For those of you who haven’t heard, this past weekend our senior pastor, Rod Phillips, announced his resignation at the request of the board. Needless to say, this has been a trying time for our family here at Castro Valley First Baptist Church. Our congregation is, by and large, hurting, upset, confused, and shocked, and rightly so. Personally, this is the most difficult situation I have ever faced in ministry and I have experienced all of these same feelings. As I have been praying, fasting, and processing through this difficult, God brought to mind a prayer from the book “The Valley of Vision” that I felt was worth sharing. The language is a little old (try about 400 years), but the truth and sincerity in these words are no less evident and relevant today:
I hang on Thee; I see, believe, live
when Thy will, not mine, is done;
I can plead nothing in myself
in regard of any worthiness and grace,
in regard of Thy providence and promises,
but only Thy good pleasure.
If Thy mercy make me poor and vile, blessed be Thou!
Prayers arising from my needs are preparations for future mercies;
Help me to honor Thee by believing before I feel,
for great is the sin if I make feeling a cause of faith
Show me what sins hide Thee from me
and eclipse Thy love;
Help me to humble myself from past evils,
to be resolved to walk with more care,
For if I do not walk holily before Thee,
how can I be assured of my salvation?
It is the meek and humble who are shown thy covenant,
know The will, are pardoned and healed,
who by faith depend and rest upon grace,
who are sanctified and quickened,
who evidence Thy love.
Help me pray in faith and so find Thy will,
by leaning hard on Thy rich free mercy,
by believing Thou wilt give what Thou hast promised;
Strengthen me to pray with conviction
that whatever I receive is Thy gift,
so that I may pray until prayer be granted;
Teach me to believe that all degrees of mercy arise
from several degrees of prayer,
that when faith is begun it is imperfect and must grow
as chapped ground opens wider and wider until rain comes
So shall I wait Thy will, pray for it to be done,
and by Thy grace become fully obedient.