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My Teacher is Gone.

April 1, 2012

My family and I have been attending a wonderful little church for the past six years. We were invited by our friends who happened to also be the teaching pastor and wife, and founders, of this new church plant. I fell in love with the church; the people, the teaching, the fellowship, the life groups – everything screamed that God wanted us there.

As seasons come and go, our teaching pastor and his wife found that they were entering a new season, and so they decided that he should step down from the pulpit and focus on yet another project God had them begin. Being a person who relishes a tight nit family (and saw our church to be family), this was devastating to me. Not just because we were loosing such a wonderful teacher, but because a part of our family was leaving.

I have struggled with this ever since I first heard the announcement. My initial knee jerk reaction was to pack up and leave too – find another church. But that didn’t seem like the right answer either. I fought with myself between the side of me that said, “That’s it! It’s over! Time to move on,” and “Stay! Be strong! You’re a part of this church, and God can use you here!”

Today was the first service without our teaching pastor … and it was hard … at least for me. I kept fighting with myself about the situation. “A teacher shouldn’t just leave! How can they start something and not finish it, or make sure that it continues to thrive?” I kept on thinking, “surely, this is wrong.”

But as we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I’m reminded that another church lost their Teacher too. That Teacher started something new too; a church plant. And left only a few years after it began. He left it to imperfect people who would never feel like they could fill His shoes … or sandals. But they also couldn’t fathom the detriment had He stayed.

While my teacher doesn’t compare to the Teacher of Christ, I can certainly learn from those whom Christ left behind at his death and subsequent ascension. The disciples couldn’t wrap their minds around why Christ had to die, just like I can’t wrap my mind around why my pastor had to leave. But in hindsight we know why Christ had to die – in order buy back the elect. Christ had promised the disciples that they would accomplish even more than He had on earth and that He had to leave so they could do their work and so He could take His rightful place. And in spite of everything Christ told them, they were still sad when he left.

I’ve come realize that it’s okay to be sad that our Pastor has left our church, but that, for whatever reason I can’t see now, that it had to happen in order for our little church to do the work it’s been called to do. And while I can’t wrap my head around it now,  I have to trust God and his perfect timing.

I have no idea what’s in store for our little church, but if the early church is any example to me, it’s that God has some awesome things in store for us. And I can rest in knowing that while Christ is not physically here with me, that His Holy Spirit is with me continuing to teach and comfort me better than any pastor can. So while our church begins this new transition, I don’t have to worry that our new teacher won’t be “as good as” our old one because I’ve got the perfect teacher living in me.

Christ’s final words before he left were,

“Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age. Amen.”

Matthew 28:20

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