Thursday, July 26, 2012

hard things


For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

That was Sabrina’s favorite verse.  It is also reality for the people who trust Jesus.  Without the love of God, without the hope He alone gives, without the strength of God, we are in trouble.

I was having lunch with a ministry partner last Wednesday when the phone rang.  In the next hour I learned about the death of two people close to our church.  Our worship leader’s sister and her husband had been killed.  We have very few answers about this situation although the pieces are coming together a little at a time.  Their funeral was Tuesday and was one of the hardest things I have had to do.  This toughest part is that many people in our church family are touched by their death, and my heart goes out to all of them.

Friday morning my phone rang again.  It was a friend that told me that another friend had passed away.  This was another crisis on the heals of an already hard time.  Sabrina was 35 years old, the mother of three awesome kids and a wonderful and loved wife and special lady.  There are few answers to the cause of her death at this time other than some of the health issues she had.  Her funeral was yesterday, and this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been a part of.

Both of these situations qualify as hard.  Some people close to me were placed in situations that cut them and caused deep pain.  When the people around me hurt, I hurt with them.  No, I’ve not experienced much of what they have, but these are people that I love and care about.

Oh how good it would be to have answers for why things like this happen.  What I do know is that we need the strength of God to get us through and to push us forward.  God doesn’t intend for us to go through the hard things of life alone.

Two weeks ago our church leaders were told that we will soon need to make major decisions about our church as to where we are located.  This is going to cost a lot of money and could change the course we are on.  What I have learned is that God has a plan, and through all of this we need His strength.

If we lean on anything else or trust in any other strength, we will trust the wrong thing.  Our strength comes to an end.  We might try to lean on people who have resources or those who seem to have wisdom, but without God, we are sunk.  I often have to re-evaluate where I am and where we are as well as where we are going to make sure that God is in the center.  It is easy to get off center.  The hard things of life can move us from focusing on Christ or help us focus more on Him.  The hard things make us ask the questions and make us refocus what we are doing and the direction we are headed in.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

“O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

What do you do when hard things or tough times come your way?  Far too many people, including Christians, begin to crumble, question and even sink when difficult situations hit.  Yet will our lives and our faith be different if we have a proper view of God?  Nothing is too hard for God.  We can always lean on Him.

My prayer is that the hard things I go through will lead me to lean on, trust in and run to Jesus.  I thank God when I can see that He is in control because hard things are too much for me to handle on my own.  By the way, God is always in control.  When hard things come into our lives, it is time to acknowledge that God has it all.

NOTE ON OUR back2school OUTREACH
Help us raise $18 per student for our back2school outreach.  Will you help us?  This Sunday is the big push to make this happen.  Send your check to TCF back2school, PO Box 388, Collinsville, VA 24088 or click HERE to give online.  Volunteers are also needed.  Watch our video HERE.  

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