I will never forget the night I got down on one knee in the crowded dining room of Simms Landing to ask my bride-to-be for her hand in marriage. I don’t really need all of the pictures and videos—our wedding day is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday, even though it was over 24 years ago.
I remember the expression on my wife’s face as I nearly passed out at the birth of our first daughter. And I remember the expression on the Security Forces Airman as I flew through the back gate of Keesler Air Force Base to get to the base hospital just in time for our second daughter to be born. I also remember the sheer terror as they took our son to neo-natal intensive care because he wasn’t breathing. And the sheer joy when the doctor told us he was okay.
The call to ministry, my ordination, finally walking across the seminary stage after over 15 years of night school and distance learning classes—each of those are wonderful memories that I will cherish forever. Just like I will cherish the day that the Lord called me to pastor Brushfork Baptist Church and the wonderful times my family and I had serving there.
But when a person looks back, he not only remembers the wonderful memories, he cannot help but recall the painful ones as well. Family deaths, broken relationships, sickness and tragedy are part of everyone’s life and we bear the emotional scars for a lifetime. Yesterday was one such moment for me.
Yesterday, I had to tell a group of people I deeply love that I will no longer be their pastor. It was my desire that the Lord would keep me there forever and we would grow into a strong, healthy, multi-generational world mission center—but for some reason, He saw things differently. I don’t know exactly where He will call us or what He will call us to do next. But I know that my family and I will bear yesterday's emotional scar for a long time.
For those who have followed this blog (despite the paucity of recent postings), this will be the last entry here. I will continue—hopefully with more regularity—posting on Deep Riches. I will also be starting a new website within the next few days. You will be able to find it at www.deepriches.com.
It amazes me how God uses everything in our lives—the good, the bad and even the ugly—to mold and grow and shape us into the people He wants us to be. As the song says,
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain.