A Parting Word

One more word on Sunday night while Noël packs for vacation.

These have been great months of joy between me and Noël. I feel like a very favored Boaz. My “Ruth” is just as committed, just as creative, just as sensitive to me as her original in the Bible. Thanks to the Bethlehem family for accepting her into your hearts.

There is a new magazine called Partnership for pastors’ wives. When Noël reads it she is sometimes puzzled, sometimes annoyed, sometimes sad, that there are so many problems and tensions and crises and conflicts between pastors’ wives and churches. She wonders why she feels so content, so happy, so unthreatened, so crisis-free at Bethlehem.

Well, it’s owing to two things: her and you. She is what I like to call my soft rock. She is not easily rattled. You are not the sort of people who make trouble. It is a beautiful match. I praise God for his goodness to me in you and in Noël.

On July 1 I began my fifth year at Bethlehem. Can you believe that? They have, without doubt, been the richest years of my life. By rich I mean that great combination of giving up to and beyond the limit of strength and of receiving the affirmation of a growing people. I have experienced the power of God as at no other time in my life.

I can’t say there aren’t frustrations. There are. I am repeatedly torn by varying expectations and the wealth of competing ways to use my time in ministry. I wish I had more peace in the division of my labor. I need your prayers. And I need your patience. Perhaps I will grow up someday and feel real confident that one afternoon was spent just the way it should be.

I have received grace from you. My work has been overwhelmingly happy work. And it is getting even better. There is a great future before us. There is a great God above us. There is a great Cross behind us. The everlasting Arms are underneath. The Lord is at our right hand. Whom shall we fear?!

Resting under the Wings of the King of Kings,

Pastor John

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