Hard to Believe

A year ago today, on Friday, the 12th of July, Theo and I were driving to a family reunion.

It was a beautiful day. Theo’s phone rang, and it was Theo’s brother, Ethan. Theo’s face fell, and he pulled off on the first exit.

We had just received the news that our beloved pastor, Rick Wilson, had suddenly gone on to glory.

Today, he celebrates his first heaven-birthday.

I’ve mentioned it before, but Theo and I actually didn’t know the Wilson’s all that well. Pastor Rick had led our membership class, and just a few weeks earlier had “inducted” us into the church family. What we knew of him, we loved. What we didn’t know, we wanted to get to know better. In the hours, days and months following his death, I have learned so much about this man that we didn’t know a year ago. I have seen what a faithful husband, a loving father and a gentle shepherd he was to our flock. I have seen how he challenged men, women and children from every background to live a life that is truly passionate about Christ. I have only just begun to learn how much he truly did at our church- how much he facilitated, prayed, prepared and shepherded his flock.

This past year has been difficult for our church body. Difficult, and yet…so filled with the Lord’s presence. Where one man became absent, the Holy Spirit has filled. Through the grief, the members of our church have grown closer, learning how precious life is, and that it truly can be gone at any second. The elders have stepped forward and began shepherding in ways that were not necessarily needed before this all happened. The church has become more like a family. The lives we live seem to have become more intentional, many daily (and weekly!) moments driven by memories of Pastor Rick, and what he would have asked us to do (within the Lord’s leading, of course).

He has truly inspired many lives…not only in his life, but also in his death.

And while this is just a ramble of a post as I think on Pastor Rick and the whole Wilson family today, I wanted to leave you all with this song, that was sung at his funeral. At his funeral, it seemed harsh. It seemed impossible. It seemed like we could believe it’s truth, but not grasp it at the time. A year later, I can see this truth starting to shine through.

BLESSINGS, by Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights

Are your mercies in disguise

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