Can we hear the collective sighs as the night marches on? The Judicial Council ruled the compromise plan called “Plan UMC” unconstitutional and now the delegates have a few short hours to determine what to do. Bishop Goodpaster addressed the body with a grace and hopeful words of encouragement for everyone to continue forward. He asked the question, “Have we wasted our ten days here, the churches time and energy…your time and energy?”
I know that God wastes nothing. Let me say it again, God does not waste a thing. God will not allow this time together to be wasted. The eye-opening time of dialogue and dissention will not be wasted. The encounter of delegates, Bishops, volunteers, staff, and everyone in between will not be wasted. Relationships that were built or made stronger during this Conference will not be wasted. God will not even allow the defunct Plan UMC, Plan B, and Call to Action to be wasted.
I wonder if our church, our General Conference, needed to be this confused and frustrated for God’s will to make a way. I wonder about other times in the life of the people of God when God did not waste failure. I think about Jacob beaten and weary from his encounter the angel of God and how he came out of that experience renamed and changed forever. He was in the midst of complex negotiations with his brother and expected things to not go well. Instead God showed up and put real perspective on his wrestling.
Sometimes we have to be broken to see. Sometimes our meager attempts to fix our problems have to fail for us to believe. I have no idea what will happen and I am not really sure that I fully understand and one of the plans that were presented. What I do know is that we have a God who takes our failures and turns them on their heads. It is the very symbol of failure and rejection where God chose to bring redemption to the world.