Once upon a time there was a little country church, a small-town haven of worship and friendship and grace. The kindly pastor loved his flock of laborers, professionals, community leaders, homemakers and misfits. He spoke to them with love and humility. He listened to their problems and soothed their wounds and ministered to their concerns, many times at the expense of his own family. But he never complained or doubted that this was where he was called to be.
As the little church started to grow, some people began questioning the good pastor's leadership ability. He wasn't fiery enough, he seemed unsure of himself, he didn't tell enough stories, he told too many stories....he just didn't fit their picture of what a pastor should be. The kindly pastor didn't quite know what to make of these complaints. He prayed over and thoughtfully considered each and every suggestion. He knew in his heart that God had called him to pastor this lovely small-town congregation and it had always seemed the perfect place for him and his family. What mattered most was that he was doing God's work. But still the complaining continued.
Eventually the complaining became gossip, and the gossip became rumors, and the rumors became reality in the eyes of many in the small-town church. Some decided that the pastor's flaws needed embellishing to make them that much more persuasive. Stories were told and retold and gradually hearts were hardened against the pastor and his family. Honesty and grace were discarded for expediency and purpose. An agenda was forming that didn't seek the truth,
only an outcome.
The kindly pastor was no match for the army amassed against him. No match for the deceit and the innuendo and the cruelty. His small group of supporters were clearly outnumbered and outgunned. Equipped only with a truth that no one was willing to hear, and refusing to fight fire with fire, they quietly layed down their shields and walked away, saddened and defeated.
While the loss was grievous, the kindly pastor and his family knew that victory would ultimately be the Lord's.
They could rest in His loving arms, take comfort in His presence
and wait on His timing. Though they were weary, they were not without hope.