Have you ever been caught in a situation where you didn’t really know what to do? Maybe a situation at work was a problem, or maybe it was your marriage. Maybe your child started telling lies and you didn’t understand why. Or maybe the situation was something altogether different from that. What do you do when you feel trapped and you struggle with the decisions that you need to make?
When I was little, about the fourth or fifth grade, I belonged to the Campfire girls. One Saturday we went for a trail ride on horses at South Mountain. Along with the other girls, I had looked forward to the ride. When the time came, I was placed on what appeared to me to be a huge horse. Maybe the animal could sense my fright, but after we got away from the corral my horse began to buck. The trail guides tried to calm the horse but nothing they did seemed to work. It kept on bucking. Finally, the trail guides decided to put me last in line. As the horse bucked, the others kept going. I felt stuck, alone and frightened. What was a kid supposed to do? What would you do? I finally decided to do the only thing I knew to do. I held on for dear life and didn’t let go. In reality the others never were too far in front of me. And the horse I was on didn’t run away. It did follow the others. Eventually we all made it back to the corral and I safely got off the wild ride I had been on.
Every now and then something happens, and suddenly I feel like that little girl caught on a bucking horse, watching the others ride away from me, not sure about what to do at all. I was talking to my coach the other day and he asked me a question that caught me off guard. I wanted him to stop the horse from bucking, or at the very least, set me on the ground. I wanted him to give me an answer. Instead he asked the question, “what keeps you anchored in situations like this?” I have thought a lot about that question. What I have come to realize that is that I am a follower of the one who knows something about rolling stones away from tombs. What looks feels like being trapped, is really a setting for transformation.
John Wesley left America feeling like a failure. He had not been able to accomplish his dreams in this new land. The boat ride home was not any more positive. In addition to his feeling of depression and failure, there was a storm at sea, and Wesley felt trapped and terrified that he would die. He noticed a group of people who seemed to be at peace in the middle of the storm. They were singing and praying. Wesley could not imagine how they experienced so much peace at a time when he did not. When he finally arrived in England, Wesley looked for the leader of the group on the ship. The powerful witness of the Moravians during the storm had made an impression and Wesley wanted to understand. The good news is that the very experience that terrified John was the very thing that led him to a new place of faith, of pastoral leadership, of conviction that everyone needs to know how to find peace and hope through the storms of life.
What opens the door and allows you to walk out with a sense of hope and strength? Chances are it isn’t a quick fix answer, or a solution someone else comes up with for you. Chances are what you need to remember is that resurrections still happen in many big and small ways, and what you need to do is to keep on walking.
I share all of this with you because the vision of our Conference is that God calls us to be a Courageous Church; Loving like Jesus, Acting for Justice, United in Hope. Perhaps you or your church feels as if there has not been much progress made in living into that vision and you are afraid that nothing new is possible. Why not just throw in the towel? Let me encourage you not to give up. Keep on trying, keep on taking risks, keep on trusting that one day the very thing that has you feeling stuck right now will become an instrument of transformation.
We are resurrection people, and courage keeps on when it would be easier to give up. So, stand up, dust off your chaps, and get back on that horse. The wild ride has much to offer.
James 1:2-4 The Message
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Peace by yours,