This morning I was met with some bad news. I turned off the water of the shower just in time to hear the chime of my cell phone’s new message notification. I checked my messages and was informed by the digital reproduction of a denominational head’s voice that my church planting assessment had been finished and he wished to discuss the results with me. The church planting assessment was a 6-hour interview that Kelli and I went through in early August and it’s purpose was to determine whether Kelli and I would be “successful” at starting a new community. You probably guessed it, the assessment came back differently than I would have hoped.
I wish I could say something different, but my integrity screams otherwise – I am hurting. The dissapointment of missed expectations fills my soul and I can’t hide from the pain. No rationale can remove the feeling. No resolution can absolve the experience. At this moment, pain is me and I am pain.
As I walk the streets of downtown Ventura, I see a people that share my experience. A couple fighting loudly on the sidewalk, no doubt too over unfulfilled expectations. A homeless man whose tired and dirty eyes hid the pain of experience poorly. Grimaces from passerby’s – obviously reeling from some sort of pain.
Pain is a reality of our world, and altough so much of me wishes it wasn’t, at this moment I am glad it is. At least for me.
The pain I am feeling causes me to dream of something better. To try harder to see God’s “creation vision” for his people and his world (and for me). Pain is an unsettling in our reality. It attempts to prevent us from living life and seeing others the same way we did before.
Today it is making me ask questions that can help my existence and my usefulness to the Kingdom of God. Hopefully it will push the arguing couple into reconciliatory conversation, the homeless man to seek help or rehabilitation, and the grimacing venturans to smile and relax a bit.
I will not run from pain. It has never worked in the history of mankind to avoid pain. It hunts us down and it’s attack is even more unmerciful if we hide from it. We MUST see God’s desires, his dreams, his design in the midst of the pain and then move there.
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