Faithfulness in Such a Time as This


Are you serious God? You have me right here right NOW? This month? This situation? This is the prayer I have been praying a lot lately. I am in the middle of an ordination process with a denomination that is about to have a major conference on how we are going to move forward and if we are going to move forward. I just spent three years getting a degree to be ordained in a church that is not even sure how it will be moving forward by the time I graduate. Seriously God? Why right now? Why this way?

I spent last summer re-opening a small church that has a lot of really beautiful dreams, a huge heart, and a shoestring budget. We are depending on the denomination to get us to the dreams, and the denomination is deciding how they are going to go forward. We are praying that the ways we want to move forward and the ways the denomination wants to move forward fit together. We really need them to fit together.

Right now God? Right now I am opening a church? Right now I am moving into this denomination? Right now I am moving a church into this denomination?

And this week I preached a sermon on Esther. The book in the Bible that never actually mentions God. The book of the Bible that has chaos reigning everywhere and one girl without much power who is just hoping it will all work out in the end. And her uncle whispering in her ear that even though it seems bizarre, maybe this is exactly where she is supposed to be, “For such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

For such a time as this.

Maybe God wants me here, right here in the midst of a denomination that is moving forward somehow someway. God is asking me to be faithful to walking forward, and has called me to be faithful right in the midst of the chaos. Maybe I am not the only one. Maybe I am one of hundreds of people who are also in “such a time as this.”

Maybe God wants me to be leading this little church with this little group of faithful people right here, right now, in the midst of the chaos. Maybe we are just one of hundreds of congregations saying we aren’t sure what God is doing with the larger denomination, but there is good work being done here. We know God is working here and we are hoping there will continue to be support in that work.

Maybe a faithful church and a faithful pastor don’t look the same way in every circumstance. Maybe for every space, for every circumstance, for every “such a time as this” there is a different faithful response.

Can I tell you how scared that makes me? Can I tell you how much easier it would be if we came to one conclusion and we all did the same thing? It feels safer that way. It feels more secure. If everyone who is following God is walking in lock step, you can be more confident that you are walking the right path, that you aren’t walking straight into a dead end, or leading your people right off a cliff.

But the Spirit doesn’t move like an army marching in straight lines across an empty field. The Spirit doesn’t work like a well-oiled machine pumping out factory-grade perfect plastic pieces. The Spirit doesn’t seem to care that the quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Most of the time the Spirit doesn’t even tell me where point B is.

The Spirit moves like the wind, like the breeze, like a butterfly across a field. And following the Spirit isn’t like following a road map and a perfectly coordinated GPS signal. It is simply being faithful to the one next step as you look around, right here, right now, with the people you have around you. The Spirit doesn’t move uniformly. It moves in “such a time as this.”

So I move in such a time as this. I say “I don’t know” and “We will have to see” way more often than I want to. I don’t have the whole plan worked out exactly in details. I just know that God is faithful, and that we are following God. And I am learning to trust that other people are in the same discernment process as me. They have their own time, place, and their “for such a time” calling for a response that I may or may not understand. I suppose that is between them and God.

The wind blows where it blows. I will follow my strand and we will trust that the wind will blow through the ends of the earth.