In the past few days I have been honored to officiate a wedding of a friend and help lay to rest someone I had never had the chance to meet.
A wedding is a day of celebration, of love, of happiness and it is a high point in a person's life. A funeral is a day of mourning, of loss, of grief and can be a low point for many.
I was able to experience in both of these things only a few days apart and the juxtaposition was extreme. Highs and lows in the same week. Loss and life in the same week.
Jesus, of course, experienced both of these things too. He attended the wedding at Cana to celebrate love and he wept at the tomb with Mary and Martha when Lazarus died. These are human emotions. Love, loss, joy, grief. These are part of what make us human.
As we go through the ups and downs of life I am glad we do it together, in community. I saw at the funeral members of our church there to support the family and I know that kind of love is comforting during a loss.
Romans 8:39 in the Message says "high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love."
May you remember that God is always with you; in the highs and the lows.
During my recent family vacation we spent a day hiking at Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin and it was amazing. The park features a beautiful lake set between two huge hills. On the hills, leading up to some of the park's well known rock formations, there are massive granite boulders. Workers have laid a nice rock path with steps, but it's clear that before this path was installed you would have needed to climb and clamor over the boulders in order to have reached the top.
Oftentimes it feels as if there are big obstacles in our way in life. We may see or know what we want, but look ahead and see the boulders in our way. At this point some turn back. Some push on only to find that the obstacles are too much and some overcome those obstacles in order to reach their goals. The ability to overcome is sometimes called "grit" and I believe that while some are born with it, everyone can grow their capacity to be overcomers.
But the greatest help toward overcoming isn't in some self help book...it's the power of God. The God we serve is the same God who made the universe, the same God who split the seas, the same God who stopped the sun, the same God who calmed the storm and the same God who overcame death. Our God can do anything and with His help we are able to overcome.
Romans 8 says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
So don't be scared of those boulders up ahead, you have God with you! Take heart and push on.
Murphy’s Law is a theoretical idea that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Of course, it is not a universal constant like gravity or the Law of conservation of Mass, but it sure feels like it sometimes. Have you ever been in one of those situations where everything around you seems to be falling apart? I sure have! And it can be really tough to have a positive outlook on the world around you when nothing seems to be going your way.
When I was at the Follow Conference in Cincinnati this past December with the Six Points Youth Group, I was stressed beyond my limit. Murphy’s Law was in full effect. All of my meticulous planning had gone by the wayside as everything was falling apart. I didn’t even know if we were going to have rooms to stay in that night. I was terrified because I didn’t have the answer to the hundreds of questions I was being asked. I forgot that God DID have all the answers.
It’s easy to forget that God is always on the throne—no matter what. Sometimes, in the midst of stress and worry, the best thing we can do is rely on God. God IS a universal constant. His love for us never fails. And He is always seeking to secure us in His Will. When life is out of control, and nothing is going the way you had planned, remember that God is still on the throne. Follow in His example. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2