Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. When they asked me to come to the front for a “pounding,” I wondered if this was some kind of hazing for the new preacher. My mind even went back to the paddles at the frat house for a moment! I’ve taken a few knocks, and life has handed me a beating or two, but what was this thing in the church called a “pounding?” And why were they going to do it with my family present? Well, of course, I’m exaggerating a little. As the picture shows, this was a wonderful gift that looks more like a Thanksgiving cornucopia of pantry items than just a mere “pound of sugar, etc.” But it did make me think…have you ever had one of those moments when you thought trouble was ahead but God had something else in mind and your worries were for nothing?
When Jacob was returning to the land of his birth (Gen 31,32) with his new family, servants, and all that God had given him, he was alarmed when he heard that Esau was coming out to meet him (32:7). He knew that he had “deceived” (27:12) Esau and Isaac, and he knew that his brother had it in his heart to kill him (27:41). What he didn’t know was that God had other plans. As Jacob lifted his eyes and saw Esau coming (33:1), I can only imagine what went through his mind. I’m pretty sure, though, that he never imagined what would actually happen – “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (33:4). Jacob never imagined such a blessing as that!
I’ve never had a church “pounding” before, but what a blessing! We have been tremendously blessed by God ever since entering the ministry, both in Knoxville and now in Clover. We are so thankful for this congregation and for all they have done for us since coming to SC. What an unexpected and undeserved blessing! And I am especially glad there were no paddles! Next time it looks like trouble ahead, we should all trust that no matter what happens here, God has good plans in store for us in heaven.