Newsletter - February 2022

Newsletter – February, 2022

Greetings from the desk of the Pastor! What an incredibly challenging year this has been! We are only a month in, but it has been a very intense few weeks. I made a joke a few weeks ago that I wonder if we will get varsity letter jackets as we head into junior year of the pandemic.

Anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed in life, I often turn to the Psalms. The whole book is a collection of Poetry, various poets (mostly King David) crying out to God for help on bad days, and lifting high his praises in the good days. And a lot of times, I will look at the phrases used in Psalms and I will think, “boy, that’s a little bit dramatic.” They’ll say things like “I flood my bed with weeping” (Psalm 6:6), or “I am surrounded by enemies who are like lions hungry for human flesh.” (Psalm 57:4). The entire book of Psalms is full of dramatic phrases about how difficult life can be, using colorful imagery and exaggerated, sensational metaphors. But you know what? As the pandemic goes on, I find myself turning to the Psalms and saying to myself, “yep, I get what the author is saying.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is OKAY to cry out to God when things are hard. It’s okay to bring all of your burdens, and frustrations and come to God and admit – “I’m not sure I can do this on my own.” You’re not being dramatic. You’re not ever going to be “too much” for God. Coming to God with our struggles and admitting we are right on the edge is actually an act of faithful obedience. We are SUPPOSED to come to God in that moment. When everything else in this life has failed, God’s love is still there. God’s love is STEADFAST. I’ve heard that word “steadfast” a million times in my life in the church, but I have a new appreciation for it. There is very little in our lives that is STEADFAST – but God’s love is! God’s love is never changing. No matter what happens at work, or in your personal life, or with your family or whether you get sick or not – God’s love is going to be the same. God has a steadfast faithfulness for his people – like an immovable rock in the midst of a storm.

You’re probably familiar with the old parable of the house built on sand and the house built on the rock. When the rains come (because in every life they always come) - the house on the sand falls apart, but the house built on the rock stands firm. Christians have been taught all along to trust in God, not our own efforts. To trust in God’s unwavering, steadfast love – because everything else in the world will disappoint us, but God is always there for us. And it’s easy to say when the sun is shining. But when the clouds gather, and the rain begins to fall – even in that moment there is an invitation to find refuge in God’s arms. Come home to Jesus and place your trust in God’s steadfast love.

Charles Spurgeon, a brilliant preacher from long ago, was also a man who struggled deeply with depression. He once wrote, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” Sometimes in life it feels like we are being tossed about on the ocean, but if we stand on the firm foundation of God’s love, the waves of life will only ever be able to push us deeper into the powerful arms of our loving Father in heaven. So I want to invite you to cry out to God. Call out to him in your distress. Tell him everything you are going through. Every struggle you face, every fear and worry in your heart. Share it all with him. Ask God for patience. Ask God for peace, for strength, for courage, and for endurance. Ask God for help. God is there for you. God is waiting to hear from you. God’s love never fails. As some of you know, I too have struggled with the waves of bad news our world has seen. I have walked with people in grief, supported people in their struggles and prayed for all of you every single day. When I was trying to do it all on my own – I was completely overwhelmed. Exhausted and in danger of burning out. I thought a vacation would fix it, but then I came back to even more chaos. But when I let go. When I turned to Jesus and said, “I can’t do this on my own” he was there to hold me together. And he will be there for you too. And until then, I’ll “see” you on Sunday. Pastor JJ