2011 was a really hard year. Almost one year ago this week I was offered a severance package and invited to leave the congregation where I currently minister. We have been here seven years. This is the first indication I had that anyone was dissatisfied. I was shocked.

I politely declined the offer and kept going. I worked on some areas of ministry the leadership felt were deficient and kept going. We looked into other ministry opportunities, but kept going. We’ve had some leadership changes and we’ve kept going. 

We felt that God had called us to Greenville and had not yet indicated that it was time to leave. My wife and I have usually known when God was signaling us to move on. That time hadn’t arrived yet. I just didn’t know if the eldership here would come to the same conclusion.

I was encouraged by this quote from Henri Nouwen,

Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, “How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.

Much of the turmoil of the past year has now passed. I am more secure and confident in my ministry. I shouldn’t have been surprised. God has always been faithful in the past. God has always provided for our needs. It’s just so hard to remember that in the midst of crisis. 
Somehow, God has given me the gift of tenacity. This is not the first time ministry has been difficult. I hold on. When others would give up, I hold on. When others would give in, I hold on. I believe that’s a valuable gift in the ministry. We need thick skin. We need to worry more about what God thinks of us than others. We need to trust in God more than we trust in ourselves or others. God is faithful.