In the last year or so my father, Nancy’s father and Nancy’s brother-in-law all have all died. Her mother moved from across the street to Florida. We got a new pastor at church and he has taken over. I am now his assistant. I went from leading the church and preaching/teaching many times a week to sitting in the pew and only speaking a couple times a month. Nancy, son Mark and son David finished their educations. Daughter Grace also graduated and is finishing her masters this year. Our son Dan moved to North Carolina. Tim and his wife are expecting twins. Nancy‘s job status had has changed drastically so she can travel to India and other places with me.
Next summer I will fully retire as a pastor after 35 years at MSBC. Grace will finish her education and she and Mark will begin their careers. We will have to make decisions about moving closer to our children and grandchildren so we can help them now and so they can help us as we get older.
Also, I will be transitioning Christian Training Organization to the next stage as I continue the ministries in India, World View for teens, spiritual warfare, and marriage and family retreats and counseling.
For some reason I thought retirement would be downshifting, settling into a slower pattern, stabilizing and solidifying life. Instead I find there are more changes and adjustments, more major decisions and more things up in the air than any time during the 35 years we have lived here. Instead of winding down, life seems to be winding up!
What is God doing? What is all this change and uncertainty all about? After all, I’ll soon be 70 and finished pastoring. I’ve arrived – or haven’t I? Could God not be done forming and molding me? Is there more maturing coming? Does my faith still need stretching and my faithfulness still need to be deepened? Clearly so!
And don’t I know it – I might not like the continual stretching and growing, but I am glad God, in His faithfulness to me, wants me to be all He created me to be before I enter His presence. I’m glad He isn’t done with making me more like Jesus. The flesh may be weak, but the spirit is definitely willing.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
How about you? Are you getting a bit weary of life’s struggles? Are you failing to see daily difficulties as opportunities to trust God? Do you think you deserve a break, an easier life than you have? Then ask yourself if you want to stop growing in your faith and enter eternity as you are, or do you want to become more like Jesus? If this applies to you, it’s time for you to have a serious talk with God. Do so now.