I did something very strange with some dear mentors in my life today. I threw away a chair in a dumpster in the parking lot of my home church. This was no ordinary chair though. Indeed it did have an oil stain from years of its owner resting his head in its molded fabric, as well as snags and darkened spots that I’m sure only he who sat in its comfort knew their branded fame. It was the chair of my beloved pastor, mentor, and friend. The man who married my husband and me, the man who taught me how to be a leader, a dreamer, a worshiper. It will be a year ago at the end of this month that he passed away unexpectedly. And in the bravery of his wife, we picked up one of the remaining symbols of his old office to make ready for the one who will soon take his place as leader of our church.
Although the same distance, the walk to the dumpster seemed shorter than the walk away. Maybe in our intent to get this priceless parcel to its new place of residence, our minds were allowed the peace to think of only the rhythm of our quickened steps. As the six of us huddled before the dumpster, we prayed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for where we have been and where the Lord will have us go. The chair wasn’t heavy. My heart was heavy. I looked back. I didn’t turn to salt, but I quickly joined the women ahead of me who knew the braver road to take.
There are times during our walk with God that he calls us to throw away good things. For times come when we can no longer hang on to certain things. Our pastor was a great man, but his chair was just a good thing. My humanity cannot comprehend all the ways of God, but I can trust his heart for me. I look back. But he calls me to look forward.
When I think of what I know in the word I remember Peter. When he saw Jesus for the first time after he denied him 3 times. Peter jumps out of the boat and swims to the figure that he knows so well. Jesus didn’t question him about what he did wrong. He didn’t go back and ask him to recount why he said what he said or who he was with when he denied him yet again. He only asked Peter if he loved him. Once for every lie that Peter had spoken. And in the repented truth that Peter spoke, Jesus gave him a calling to keep him going forward…“feed my sheep”. Look forward.
I think about Hebrews, and how He tells us to run the race keeping our eyes on the “author and perfector of our faith”. Look forward.
I think about the Holy Spirit. And how Jesus told his disciples that it was for “their good” that He left so that they could have the Holy Spirit come. Look forward.
I know that I will never understand all of Gods ways. My emotions want to keep the chairs in my life. I want to know and understand all of my questions. But, I choose. I choose, every day if I must, to trust in what I do know, what I do understand. I do understand my relationship with the Lord. I know His intimacy. I am beginning to understand His heart for me. I know that He has been a father for a long time and knows what is best. All of my questions in my sea of unknown are content to float in the vastness of who He is. While I sink down into your depths, Lord I choose to let go of the things that would keep me on the surface level in my relationship with you. Even if they are things that I perceive as good, I will still choose you, looking forward.