Well, the secret's out, if it ever was a secret. I was at the church painting in the fellowship hall and Pastor came in, the first time I saw him at church since they went on their (shall I say the usual adjectives, very much deserved, needed, overdue...) sabbatical. He is re-entering the workaday world of the pastor of a tiny church. I was hoping to get a whole ton of painting done, and a few other projects, before they returned. We only got a limited amount--the sanctuary, the fellowship hall, the nursery, a Sunday school room; priming part of the downstairs hallway. There are still lots of rooms to do, besides the outside! My life demands continue and that's that. And Pastor, in his usual quiet way, told me of what had been going on in the last week or so, and sounded just the slightest bit reluctant to come back. Can't say as I blame him!
So my secret was all the painting, but I'm not sure that it was a secret because I don't know whether he came into the church much in the time in between, when I wasn't there. There's still much to be done! While working I also discovered many more little projects yet to do besides those that had been obvious. (Sigh.) But I also discovered that there are other people who want to do these things too, and between them and myself, we will make some progress, Lord willing. We could work for years and there still might be things to do, but we're off to a good start!
There's a huge debate, an unworkable one (except that we can hope, and hopefully assume, that God is on our side, which makes all unworkable things workable) regarding whether the church is worthwhile to put much effort and money into before we build a new facility. The problems are complex. Lack of adequate money for a new building yet; lack of ready access to the new property; structural problems in our current building...and a number of other things. When a person hears them all, it can be overwhelming. Except. When we were reading Ephesians, back when our pastor was preaching on that in the old days before he left on sabbatical, one of his points of emphasis was, "But God..." which is the beginning of Ephesians 2:4 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us..." Which Tim found great joy in emphasizing as we'd read it. I'd have to stop in our reading, and he would imitate Pastor, "But God..." and he and I would chuckle and continue our reading.
Whenever you find an impossible problem, an unworkable puzzle, a discouraging difficulty where you feel claustrophobic because of closed doors and windows, and nothing opening up to let the air in, that kind of situation is God's specialty. You may have troubles, "but God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us..." ...God can break through the walls, the roof, the chimney, the fortress of our impossible problems! He has been called the God of the Impossible. That is an apt phrase, a name that really catches the character of how God works in the life of the desperate.
So I look upon our little church full of projects as a church of possibilities. The building may be impossible, but it's owned by a God who can whisper a word and make those impossibilities into dust that the wind drives away. Maybe He wants to see what we will do with it, before He gives us anything bigger. That sounds consistent with His word, in the Parable of the Talents: "'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" Look to the possibilities. Do what we can. Don't be discouraged, because we have the God who is able. We have the God of the Impossible.
Mark 10:27 "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" I know this verse is taken out of context. It has to do with the salvation of men. Buildings are less rebellious stuff than the hearts of men, so if He finds all things possible starting with the hearts of men, our church is no big puzzle to Him either. Hallelujah! God is good, but we knew that! Amen, brother!