|Sometimes you drink coffee so there's something |
keeping you from talking.
Then, sometimes the next day, sometimes months later, sometimes YEARS later, they answer the question. They have listened and prayed and thought and prayed and wrestled and read and prayed and pondered and prayed some more. Sometimes they answer the question in a way you never would have done. You wonder if they've heard a word you've said in all the time you've been their pastor. Sometimes when this happens, the answer they come to makes you reconsider your own answer. What matters in these times is they've learned to answer the question for themselves, even if their answer isn't quite what you think it ought to be. But sometimes, it is. Sometimes it's obvious they've listened closely to you and done their best to understand what it is you've been preaching and teaching all this time. And knowing where they started when they first asked the question, you see the incredible journey of faith they've taken to get to their answer.
Either way, you could have shortened the journey considerably by handing them the answer yourself, but they would have missed all the strain and struggle and growth that comes from making the journey on their own. You see that they no longer trust in you - they trust in the God of whom you've been speaking all this time. You have faded into the background: only God remains in the center, and upon seeing this you rejoice, because that was where God meant to be the whole time.
This is why you're a pastor, and you can't imagine doing anything else.