By Pastor Andy Plank
Mountains and Valleys
February 6, 2022 . . . . .
When we left our house a couple of Thursday mornings ago, I left really excited. The bi-vocational ministers and wives retreat is an event that is truly a highlight of my year and due to family health issues, I hadn’t been able to attend for several years. It was cancelled the past two or maybe even three years due to Covid restrictions, so finally, two Thursdays ago, I was on my way again. I was looking forward to introducing Marie to some of the Pastors and wives I know and was really anticipating some soul feeding preaching as well. We arrived in Pigeon Forge on Thursday afternoon and the afternoon session was all I had hoped it would be. 175 couples worshipping the Lord together will make a Baptist shout. The only negative was, on Thursday evening, my throat started feeling a bit scratchy, but I figured allergies are allergies all four seasons of the year. Friday morning’s music and worship was just as uplifting. The couples have Friday afternoon and evening off to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the Smoky Mountains. However, the unexpected struck Friday afternoon. I started feeling REALLY bad with coughing, sneezing, chills and body aches. Guess where the Plank couple spent Friday afternoon? Yep, Urgent Care of Pigeon Forge. Guess what the diagnosis was? Right again, Covid. For those of you keeping score at home, this was round three for me and ‘Rona. So unfortunately, we missed the Saturday Morning session of the retreat and headed home instead. I wrote all that not for you to say poor, pitiful Planks, although I did feel pretty pitiful. I wrote it to remind all of us that in spite of our best planning, the unexpected still shows up. Here are a few thoughts to help us deal with it. First, it helps to remember that the unexpected creeps up on everybody. ‘Rona wasn’t singling me out and your round of surprise isn’t singling you out either. Second, it helps me to remember that whatever I am dealing with right this minute isn’t permanent. The mountaintop moment on which we might be standing won’t last forever because there are valleys in our future as well. The valley through which we may be slowly making our way through will transition back to the mountaintop and eventually, Christ followers have the promise that our journey will end up on the mountaintop of all mountains, eternal glory with Jesus. This leads me to the final tip. Enjoy the journey, because our lives are a journey mixed with interstates, backroads, curves, straightaways and traffic jams. Enjoy your journey and learn to travel light because when it’s all said and done, we are headed home!
Be blessed and be a blessing . . . . Bro. Andy