An End and a Beginning

   Every good story has a beginning, middle, and ending. When an author writes a story, he tries to convey a certain kind of idea about the protagonist and the setting in which he lived. Sometimes those stories relate to the life experiences that the author himself had known, while others are merely the fanciful machinations of his mind. Whatever the case may be, stories are written for the purpose of expression by the   author and experience by the reader.

   What do we glean from the stories? Are they merely means of escape? Do we read them to stretch our imaginations or to satisfy our intellectual curiosity? I know that for me it has been a combination of all of the above. While I do enjoy reading in order to grow my mind, there is just something about a good story. I love to get to know the characters, the way they think and do things, where they come from, and where they’re going. What I particularly enjoy is when a story is written from the first person point of view. I am fascinated by the way the protagonist’s mind works and what he is experiencing internally while he is dealing with the various issues he has to face.

   Have you ever tried to read the Bible this way? There are instances in Scripture where we are given a glimpse into the mind of each character, but sometimes we are left guessing as to what is in their heart. This is something that interests me greatly concerning Moses with his time of leadership over Israel coming to an end; he had let the people out of Egypt and had been the vessel through which God humbled pharaoh and his false deities, but when the time came for the nation to enter the Promised Land, he prepared to hand the reigns over to Joshua.

   How must he have felt about that leadership transition at that time? Under God’s direction and empowerment, he had worked so hard for Israel’s freedom and led them for many years through the desert, and he loved the nation dearly. Joshua, however, was the leader that Israel needed as they entered the Promised Land. Neither Moses nor Joshua was superior or inferior to the other, but both had been appointed for a very specific time.

   In that regard, I do not have to wonder what was on Moses’ heart and mind. For I am all too familiar with the thoughts and feelings that we experience when transitions take place. During my time at Spencerport Wesleyan Church, there have been great victories and great tragedies. I’ve shared the high and low points of my life with you as you also have shared them with me. When I came to this church, it was very much my intention to see her enter the Promised Land that God had for her, but over the course of my time here, it became apparent that my desire was not always aligned with God’s will.

   Through much prayer and time alone with God, I believe that He revealed to me something very similar to what He revealed to Moses. I was here for a time and purpose, and now it is time for someone else to lead for a new time and purpose. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to hear of the appointment of Pastor Jason. He is someone who will surely submit himself to God’s leading and seek what is best for SWC as you move forward together.

   I feel very much like Moses in that I have a deep love for the people I am  leaving, but I also believe that God has the best days of this church ahead if it submits itself to the Lord and to the leadership of His appointed servant. I thank you all for my time here, and for how you have poured yourselves into me and my family, and I strongly encourage you to show the same, if not greater, love and affection to the Daniel family. I believe that just as God was with me, He will also be with Pastor Jason, and that some day you will inherit the Promised Land that He has for you.

 

Your Servant in Christ,
Pastor Ryan