Fast forward two and a half years. Our youngest son calls me and asks if I heard anything from anyone at church. I told him no and he then proceeded to inform me of Pastor Sam's home going. It caught me, as I am sure others, off guard and most of us raced to the church praying it was not true. Alas, it was.
The last message Pastor Sam preached was entitled, "Can you trust God, and can God trust you?" This is a time of proving ground. Are we going to trust God and His love for all of us in spite of the fact that our church has been taken for a loop? Yes...we trust You God, but it will be a while before a knowing that God can trust us will arise.
I remember my heart hurting...not necessarily for Pastor Sam because I knew where he was. But for his wife, Pastor Angela and their two daughters and two grandchildren. I wanted to know they were okay. Pastor Sam and Angela had been married and best friends for 35 years. I could not imagine HOW that felt as my husband and I are coming up on our 16th year. Yet, I just wanted to be able to SEE with my eyes and FEEL with my hands that Pastor Angela was okay. I found myself constantly praying for their family and for peace to over take them. I was sure that right now she is feeling overwhelmed in the physical, but fortified in the Spirit.
Something that has helped me in Pastor Sam's sudden passing was the fact that when Jesus physically walked with the disciples, and they lost Him, the amount of pain and suffering they experienced was so much more than how we feel. They actually walked with our Messiah! They had to believe that what took place was not a lie - that He would rise again on the 3rd day. Those 1st two nights had to be excruciating, and then the anticipation for the 3rd day had to have them boiling on the inside. Then, once they saw Him again - they knew that their labor of faith and love was not in vain.
Now, to be clear, I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion saying that Pastor Sam was Jesus or anywhere close to being Him. Pastor was a man who loved the Lord and it showed and was revealed in every area of his life. My point is: If the disciples could go on by faith with the Holy Spirit as their helper, we can go on too! The same Holy Spirit that rested upon them, rests upon us! The same way He worked through them then, He continues to work through us now.
Father, I thank You for what you are doing in ALL of our lives! How you are stirring us up - helping us to do a spiritual audit on ourselves. Dropping - cutting - tearing away ALL of those things that are not of or like Christ.
I thank You for the words Pastor's spiritual mother spoke during his home going service. How she was simply obedient to pray with her children everyday as God told her to do. That simple obedience led to the man of God You had us to sit under - no matter how short that time was. It gives me a whole new vision as to the reason of pouring into children - being prepared, and loving them right where they are - no matter who or how they respond.
For Your glory Father! In Jesus name, Amen!