MIDWEEK MESSAGE 5
Well, good morning (or afternoon or evening)! As always I hope and pray you are staying safe and healthy. I figure I’m not alone in hoping that this will all soon be over and we will at least begin to return to “normal.” I think it is safe to say though that the normal we once knew will not be.
I was totally blown away Sunday by the celebration of my 45 year as an ordained pastor. I wrote a little bit more about that in my Cycleguy’s Spin blog with the YouTube video Tami put together. If you could not see it or hear it but would like to here is the link that blog/video. http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=16024 I was truly honored and humbled by many of you responding and letting me know how you feel. I had to admit that I was totally surprised and somewhat emotional.
In a book called Dark Clouds-Deep Mercy, the author Mark Vroegop talks about the grace of lament. He introduced his book by having Joni Eareckson Tada tell her thoughts. Allow me to share her words:
“When a broken neck ambushed my life and left me a quadriplegic, I felt as though God had smashed me underfoot like a cigarette. At night, I would thrash my head on the pillow, hoping to break my neck at a higher level and thereby end my misery. After I left the hospital, I refused to get out of bed; I told my sister, ‘Just close the drapes, turn out the light, and shut the door.’ My paralysis was permanent, and inside, I died.
You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to identify. You already know that sad situations sometimes don’t get better. Problems don’t always get solved. Conflicts don’t get fixed. Children die, couples divorce, and untimely deaths rock our world and shake our faith…
…But after weeks in bed, I got tired of being depressed, and I finally cried out, ‘God, if I can’t die, please show me how to live.’ It was just the prayer God was waiting for.” (p.11)
The book of Habakkuk has a cry many of us use: “How long, Lord, how long?” In fact, 1:2 says, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” I suspect many of us are wondering that right now. There is a tendency to blame God for all of this. If He is so powerful and almighty why didn’t He prevent it and why doesn’t He stop it? All disease is the result of living on a fallen planet. It is called SIN. And even though I know God is able to prevent this and even though I believe He is Almighty, He will not go against His character or His Word. I do not know how long this current crisis will last…no one does. Except Him. But I do believe He would approve of taking Joni’s approach: “God, if I have to deal with this, then teach me how to live.”
Use this time to seek the Lord. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is.55:6-9) Emphasis mine
Onto another thought: We are constantly working to make our online Sunday better. We are awaiting new equipment which will change things 100%. Someone donated the money to purchase the new equipment and I guarantee that once we get it up and running you will be amazed at the quality. Just don’t stay home to watch my handsome face once we can start meeting together again! 🙂 But until then, thanks for tuning in. And inviting others to do so. Numbers mean little; lives touched means everything. Keep inviting and making comments.
Two weeks ago I commended Terrie MacMorran for his ingenuity of involving the students while they were away. Ryan has asked Terrie to do a lesson every other week till the middle of May. I’m grateful Terrie agreed and I hope your students look forward to his lessons and taking part.
Each week Dick and Vicki Hogan select songs for you to listen to before tuning into the FB service. I hope you are taking advantage of that. We are unable to include them in our service due to copyright laws. We can use hymns because they are public domain. Thanks to Dick & Vicki for making that effort.
Again I’ve gone on long enough. Hope your week is going well. Please stay safe. If you need me for anything, feel free to text or call. Love you all and look forward to seeing you face to face soon.
Pastor Bill Psalm 37:5