MAY 28TH

May 28th [2021]

Today marks the 4th anniversary of one of the most dramatic transitions Debbie and I have made in our years of serving the Lord and ministry together. In 2017, 28 May was on a Lord’s Day, and on that day, I resigned the pastorate where we had ministered for the previous 35 years.

I resigned without our having or knowing where our next place of service would be or what our roles would be when we got there. But we believed that Jesus already knew all that … and we would just follow Him.

But we immediately covenanted together and made two commitments to God:

1 – The first commitment we made is that we would continue following and serving the Lord with our lives and gifts in whatever opportunities and ways He would choose and open up for us. John 12.24-26 had become our call, cue, and prompt.

24 Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Our lives, places of service, and ministry assignments have always been “His call” – not only His call and claim on our lives, but His call as to where we go and what we do when we get there – in other words, our ministry assignment.

2 – And, the second commitment we made is that our continuing service would be in the context and community of a local church. God saves us and calls us to serve Him in the local church. Disciples of Jesus follow Him in the local-church company of other fellow-disciples. We were going to commit to and serve the Lord in the fellowship of His body, the local church.

We hadn’t planned ahead for this transition. But God had. Literally, within the next week, I received an invitation to have some conversations that led us to where we are now – and where we have been since our transition.

We have learned a new song [to us] over the past four years worshipping and serving in our church, Buck Run Baptist Church: “All My Ways Are Known To You.” We have come to love this song and its message because it is a re-affirmation and blessed re-assurance that we are never lost or out of the way when we are following Christ. We may not ourselves always know where we are, but our Shepherd is never lost, confused, or disoriented.

All our ways are known to Him long before we ever get there and they become known to us.

I know that the message of the song is so universal to our experiences and to the themes and threads of so many Scriptures, but I wonder if it may be inspired by and based on Job’s painful and yet confident testimony:

If I go east, He is not there,
and if I go west, I cannot perceive Him.
When He is at work to the north, I cannot see Him;
when He turns south, I cannot find Him.
10 Yet He knows the way I have taken;
when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.
11 My feet have followed in His tracks;
I have kept to His way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands from His lips;
I have treasured the words from His mouth
more than my daily food.

~Job.23.8-12 CSB

Here are the words of the song that so thrills us every time we sing it:

In days of peace and days of rest,
In times of loss and loneliness;
Though rich or poor, Your word is true,
That all my ways are known to You

No trial has come beyond Your hand,
No step I walk beyond Your plan;
The path is dark outside my view,
Still all my ways are known to You

And oh! what peace that I have found,
Wherever I may be –
For all my ways are known to You!
Hallelujah, they are known to You!

I do not fear the final night,
For death will be the door to life;
You take my hand and lead me through,
For all my ways are known to You.

And oh! what peace that I have found,
Wherever I may be;
For all my ways are known to You!
Hallelujah, they are known to You!

Open up my eyes so I may see
That You have made these ways for me!
Open up my eyes so I may see
That You my God, will walk with me!

And oh! what peace that I have found,
Wherever I may be;
For all my ways are known to You!
Hallelujah, they are known to You!
Hallelujah, they are known to You!

I pray that you will seek and know this same peace and assurance – that ALL your ways are already known to God!

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