Written by Chelsea Zappone
When Pastor Tim first asked me to write the blog post this week, I was a little thrown off. I am not a writer, I often struggle over finding my words, and more often than not I have at least one pesky typo hiding in my final drafts. But under that hesitance I found that I was also excited. I have really been enjoying the “5 things…” sermon series. I have been challenged and forced to reevaluate my spiritual health.
It is so easy to fall into bad habits and keep putting off addressing saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow. Surely I’ll have more time then.” However, I find myself never finding that time unless I purposefully set it aside.
That is why I am so thankful that God doesn’t wait for us to get our act straight. He works through the circumstances in our lives. The surprising opportunities, the scary uncertainties, the tough times, even the mundane routines. He is not limited by us.
The times I have found myself most open to God’s guidance is when I am in the valleys, when there is crisis, when I am no longer in control. I turn to him because I know he loves unconditionally, his is omnipresent and omnipotent. No one and nothing can make your problems seem smaller than God can.
Crisis can be like a fire in our life, it can burn away the impurities that have slowly snuck into our daily routines. Pastor Tim has often quoted, “there are no atheist in the foxhole.” A foxholes can take the form of hospital rooms, depths of depression, isolation and loneliness, desperate hopelessness. We all have a time when there is nothing else we can do but turn to God.
God doesn’t bring us suffering but he is right beside us when we are going through it. I love the advice James, Jesus’ brother, gives us in James 1:2-4: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance’s fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”
Troubles seem to be a constant presence in our lives either they’re our own, a friend’s, or a stranger’s across the world. God knows our suffering; it is part of living in a broken world. But he gives us a unique opportunity to not give up or even to just endure through it, but to find joy! To grow! To become ready for ANYTHING! That to me is amazing!
When we suffer, we can strengthen our relationship with God, we can encourage others in building community, we can be God’s light in the world. Like I said before, no one and nothing can make your problems smaller than God can. So instead of stressing and worrying, because we know neither of those will do any good (Matthew 6:28-34), turn to God. Find joy. Find the opportunity to grow.
The best is yet to be if God has his way!