Dear Pastor, it is Monday and I am thinking about you.
Just a few short hours ago you walked through the events of Sunday and while I’m not sure how your day went, chances are you might identify with one of these common responses that I often hear (and I myself have felt) on a Monday.
It was amazing celebrating with so many who were being baptized!
It was encouraging to see people in the service that we had not seen for some time.
It was so good to gather with friends.
It was hard as the steady drip of criticism regarding the “direction of the church” continued to be expressed.
It was exhilarating as we broke ground on our new facility.
Recently, I have discovered that we all have the capacity to experience a multitude of emotions simultaneously. A mere addition of a single word can expand the spectrum of our feelings in a profound manner.
What is this magic word? It is the word and.
Think again about the responses above, but now add the word and—when you do, a doorway is opened more widely into your internal world.
It was amazing celebrating with so many who were being baptized and frustrating as some core volunteers called in sick.
It was encouraging to see people in the service that we had not seen for some time and discouraging as so many shared the weight of what they are carrying.
It was good to gather with friends and it was disappointing, as we had dreamed and prayed for so much more.
It was hard as the steady drip of criticism regarding the “direction of the church” continued to be expressed and routine as it just seems like we are stuck in a rut.
It was exhilarating as we broke ground on our new facility and exhausting as preaching seemed to drain me deeply.
I want you to know this today, no matter how many ands you might have in your internal world, God is God of all of the ands.
In fact, just this morning I heard Tauren Wells on the radio and he agrees that God is God of the ands, as he so powerfully reminds us of it in his song, Hills and Valleys.
Notice the contrasts in verse 1 of the song:
I’ve walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I’ve felt the pain of heartbreak
And I’ve seen the brighter days
And I’ve prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held the blessings God, You give and take away