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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Obedience (01/31/05)

TITLE: Palpable Understanding
By angela belock


The sun came down in a torrent of bright rays, drying the leaves on the trees and forcing every living thing to hide in the shade. Shorts and light shirts were the mandate and still felt like heavy wool clothes in a sauna. Walking slowly around the sanctuary I could tell change was in the air. Tension fills the pews around me as the air conditioner whines and protest at all the work it has to do. Brothersí and sisters' of Christ would not meet my eyes and I feared the change that was coming.

Like the heat outside rising and burning, so did the tears in my eyes and the sadness in my heart. Many in the congregation had palpable anger, palpable satisfaction and glee at what was happening. I never realized how one Pastor could bring up so many different emotions in one congregation. They tried to get rid of him last year but then the majority still loved him. Now things have changed.

Sitting, eyes transfixed, I watch a defeated man go up the stairs. His flesh beaten down. The first time he faced their judgement he had been victorious if a little broken. He felt sure his message was on target, that his followers needed his guidance. Now, one year from the day, God was telling him it was time to go. Sadly he stood at the pulpit looking at the mixture of emotions rising in the eyes of his followers and quietly said a prayer. Standing their waiting for the anger, the hunger, the sadness and the joy to settle in each personís heart I could tell he was preparing for what God had instructed him to say.

His voice strong, and repentant rose, silence fell, and my own heart cried out why. As his voice broke with emotion when he spoke of the committee vote, my own feelings began to grow uncertain. Did the committee vote to remove him for Godly or fleshly reasons?

Sadly the pastor began to explain to all of us what he felt. ďMy time here is drawing to an end. Godís will is for us to go in different directions. I know some of you donít understand. I tell you in Obedience with God we march on. His will is the will I follow. His will has to work in this church, and my time is done here. I am and always will be a servant. This is why we follow Godís wishes even if they are against our own."

ď My guidance and guardianship will move onto another congregation. Hopefully my teachings and devotion can be used to the fullest purpose at my next stop. In this church I hope you will stay to perfect the work we have begun."

ďI hope no one leaves this congregation in anger or feels that they have been ill used by their committee vote. God requires love and obedience from all and I believe his desire is for you to follow your heart and follow his lead. He has ideas for this church. He wants The Spirit to grow here in order for it to be a beacon of hope to others.Ē

Tears course down my face as I hear his words. My heart breaks and yet I agree with him. Godís will is greater and stronger then our own. I canít make him stay. But I will never forget how this pastor reached into my soul and helped God work through me. He showed me my talents. He encouraged my writing and my use of drama in the church.

I wanted to stand up, to shout ďThis canít be right!Ē But something inside me told me to sit down, settle the flesh and listen to the heart. So I sat and through the rest of the service I tried to focus on the spirit. I tried to focus on my love for God, but the sadness sat with me. I didnít know if I could be as understanding as God wanted me to be.

Yet, I knew if we are willing to let God work over our flesh his gifts will be many. Not in money or material wants, but in emotional and spiritual fulfillment. Obedience to God is not a chore we should dread but a gift we should give openly and willingly.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 02/07/05
It is difficult when obedience does not instantly bring nice things with it! I find it hard that some people are so hard hearted and manupilative in getting their way. Well written.
Nancy Hardy02/07/05
"Yet, I knew if we are willing to let God work over our flesh his gifts will be many. Not in money or material wants, but in emotional and spiritual fulfillment. Obedience to God is not a chore we should dread but a gift we should give openly and willingly." What a powerful paragraph to close on. It words will linger long upon my heart. Thank you for sharing this with us. His servant, Nancy
L.M. Lee02/13/05
very powerful word imagery.

It is hard to release a pastor who has been a blessing to us. 8 years ago last month I had to hear a similiar speech from our youth pastor with whom I had worked...it broke our hearts. It left us wondering what God was up to...