Next weekend at Radiant Fellowship (November 21st) will be a Sunday where I will require no outline for my message...this is how in-tune I am with the topic of pain. Perhaps this is why when I am dealing with someone who is hurt or going through hurt my heart literally breaks for them. When it is someone I know that is hurting I truly hurt for them. As a pastor people will always look to you as the person they can poor out their troubles on. Whether it is family, friends, etc. people will pour out their problems to you at any given time. I have learned to show compassion to them because October has always been the month that breaks me. I can explain this with two short reasons:
1. In 1995 I went into my first serious relationship as a young 20 something. It started in June and just 5 short months later we had a near death experience together. This has a strange way of playing with someone's emotions. I will explain this story IN DEPTH on Nov. 21st at church. Let's just say it ended in one guy's skin literally melting off of him, my then girl friend and I parting ways on good terms due to different views even though I was weeks away from a ring. It was that moment that brought the most clarity into my life on where I am going in life but at the same time it brought the most pain I have ever experienced in my life. I truly know what it means when God calls you to go into one direction and when that means leaving something behind. I almost want to cry now as I am typing it. I praise God for the reassurance of Romans 8:28(NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. More on this next Sunday.
2. Fast forward 8 years to when I was a youth pastor. It was that same weekend as 1995 that I heard the words no staff pastor at any church wants to hear, "Pastor Bob...we should go for a ride." It was then that the pastor I was serving under took me for a drive and parked in a parkway by my house. He told me that he was having an affair and will be resigning the church. You know...at first I felt so bad and wondered what my next steps will be, what will I do to help? Over and over crying this pastor told me, "I am so sorry, I am so sorry for what this means for you." You see this all came about because someone put a very spot on letter on his desk that called him on the carpet. The amazing thing is that he showed the board the letter and they thought I wrote the letter. In the car this pastor told me things that were in the letter that only the person having the affair with him would have known about and yet these simple minds thought I wrote the letter. Last I looked I do not have the gift of prophecy...I don't even claim to be a prophet. This ended up in me basically being railroaded out of the church bitter, hurt and ready to tell the institution of church to....yeah....you know.
Isn't it something that both happened the first weekend in October? To this day Octobers tend to put me in a melancholy sort of mood of reflection. I think about what could of been and what is. I am so thankful for what God has brought me through and what I continue to see. The funny thing is as I was contemplating this blog I got a fortune cookie tonight with my yummy shrimp fried rice. It said, "you are the mast of every situation." I thought it was a great saying but rang so true. The only question I have is who is there for the mast when it wants to snap at times?
In the Assemblies of God they pay for the counseling of a pastor that had a moral failing but I think it should be more important for the A/G to pay for those of us who had to weather the storms of other peoples mistakes to get counseling.
I praise God I am stronger for who I am today but after some of our most painful times in life that God brings us through...we tend to walk with a limp. Why? I know for me it is so I never forget.
The picture posted with this blog has huge implications for my life that I will share about that Sunday.