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The Wild Goose Chase September 3 2017

Welcome to “The Wild Goose Chase!” The Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit “The Wild Goose” because it was untamed and smarter than any other bird.

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

One of my jobs as a Pastor is to listen to folks. That may not sound like much, but it can really wear on you, if you are not careful to keep filled with the Holy Spirit. 

 

What came back to me this morning, as I listened to the news about the impact of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, was the devastation I saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The church I served at the time sent two teams a year for nearly 5 years to work in that recovery effort. It was a life changing event for those who served those teams, just as it changed the lives of those who lived through that horrible event.

 

I will always remember two conversations from two different trips. I remember listening to one of my Teammates and to one of the property owners where we were working.

 

Early on in the second mission of the third year, one teammate broke down crying one evening after supper and devotional time. He was the last person whom I had expected to lose it like that. What he said still surfaces in my mind at times. Hurricane Harvey in Houston has evoked it today.

 

We had worked tearing out sheetrock and flooring in a place. We would not be there long enough to see it rebuilt … but we were going hard at tearing the old, water soaked, ruined materials out, so that someone coming after us could replace and rebuild that home. I remember him saying, as he dried his tears in embarrassed confession: “Pastor, I’ve always had enough, always been safe, always had a job and food on the table. I have never been through something like this hurricane. Tell me how can God allow it?” I do not remember what I said, but we got through that mission, and I still pray that it helped some. I do not have all the answers, but God does.

 

The second conversation came a year later, on another trip. What this woman, the owner of the property we were working on, said answered the question from the year before. I recall standing in a small, two bedroom, “shotgun” style house, creating a closet in the hallway where none had been before. That lady came in after working her shift at the local Wal-Mart, and I suddenly realized she was standing behind me. I turned to greet her, and ask her if she wanted the clothing bar higher, lower, or was this a good height for her. I was blown away to see her standing there, silently weeping. I spoke to her, and asked why she was crying. Her response was; “I grew up in this house, it was my grandmother’s. In all that time, we never had a closet. She would be so tickled to know that now we can hang our clothes up. You put that bar wherever you think it will work, Pastor.” I was humbled by her response. I remember we prayed together, and then she spoke, what I believe was the answer to that question from a year before.

 

“You just never know how God is going to bless you in the middle of a hurricane. But you have to know that He will bless you IF you hold fast to your Lord in the middle of that storm. Oh, Pastor, we need to trust that God will always bring good from what the evil one meant for bad.” She got that right!

 

Jeremiah 29:11-14 says: 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back...”

 

Please remember, God loves you and so do I, and all you can do about it is love back.

Still In One Peace,

Stephen