Joy in the journey? This was a phrase thrown around quite a bit when I posted this picture a few years ago. This picture of a church bulletin from my first service at Radiant Fellowship has been something I kept in my “momentos” file in my desk. Yes, I have a file where I keep pictures, newspaper clips, etc. When I came to the church in Waupaca and received this bulletin it was very nice and I was honored. Truth be told though, I was also a train wreck.
The things I went through in ministry to get to this point were nothing but painful. Joy was a word that I did not equate to the moment when I saw my name in that bulletin.
Just a few weeks prior to coming up to Waupaca, I was hopeful. The pastor I served under made some poor moral choices and I thought since I was the youth and associate pastor of that church for 8 years that I would be considered as the new pastor. I submitted my resume with great anticipation only to be told a week later sitting at a Perkins with the interim pastor to pull my resume. I asked why because Tracy and I loved that church. We were told “because the board doesn’t want you there.”
Fast forward just a few weeks and there I was in Waupaca. Sure, I could have taken two other positions but this one felt right. Little did I know a year and a half later I would go through a storm once again.
I say all of that because when someone goes through a very difficult time in life. The last thing you would want to say to them (though well meaning) is that there was joy in the journey. Honestly, I can say there was zero joy in that journey. God certainly redeemed that situation but to say there was joy? Probably no. I am pretty confident many in the Bible would agree with those sentiments.
This is the life of a pastor though. There are MANY joys in the journey but there are certainly many non-joyous moments as well. Through it all though I have learned to trust in Jesus and let him direct my steps.
Side note: I have since shredded this bulletin since I don't even consider that to be a part of this current church.