve alluded to the possibility of a future stint as missionaries in Brazil and we thought (and still think) the timing for that is still in the future – next year at the earliest – but some changes may move that timetable up.
The decision was made in mid-May to not take another appointment as a local pastor (not entirely in my line with my wishes but I trust that God is in control). This left us jobless and homeless (we were living in a parsonage). God worked things out rather quickly to put a roof over our heads and we moved just three weeks ago. We are still basically jobless – we’ve had some nice gifts to see us through (and we give God the glory for that!) – at least for a couple of months and I’ve done a little work here and there – remodeling a bathroom with a friend and some computer work (I’m a web designer by trade).
To say that this has rattled us and we feel like “the waters around us have grown” is putting it mildly. Whatever measure of security that Kathy and I felt was pulled out from underneath us (and we realize that a lot of that sense of security was placed in rather shifting sand). We have battled fear, anger, and confusion – all with the help of a LOT of praying friends and family. Through it all, God has quietly spoken, “I have you…You will be okay”.
At first that was hard to take – it sounded so.., so simple and I honestly have to quench the urge to punch people that tell me that – even when I know it to be true! I wonder how many people really believe that when they tell that to someone. It’s easy to say it – it’s harder to believe it. (It’s made me more aware of what I say when offering help).
I’ve had more time to catch up on some reading and praying – a good thing after all. I read Shirley Arnold’s post on the Charisma website earlier today. I don’t think anyone, Christian or not, would argue that we are definitely in a strange time in history. I can vouch for that personally! I hear God tell me that we’ll be okay but I don’t hear Him say anything about what’s next for us. I had no problem for two years hearing what He had me preach on Sundays and I struggle with this blog today (and it shows – another of the reasons I haven’t posted anything lately). But as Kathy and I prepare ourselves for a future in Brazil, we worry about the things going on around us – the Gulf Oil crisis, the church – both the congregation we served and the Body of Christ as a whole, our nation (and what will things be like when we return), and a hundred other things that just don’t seem to make sense right now.
Again, I find myself coming back to a place of trusting in God – I’ve prayed more than once lately, “God, you are all we’ve got!”. Yes, I still have my fears – I just don’t sign an agreement with Satan that they are my destiny. God has promised so much more and I’d rather hold out for what He has to offer than wallow in pity.
So we move from pastoral ministry to lay ministry to cultural work. Not sure what is next but I know that I trust in God to see us through. This may be a strange time in history and the times are a changin’ but I serve a God who never changes and knows all of history – He wrote the book.