He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
It is a season of new beginning for me, as of July 2, I am the Pastor of Rockbridge Church. When change happens we are full of a lot of emotions and many of them are painful: fear, anxiety, loss, insecurity and even depression. I believe, however, we serve a God of change, a God who designed a dynamic world that is given the ability to create and reproduce: "God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.’ (Genesis 1:22)."
For me this change is of God and yet I have definitely felt many of these emotions. What has reassured me is the sure and certain knowledge that this change is part of God's plan. I shared a story in worship this week about a moment I had when I was still the pastor of the Tarleton Wesley. I was sitting, listening to my intern, Hanna Newcomer, preach about one of the signs in John. I was already overwhelmed by the growth of our worship team and now here was one of our interns preaching a sermon so deep and mature that I was in awe that it originated from a college student. That moment I received a message from the Holy Spirit and it was this warm reassurance from the Father that everything would be okay if I left. At this point I had not even considered leaving, nor did I want to. And all of this is BEFORE I even knew that Rockbridge was going through a pastoral change! Often we struggle because we have such a narrow view of our lives, and yet God can see the whole picture.
I truly believe "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)." This does not mean that God is some micro-manager controlling every action. What I believe is that God allows our free will and yet is constantly remaking a plan that will set us on track to be the people that God has made us to be. One of my personal mantras is from Philippians 1:27, "Live in a manner worthy of the gospel you have received."
Are you going through a change right now? I want you to know that God is deeply in the midst of that change, not that God caused it but that God is working with you to make good come of it. It is up to us to not let our lives be overcome by fear, anxiety, stress and insecurity. Those are natural responses, but God gives us the strength to carry on in the face of the greatest challenges.
I'll leave you with the words from a great worship song by Elevation Worship, O Come to the Altar:
"Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there's no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling
O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ"
May you know that God is the peace in the midst of the storm, that God is always writing a new song for you and that darkness is never the final word.