I sit in my new study thinking through all that has transpired over the last number of months. I’ve been in Medicine Hat a few short days, now. I finished work on Thursday and early Friday morning Bonita and the girls hugged me at the airport and I flew off to Calgary. That was followed by a three hour shuttle to Medicine Hat.
Some of you know that I have been pursuing a pastoral position while I’ve been working in factories during the wait. I made it to short lists in Banff, Nebraska, Virginia, and Windsor. I have surfed, sent out resumes, Skyped, written papers, and answered questions on the phone. It can be quite the process.
Back in early August I received a phone called from Crossroads Church in Medicine Hat, a church that I had come across on-line. We chatted briefly and Bonita and I both Skyped with them the following night. There were more conversations, more emails, and then a trip to the sunniest place in Canada.
It was a whirlwind weekend. I got an extended weekend off from work and the four of us flew to Alberta. We met the staff on Friday, went out for dinner with the youth pastor and his wife on Friday night, I had a men’s breakfast on Saturday while the girls had a ladies brunch. That was followed by a three hour tour of the city with one of the couples from the church. Sunday was a full day with a tough-to-sleep Saturday night. I preached in the morning…potluck after the service…q and a…and then I met with the leadership team. That was followed by some late night ice cream with another couple from the church. On Monday Bonita visited the local hospital while I met again with the youth pastor. We then met a real estate agent and then hopped into the rental for a trip back to Calgary and a final meal at Buffalo Wild Wings. (I have since determined that nothing beats Legends wings in St. T.!) We also met with one of the denominational leaders at the airport then the red eye back to London. Because of so little sleep over the weekend the girls said I was acting like I was down to one brain cell…but after the flight home with no sleep I was down to zero!
After that all systems were go but I still had to do some paperwork for the denomination…a lot of paperwork! I completely understood. That was followed by an interview with some pastors in the denomination’s Ontario office. They green-lighted me and here I am typing at my desk at Crossroads Church. (If you want to check us out on-line, we’re at crossroadsmedhat.ca/)
This wasn’t a decision that Bonita and I took lightly. We had friends praying for us and with us. We tried to see our situation through the lens of the Word.
I’ll be back and forth to Ontario in January and February and then I’ll be here full time come the beginning of March. The plan is for Bonita to follow in the summer after Nadia is done high school. The girls both plan on post-secondary in September in Ontario. To say that the transition will be hard is an understatement.
When we look to difficult circumstances in our lives I want to be the guy that looks at those circumstances through the lens of Scripture. A favourite passage of mine that stumped me for years is the following:
[8:1] We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,  for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. (2 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV)
I often focused in on :2 and divorced it from :1. They were poor as church mice but they gave generously. That should blow us away. I used to see it as simply a human act but then I was clued into :1. It talks about God’s grace. God’s grace in their lives was the foundation for their generosity. God through His grace generated their generosity.
As I look at the transitional period for our family ahead, it will be hard. There is no doubt in my mind, it will be tough. It already has been…but because of the cross we have access to God’s grace. He will help all of us land well…for His glory and for our good. Does that mean all the blanks will be filled in today? Absolutely not. Does that mean that things will turn out exactly the way we want? Not necessarily.
I don’t know the difficult situation that you’ve experienced in the past or that you’re currently facing or the one that is going to stare you nose to nose in the future…but I do know a God who is big on grace…and His grace is so much bigger than any one of our difficulties.