Testament (June)

Check out our newest June issue of Testament as Pastor Brian shares about his experience during his past two months of sabbatical.

Delighting in Entropy
Pastor Brian Lee

“My faith is strongest when my sense of control is the weakest”

During the past 2 months of sabbatical, I had the privilege to connect and reconnect with different pastors who are serving in English ministries in Chinese churches. If there’s something common among us besides serving a similar demographic, it would be the feeling of never having enough time to do beyond what is necessary to keep the ministry alive. Many of them are still playing catch-up’s coming out of the pandemic, whether it may be tending to their flocks who are still battered and distraught, upholding ministries that are holding onto a thread with less resources and help, or the need to reinterpret, reinvent, reconcile existing communities with new challenges, needs, and competing ideologies. Just as many are learning how to juggle all this as they enter full time ministry for the very first time, there are many who are living in uncertainty, as they discern patiently as to where and what God wants them to plunge themselves into for the next leg of their ministry journey.

Just as no one would like to live in a present without knowing what to anticipate, pastors feel especially heavy when they must model the Christ-like faith to stand firm in content in midst of the pending storm (which would actually have been even nicer since you know and can plan the storm that is ahead). In particular, pastors are never people who enjoy entropy. From talking with many of these pastors, their biggest fear is not preaching a bad sermon, entering in theological controversy, or even offending someone inadvertently, but instead it is the sitting in the feeling of uncertainty, not knowing where God is guiding them next spiritually, physically, or organizationally, even after long periods of discernment. 

As I hear the echoes of fear and doubts expressed by my peers, I also was encouraged as they shared their experiences of conviction coming out from the other side of the tunnel. In particular, one pastor shared with me that this uneasy, unsettling feeling of uncertainty was lifechanging for him. Just as he was tempted to remove it with his own attempt to plan, devise, and scheme, he also has the option to let this mortal feeling gravitate him towards the arms of God to let Him be his searchlight. “My faith is strongest when my sense of control is the weakest,” he spoke with calm conviction. “The only certainty I need is that God is present even in the stormiest voyage. It is in the storm that I can sit on the front row seat, watching him calm it to my marvel. I find that my prayer is strongest in times of uncertainty, as I remain my dear life like a branch onto the vine, grasping all that I have to trust in a good, good Father protecting his own children.”

Perhaps it is paralyzing and debilitating to be strapped into a place of uncertain future, or the imminent present. As we are living in a year filled with mystery, let us encourage one another to see it not as uncertainty and risks, but wonders and miracles awaiting us to be discovered and marvelled at.