Immortalized in cinematic history, this classic Academy Award winning ballad was written in 1939 and sung by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Judy Garland). It’s a beautiful song in its own right, but it’s also a song that we as Pastors and Church Members seem to sing quite frequently.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far behind me Where troubles melt like lemon drops Away above the chimney tops That’s where you’ll find me Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly Birds fly over the rainbow Why then oh why can’t I?
I was speaking with one of my former students a few days ago and he was experiencing a challenging time with his Senior Pastor. Hey, we’ve all been there. I have the greatest Pastor on the planet and yet there are times when we do not see eye to eye. My former student was asking if he could put me down as a reference for a few other church openings he had stumbled upon.
IMMEDIATE RED FLAG
From my many years in ministry I have learned that you only make decisions AFTER the crux of frustration has subsided. His situation is not uncommon. When confronted with a challenging moment he began seeing a better place “somewhere over the rainbow”. It’s not that he was being called to these other places. It’s not that he was given release to leave. It’s that he was frustrated, hit a wall, and wanted to escape.
Sometimes we as Pastors, and church members, need to understand and truly take to heart the words of Jesus. After a long discourse of the challenges the disciples would face following Jesus’ departure (kicked out of synagogues, killed unjustly, grief, etc.), Jesus offers some comforting and powerful words.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
At no point did Jesus excuse the disciples. At no point did he give them permission to flee, run, turn away, escape, or denounce their faith because of troubles. Instead, he did something much greater, much deeper, much more liberating. He told them that suffering doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong. It simply means they’re doing something right in a very wrong world.
You may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
I overcome the world
You may have peace.
It’s not always going to be easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. We often see bluer skies “somewhere over the rainbow”, but skies are never permanently blue. Clouds come, clouds go, but steadfastness helps us to dance in the rain, bask in the sun, and love life where we are as long as we live IN CHRIST, not IN THE WORLD.
So, to the Pastor or Church Member that may be reading this I leave you with the same question I asked my former student. It’s really the only question we need to ask when entertaining life transitions.
“Has God called you to be where you currently are?”
If yes, get in His presence and allow Him to minister to your spirit.
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask, in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.” – John 16:22-24
If no, pray for His guidance so that you stay in line with His will.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6 “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:27-28