Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Five Years Later

"You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day . . ." -- Genesis 50:20b

You've heard this story before.
Five years ago today, I was attending the Ohio District Pastors' Conference. I like to be a good citizen when I can, and that means going to these things when you don't have a good excuse not to go. Anyway, the conference wasn't too bad--though if I'd have had to listen to then-President Kieschnick say "incessant internal purification" one more time, I might have bludgeoned myself with my own computer. But then, at the very end of the conference, then-President Bergen of the Ohio District took me aside and said to me, "I'm putting you on restricted status, pending your possible removal from the Synodical roster." On the drive home from the conference, I spoke with my Circuit Counselor, and he told me the board of elders of the congregation I was serving at the time was going to ask for my resignation, and should I refuse, they'd force me out. Sure enough, that evening, the president of the congregation asked for my resignation upon the request of the elders. It was the worst day of my life--and I hope it always remains so.  It was the start of four-and-a-half years on CRM status, which is as close to purgatory as I imagine anyone can get.

I know I don't really talk about congregational matters very much on here, and that's a deliberate thing. But this morning I will make an exception. One of my elders and his wife stopped by to pick up something for an event we're having later this month. They were only here for about ten minutes, but while they were gathering what they needed, we had a lovely conversation, and we all went on our way with smiles on our faces.

What a difference five years makes! How blessed I am, and how blessed my family is, that we are in this place with these fine people. God is, indeed, good--just as He was five years ago, though I found it harder to see at times back then.  What a good and gracious God we have, who uses everything for good.

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