I wrote a few weeks ago about the Profound Disappointment I was feeling after hearing that I did not pass the interview portion of examination for Commissioning in the Cal-Pac Conference of the UMC. And the responses have been overwhelming! More than once, I have been moved to tears… In that manly way of course. 😉
My initial Facebook/Twitter post garnered dozens of responses plus a whole bunch of individual wall posts, direct messages, emails, and telephone calls. I can’t begin to say thank you to all of you. I don’t have the words.
I do want to share one specific message here. A friend emailed and said that she had recently been doing some video interviews with church members about their church, faith, and experiences of God. When one youth – one who I knew when I served that congregation, and who is now enduring a life-threatening disease – was asked about his favorite church experience, he said that (quoting from the email):
it was when PASTOR Bob Rhodes (and he went on to describe your role) invited me to join the youth group. He said that it was his best and favorite memory of this church. To me, that was such an affirmation of your love and ministry, Bob. You are surrounded in love and prayers.
And so I come to understand that the Grace of God is present in and through this difficult time. I don’t believe for a second that God intended for me to endure this profound disappointment – that’s not my theology. I can’t bring myself to say or think that God intends hurt and despair on anyone. What I do believe is that God has been reaching out in comforting and enduring grace (some might even call it prevenient grace) before I – in my anger and hurt and disappointment – was willing to acknowledge God’s presence.
Again, my thanks to you all. You consistently show me that God continues to work and to call goodness out of everything.