It goes back to August 31, 2016. That was when I lost a call to a pulpit that I thought was in the bag. It would be dishonouring to God to complain because all his works are kind and he knows the end from the beginning, and he was not wrong to deny it to me. But 579 days it has been since I knew what his will was not. Surely his will was for me to work at something else, and so I have been since May of last year a catering temp, when I was not recovering from a heart attack and bypass surgery, of course! And then the last 6 weeks recovering from a patellar tendon injury. But Thursday I will, Lord willing, be back at work. But still the question has been asked for 579 days, what of the ministry? More and more these days I am seeking to be submissive, and by God’s grace, less combative and more humbly asking, “What am I to do?” I have been asking my Teacher and Shepherd to tell me, “What is next? Why are you waiting to tell me, dear Jesus?” I am more aware than ever that he loves me and will tell me in his good time, but… But what has he been doing making me wait? What is he waiting for??
Here was his answer. Our Pastor in Carlisle actually became Christ’s voice to me in his Easter Sermon from John 21. He spoke of Christ’s third post resurrection appearance to his disciples. He had appeared twice before, the day he arose and then when Thomas was there and he learned to trust and bowed before his Lord and God. Now Simon and others went fishing, caught nothing all night when Jesus told them, before they recognized him, to cast the net on the other side of the boat and they got more fish than they could handle. John cried out to Peter, “It is the Lord!” And Peter jumped in a swam a great distance to see him. And then when the others rowed back to shore, Peter dragged in the whole haul of fish by himself and Jesus brought them to the breakfast he had prepared. All this we know.
But then Pastor Morris commented, almost in passing, that the disciples had had no idea what Jesus wanted them to do! He had told them they would preach the Gospel after he rose from the dead and returned to the Father, but when? Where? How? That they did not know. Even at breakfast that morning they did not know.
And I do not remember anything else of the sermon! Why? Because it hit me with thunder! “He has done this before! He left the disciples clueless as to what was next for weeks before he made it clear, perhaps for the whole 40 days till he ascended! He left them without answers! AND HE IS NOW DOING THE EXACT SAME THING WITH ME! What a privilege my Lord Jesus has granted to me, to treat me the same way he treated his 11 closest friends, who had been with him for three years. He has done this before and so I really have nothing to complain about. If they trusted him and simply went back to their fishing, then I can go do whatever he gives me to do (and it does occasionally mean filling a pulpit or two along the way, more than Peter and company did), then that should be enough. I am a blessed man to follow such a Master!