“I’ll be back.”

Some of the most memorable words uttered onscreen in my lifetime—by an android killing machine, a terminator played by Arnold Schwartzenegger. Also spoken by me just over ninety days ago, as I stepped away from my pastoral office for three month’s worth of study break.

When Arnold spoke the words, he was planning to drive a car through the front door of a police station thirty seconds later. When I spoke the words, I was planning to retreat for a season to tend my heart so I could step back into my role with renewed grace and passion (though I must confess, there are things about my church that I would love to ram a car through).

So now I’m back. And my re-entrance hasn’t been announced by the sound of breaking glass and crumpling metal. More like the sounds of cleaning out my office. Sighing. Singing. Dreaming.

There are things that must change at DCC, things that will require a whole lot more than ramming speed to end up closer to where God wants them. Things that will only move with wisdom and the express leading of the Holy Spirit. Things that will require a courageous cooperation between me, God, and the church to be transformed.

And very much unlike the terminator, I can’t fix what’s broken by going back in time to prevent them from happening. We’ve been dealt our hand of cards, and we must play them to the best of our ability.

I’m so thankful that I had my study break. My heart had stiffened, hardened, become angry inside. If I had kept going like that, I just might have begun playing the terminator role instead of the servant God calls me to be. Over the past three months, God has exchanged that android heart for a soft one, and it feels marvellous.

That said, I’m going to need courage, wisdom, the intimate leading of God’s Spirit, the heart of God for his people and the lost sheep still outside his fold. I’m not an invincible robot. I can bleed. I can weep. And I’m sure I will. Please pray for me.

Jesus, I’m yours.