Pastor Cook's Blog
A Message from Pastor Cook
A year and a half ago Emily and I were unloading two Ryder trucks with the help from our friends from Indiana. We didn’t yet know anyone in Louisville. On that occasion we were moving away from the comfort and security of friends and salaried jobs, to a small (for us) rental home and the uncertainty of unemployment. I hate moving. I hated moving even when there was the excitement of a new position, but as we moved to Louisville there was more stress than excitement. Yet, we were here in Louisville because we had wrestled and prayed about the opportunity that God had placed before us. Emily and I had been nervous about it, but we were confident that this was a door that God had opened for us, and with trepidation we were waiting to see what God would do.
That first Sunday we attended Our Savior. It was the first time that I had had the
opportunity to sit with my family in a Sunday morning Divine Service in years. It
was wonderful! I remember leaving the church that Sunday excited about how
God was changing the circumstances of our lives, and curious to see what he
would do next. That excitement quickly melted into anxiety and fear though as I
began to look for a job and employer after employer turned me away. I questioned:
“God, how am I supposed to support my family and go to school if I don’t have
any income?!” Six weeks went by with seemingly no answer, but each Sunday I
was brought into the Lord’s House with my whole family and reminded that God
was in control, and that his steadfast love is new each and every morning.
Eventually I was hired on as a full-time small engine and tool repairman at the
Home Depot. I had gone to college for eight years and was working on a PhD
and doing absolutely nothing for which I had trained! I missed working with God’s
people regularly, and I really missed preaching! I could feel Satan tempting me
to despair and to consider my surroundings as a barren desert. To make matters
worse, my work schedule now only allowed for me to attend church very irregularly.
For the first time in over twenty years I was regularly forced to forego worshiping
with God’s people, but in the midst of that, God reminded me of the very real
circumstances that people face that may keep them away from God’s house against their will. The Sundays that I was able to attend church were like an oasis and I began to understand in a new way what it was to hunger after God’s Word and God’s people.
Over the course of the subsequent months God brought twists and turns in the road of our lives. He demonstrated his faithfulness to us in ways that we could never have imagined. He opened up opportunities for me to share God’s love and the Gospel message in a setting very much different from a church. In the process, God was changing me and growing me. There were many days when I wondered if God knew what he was doing. Then, last Sunday I was officially installed as the pastor of Our Savior. A year and a half ago I could not have imagined a path that would have in any way brought me to that day. If God had told me where he was taking me, I’m not sure I would have followed. But I thank God from the bottom of my heart that it is soon going to be moving day again!
As we heard from the Gospel reading on Sunday, June 30 (Luke 9:51-62), when Jesus calls us to follow him it is often dangerous to our plans. Yet, as God has taught me time and time again, his plans are far more excellent than I can even imagine! Jesus’ “Follow me” is disruptive and full of grace. His intention is that we would be his own and be with him for eternity in his Kingdom which has no end! The life of the child of God is a life of moving – following where He leads. He gives us his grace day-by-day so that we can follow him. Sometimes he makes it clear where we are going, but at other times it’s a mystery. What will never be a mystery however is his absolute willingness to draw us to himself and save us. This is most certainly true!
Rev. Joshua Cook