Last night I was listening to someone pray, and was surprised at what I heard. The guy was praying about me, and he spoke of the blessing I have been, the lives that have been touched and the people who have grown through me.
Well. What do I do with that? Surely he can't be talking about the same person I see in the mirror every morning. I was taken aback, and I have no idea what he's talking about, or who or where these people are.
I have been a member of our church - an urban church - for nearly three years, and for most of that time, have felt like an outsider. It has in many ways been a difficult three years. I have been involved in many activities, mostly with our large refugee population, some with a degree of success, others not.
For an array of reasons, I have felt like the church was not a good fit for me, but I have remained primarily because my wife likes it there. So I stayed. A happy wife is certainly worth something. Yet...
As I have considered this, I am reminded of something said by Billy Graham, speaking of success in life: "We are not called to succeed. We are called to be faithful."
I don't see that I am a "success" at our church. I am certainly not doing the things I love, or the things I have prepared and trained for over many years. Very often, I don't enjoy the services on Sunday (I am hearing impaired, and the music is loud and the sound system poorly set up and utilized, so I struggle to understand many of the sermons.)
I find it ironic that, after many years in a classroom and decades teaching the Bible in an array of churches, here I do none of those things. I don't understand. My theology insists that God is in every part of my life, but I certainly have no clue what he is doing in this.
So what to do? Work harder? No. That only leads to more frustration.
Billy Graham had it right. "We are called to be faithful."
If I am where I am from believing that God put me here, or even that God may have put me here, then my task is to sit tight, remaining faithful, and waiting for God to clarify or change my circumstances.
One can do far worse than a simply testimony: "He's faithful."