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The Potholes of Life

Dear Mission Partners,

The news that Salem must find a new worship space effective Aug. 1 came as a shock to many of us. And while disappointing, the sense of urgency triggered by the impending end of our current building use agreement with Central Seminary has required us to pursue new opportunities and possibilities for ministry and mission moving forward. The active participation of so many mission partners (council, staff, scout team, and Bishop Candea) gives me hope as our community faces the challenge before us head-on: engaging in conversations with others, thinking “outside the box,” and collectively seeking to discover how God is calling us, the mission partners of Salem Lutheran Church, to be the church together.

Would we have engaged in this work as readily without the need to find a new worship home? Probably not. Nothing motivates us like adversity, does it?

Our current situation reminds me of a story about an unlucky frog who slipped into a large pothole while hopping along a country road. No matter how hard she tried, the frog could not jump out of the hole. Even the frog’s friends from the forest could not get her out. After several failed attempts, the animals from the forest gave up, telling the frog they would need to go and look for some food because it looked like she was going to be stuck in the pothole for a long time.

However, not long after the forest creatures left to find food, they heard the frog hopping along after them. They could not believe it. “We thought you couldn’t get out!” exclaimed the rabbit. “Oh, I couldn’t,” replied the frog, “But you see, there was a big truck coming right at me and I had to.”

Life is a lot like that, isn’t it? It is only when we “have to” get out of the potholes of life that we change. Because the truth, notes Pastor John Maxwell, is that most people are more comfortable with old problems than innovative solutions.

Adversity, though frustrating, can help us grow as a community of faith, cultivate strength, and move forward into the future with optimism if we can harness the power of adaptive capacity. One way to begin is by reframing the situation. In Salem’s situation, we can begin by praying about and then looking for the many ways that God is equipping us to participate in God’s mission for the world. Like trapeze artists, we can let go of what was to move forward into what will be. Yes, we may struggle when encountering potholes, roadblocks, and detours in ministry. But the key is not to become stuck or defined by them. Digging down, trusting God, and finding the strength to move forward in faith can (and will) lead us to something positive and meaningful.

In Christ,
Pastor Jon

Tags: Weekly Word