Thanks to all who have prayed for me during this "brutal" time as in the post below. I am glad to announce that the Lord has brought me out of that and shown me that I was going through a 40 day time in the desert - from late June through all of July.
In the midst of it, I had a few oasis of respite, and I was about to write a new post a number of times, but then I was right back into the desert before I could get to the post. Then I was glad I hadn't posted because it would have been...I'm back...now I'm not...wait, I'm better...crap, I still am going through this....
But finally after some good time out of it, the Lord showed me that it was over. I look forward to some more posts on what I learned, but I thought I would get this up here for now.
Thanks for your many prayers and encouragements.
As I told some of my people now and previously - the blessing of a pastor that walks beside you as a fellow journeyer is that he is real, and your friend, and treats you with respect like an equal, and really teaches you the way to walk with Christ. The way through suffering to blessing...but the downside is that you don't get the "role model" to give you a false sense of hope that someday you also could live in a trouble free world and be a super Christian with no problems or struggles and only enjoy increasing prosperity of heart and pocketbook.
The first is real and really equips you for life, the second only sets you up for disappointment and creates community where upward mobility in leadership is sought after for the social benefits and perceived spiritual benefits. And when it is discovered that neither exist, fakeness is created so that all who have become leaders can at least pretend that they got all that they wanted so those below will still look up to them at least and they will have that benefit. The fakeness is perpetuated from one disillusioned generation to the next, until reform comes.
The main thing God has been doing in my heart during this time is centering me. Helping me to become truly and fully just me before him. When I am simply myself, it helps me to seek simply him, and to have a simple faith in the simple him. Fortunately the simple Him is the huge loving God of the universe that he is, who wants to lavish love on all who come to him and to make them right and through them to make the world right.
Awesome to walk through pain and suffering and find God.