October 2nd, 2011
‘Congratulations on your closing?’
Last night we celebrated the closing of Mercy House. God was so good. He blessed us with an amazing team of volunteers to help set up tables, hay bails, sound equipment, outdoor heaters. He provided beautiful flowers, pumpkins, arrangements, coffee, hot chocolate, apple cider and as always there was an abundance of food. The weather was cold but the fellowship was warm. The Peculiar led us in worshiping our great God and hearts were encouraged.
(To see pictures of the evening visit The Peculiar’s facebook page or visit our website ctministries.ca in the next few days.)
Near the end of the evening I shook hands with someone who said awkwardly, ‘Congratulations on your closing?’ and I totally understood where he was coming from. How do you celebrate something that doesn’t seem good? How can you find true peace and joy in the midst of a storm?
Have you ever attended a funeral where the grief was almost more than your heart could bare? I have. I have also been to others that are genuine times of celebrations where there was true joy and peace present. The difference between the two experiences for me was the deep understanding and belief that God was in control and had a plan. Without this knowledge these situations are hopeless and make no sense.
When we got the letter from the landlords of Mercy House at the end of May we couldn’t believe that it was God’s plan to close its doors. So much time and effort went into opening them and so many lives had been impacted for His glory. How could it ever be God’s plan to close it? We wept and cried out to God to make a way for us to stay. We had hopes that Mercy House would continue on, but in July the final decision was made by the landlords that we needed to move out and move on.
Paul wrote a truth in Romans 8:28 that is hard to hear when you are in the middle of a storm; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” The reason this was hard to hear and accept was because our perception of what was good just didn’t match up with God’s. He doesn’t think like we do and He evaluates everything differently than our natural minds do.
Thankfully what Isaiah wrote is truth as well; “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Is. 9:9-11)
The last line of those verses is key to knowing and experiencing God’s peace and joy in the midst of trials. God works all things together for our good, yes, but for His glory. Kelsey shared last weekend at an event that the sweet truth is that our ultimate good is God’s glory. We were created to glorify God (Is. 43:7). That is the intended purpose that our creator God made us to serve. When I confuse my purpose as being to live for me and not for God I can get frustrated and even angry when things don’t go according to my plan and what I view as being good.
Peace comes in the midst of the storm when I choose to rest in the knowledge that God will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He has sent the storm. God is God and He doesn’t stand before us needing to give an account and answer our questions. God is not obligated to let us in on what His motives or thoughts were in doing things the way He does.
Last night we were able to honour several individuals who poured so much into Mercy House by presenting them with Oak saplings. Our heart in this was that they could plant them and be reminded that the spiritual seeds that God has used them to plant over the years will continue to grow and increase. God promises that it will not return empty.
What’s next? In January of 2005, at a sacred assembly at our church, where we spent an entire week praying and seeking the Lord for the future, God put two things on our hearts. The first was a vision to begin a discipleship program for college age youth where they could come and walk with us for a year and get messy in ministry. The second was the thought that CrossTrainers wasn’t just about the church working together to meet the needs of youth but that He desired us to reach out to women, children and men as well. In May of 2005, we were presented with the opportunity to begin Mercy House and every other arm of the ministry, a part from the Hub youth centre, began after that.
God has brought so much clarity to our hearts and minds through the past weeks. He has refocused us on what His heart beat is for CrossTrainers. We are called to work toward training people in the cross; to see people trained up to live, love and lead with shepherd hearts. Just this past week I had the mind blowing thought that Mercy House may have been a part of the answer to our prayers to begin a discipleship training program. Thoughts like this hurt my head at times. To think that God could have orchestrated everything around Mercy House to prepare us for what is next is more than I can fathom at times. However, it would be just like God to give us a desire to begin a training program and then spend the next 6 years training us in the heart He wanted to train the future participants in.
We are presently in the middle of a miracle and we need your prayers. I will share more in future blogs, but in short, we are looking at a potential property to begin CrossWalk (the discipleship training program) and it would seem God is opening the doors. Our God truly is working good from something we thought was so bad. Give Him glory!