I have family and friends who are very passionate on both sides of this presidential election. After the election this week, I am feeling the emotions from both sides. The despair, stress and anguish over not knowing what the future will hold, and the joy and elation of having your candidate elected. So where do we go from here? I’ve been asked to speak this Sunday at church and my sermon is titled “Don’t fear, God reigns”. I’ll record it and post it here next week. In the meantime, we need to pray for wisdom in our leaders, for cool heads to prevail, and trust that if we put our worries and our praise in the hands of God, he will bring us peace.
The poem I’d like to share with you is titled, “Let’s talk about stress”
Life is hard, following Jesus doesn’t make your problems go away — But you will be able to face your difficulties with the confidence of knowing you have a powerful force within you that can do the impossible. You will discover that following God can “mend all your broken pieces” and help you find peace.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me.
Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel?
Where’s my reward for living true?
Why is everything such a mess?
When all I want – is to follow you.
I’m falling apart at the seams,
I can’t do this on my own
I’m tired of feeling broken
I’m tired of feeling alone.
Could you mend all my broken pieces?
Could I find peace in your loving embrace?
Will you lead me beside still waters?
Will I discover amazing Grace?
Will I escape from my worries and woes?
Will I find the Solution I need?
Will my future finally look bright?
Will the darkness eventually flee ?
This world is full of such sadness,
I’m not sure which direction to go.
Will you take away all my troubles?
Will you prepare me a room in your home?
The darkness finally faded,
With the rising of the son.
I surrendered my heavy burdens,
And found peace when the day was done.
Jesus lives! We can still see signs all around us, if we look closely that show us that Jesus still lives today in the hearts of those who seek him. But we still struggle.
So I’m inclined to ask … If following Jesus does not exempt us from struggles and brokenness… Then why should we follow him? Why pray or go to church? What’s in it for us? The struggles we each face can be challenging and scary. And Following Jesus gives us a pathway to peace. He shows us the way to find Gods loving embrace. He takes away our fears and replaces it with determination and renewed strength. Our problems don’t go away when we follow Jesus, but the way we tackle them changes. Our attitude towards our problems change when we know we are not fighting them alone.
On this life journey, it’s the proclaiming our faith and the expressing our doubts, the questioning and the searching for answers, the falling and the getting up, the yanking and the pushing… it’s life pulling us in all directions, it’s the chasing and the crying and the celebrating that we do together, that leads us to discover the spirit of God in each of us. By following Jesus it fills our spirit with the love of God and brings us comfort knowing we are never alone. God is always with us.
Some of you endure the pain of life on a daily basis.
A lost marriage.
A broken home.
Death and separation
Sickness and pain.
Children facing difficulties and challenges.
No strong person I know got that way from walking away from their doubts and fears. It’s by tackling problems, by questioning, by searching for answers that we become stronger and more resilient.
Psalm 34: 18-19 says .. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.
Brokenness connects us to God. Think of the word BROKEN! When we’re financially strapped, we say we’re broke, when we lose someone or something we love we’re brokenhearted. When we were dating someone and they make us mad we break up with them. When we get together for meals we say we are “breaking bread together”, when we’re an emotional mess we have a break down. But it’s the broken ground that we plant seeds in to produce life,its broken clouds that bring rain, rain that yields flowers and food.
You know, it’s striking at how much the weather is a metaphor for our lives. This year especially we have realized that our never ending winter has finally moved into spring. We knew it would. That rain brings fruits and trees and rainbows. That storms destroy things that can be rebuilt even better and more resilient than before. Our lives are spent being broken and being renewed. Being cast aside and being lifted up. Being rained on and feeling lousy about it and then blossoming into a beautiful flower. We face storms, we struggle, we deal with the loss of loved ones. But it’s the harsh winters make spring much more appreciated. It’s in dealing with death, as we all do at times, that makes us appreciate life even more. Without storms we wouldn’t appreciate calm. Without death we wouldn’t appreciate life. God has a purpose for us ~ to live our life, to face challenges knowing that spring is coming and that whatever is broken or knocked down by the gusts of wind can be rebuilt and renewed – Are you hungry for God’s love? Are you passionate about learning more and removing those fears and doubts? Are you ready to discover the confidence that comes from tackling your problems with Jesus by your side?
We all have doubts and fears. You may be shattered by the loss of a loved one, dealing with health issues, facing a financial crisis, seeking spiritual fulfillment, needful of an emotional pick me up or just feeling sad. Yet, as followers of Jesus – together we can lift each other up. You don’t have to do it alone. We can be “Broken Together” and that’s okay – because we know that God uses broken things. God can put our broken pieces back together in a different way so that they will have a new meaning and make us feel loved and complete.
We hear the story of Jesus’s birth and ask, “How does that relate to me today?” How can a baby born over 2000 years ago help me? Until finally you realize that his birth was meant for you – to bring you joy and to grant you peace.
Christmas is a time to celebrate God’s glory. It’s a time when bright stars shine on unsightly stables. A time when angels of God sing to simple, smelly shepherds. A time where the wise take time out of their busy lives and follow him. A time when we stand up and sing of God’s glory – it’s hearing the story of Jesus again at Christmastime where if we listen closely, we will feel a sense of Joy and Peace.
Unfortunately, this expression of God’s love sometimes gets lost, especially in the hubbub of the Christmas season. We get busy in the trappings and activities of the holidays and lose sight of the fact that Jesus’ birth is the ultimate love story. Now that the holiday is over, we need to make some quiet time to be with our God, and to sit and re-read his Word – the bible again, take time to clear away the clutter of Christmas, and take a good look again at the love that came down from heaven for us that night so long ago in Bethlehem!
With that night, God offers us an eternal peace, so that no matter what is going on in the world around you, you can find fulfillment and peace knowing that you are loved, that you matter and that you are never alone. Whatever you are facing today, know that God will give you the strength you need and the words to say, he will bring people into your life to help you, he will grant you opportunities that will allow you to overcome life’s troubles. Your earthly circumstances have no bearing on your heavenly journey. The birth of Jesus brings with it Joy and Peace that no one – but you – can extinguish.
God’s Gift of Joy and Peace: A Joy and inner peace that comes from within – a knowing that whatever is happening in your life, whatever struggles you are facing, nothing will be able to extinguish the joy of knowing that Jesus was born just for you. And that with God’s grace, worry and fear will flee and you can find peace in God’s tender embrace.
God’s gift came to us wrapped in Joy and peace.