Getting Bad News Well

Have you recently gotten bad news about something? Maybe you were anticipating something potentially really good happening but then it was postponed or canceled. It feels like our world is ending in that moment!

If I have learned anything since March of 2020, I have learned to expect the unexpected. The best made plans might disappear in an instant. Over Spring Break 2020, I was planning to be on a mission trip in the Florida Panhandle serving people who were recovering from Hurricane Michael. We were going to make a home at a local United Methodist Church for a week by sleeping on the flooring, have some great meals provided by the finest chefs (aka church ladies), and serve a family in rural Jackson County as they continued to rebuild their home. We had college students ready to go, tools collected, and plan for a fun Sunday night out on the town before we did home repair from Monday to Friday.

A received a call from the disaster relief coordinator explaining they needed to move us to a different church a week before our trip, because the original church was not comfortable housing people and serving meals. They were an older congregation and wanted to be cautious about a health concern. I thought this last minute change was particularly tragic because we had to now cook on our own rather than enjoying a food of a team from the church. Then, a couple people in our group started feeling sick. The university then announced spring break would be three weeks instead of one week because of something called COVID-19. Once students left campus they were not to return to campus. By Friday, we thought it might be wise to not go on the mission trip on that Sunday. By Wednesday, life around the world changed beyond anything that I could ever imagine.  

I was really excited about that mission trip. When we decided that we should not go, it was so very sad to me. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see most of the college students in person before coming to serve here at Killearn UMC in July of 2020. The frustration and hurt that I felt from a canceled mission trip and the madness of online ministry in my last semester at the FSU Wesley Foundation felt like the worst thing ever. I discovered that terrible season of the unexpected was very temporary. Meeting people at Killearn in the summer of 2020 was also super hard. I am still meeting some Killearn people for the first time every week. However, God made a way when there seemed like there was no way.

The madness of your recent bad news will not last forever. This season of self-reflection and confession in Lent is also temporary. If God is for us and I wholehearted believe God is with us and for us, the. NOTHING can stand against us! Cast our cares on the One who loves us. It is going to be alright. God has the whole world in his hands.

In His Grip,
Mike Toluba

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