I intended to solely guest blog for my wife Carey today and write about the amazing man of God we are losing from our church, Beautiful Savior in La Vista, NE. Our senior pastor, Keith Grimm, has accepted a call to serve at Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Ham Lake, MN. But after reading Dina’s blog yesterday on this site (if you haven’t read it yet, you better!), I don’t know if I can quite top the feelings she expressed so eloquently about Pastor Keith.
To be honest with you, when I heard the news in person on Saturday, I felt numb. Thoughts of “No!” and “this can’t be happening” raced through my head. As President of our church congregation, my brain began to go into maximum overload trying to think of what’s next.
I’m sure we have all received some information, the answer to a question or news we were not expecting. At a younger age maybe this news was receiving a B or C on a homework assignment and wondering “why?” Or maybe it was being picked last for the kickball team with thoughts of “how come again?” Maybe it was just something so meniscal as there being no more chocolate milk in the lunch line or not being able to go out for recess.
During the teen years it may have involved a bad or broken relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend. Or no relationship at all. Maybe you didn’t fit in. Maybe you weren’t popular. Was it my fault? How come things have to be so difficult? Or perhaps your much anticipated ACT score wasn’t so high after all.
As a young adult, maybe it was going through financial troubles. Living paycheck to paycheck. Getting into debt. Wrecking a car. Maybe it was a separation or divorce.
Looking at the middle decades of life, maybe a sickness took over. Kidney disease. Chronic pain. More debt. Death of a relative – both young and older. Death of a friend so young in life. Cancer. Why so much? So close, so close to those you know.
These examples are so realistic yet so personal. They are ones I have experienced along with my wife Carey. We have been though hurt, brokenness, numbness and pain. Yet we carry on. Any of these examples, including losing a well-loved, personable, yet humble pastor at your church, can lead to despair. And confusion. And rattled nerves.
But there is hope. We have placed our hope in Jesus Christ and trust in Him that he will hold us together. As written in Colossians Chapter 1 verse 17:
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (NIV)
To borrow from a sermon given by a pastor in Atlanta named Louie Giglio (How Great is Our God), how do you know that in the toughest place in your life that God will hold you together and bring you through? You know because there is a cross standing over history. The creator of the universe – the star breather – became the sin bearer on the cross. And it’s proof that God doesn’t always change the circumstances. He did not change them for Jesus on that hillside close to 2,000 years ago. But the cross is also proof that God always has a purpose in the circumstance and that his purpose and plan will prevail and will triumph through any circumstance in this world that we may experiencing.
So how do we know – how do you know – that God really sees what we are going through, that He sees what we are carrying? Does He know that it feels like at times we can’t take one more step or make it through one more day? Does He care? And can He do something?
The answer lies in my (Scott’s) favorite passage in the Bible. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I posted this Saturday night. From Isaiah Chapter 40:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives STRENGTH to the weary
and increases the POWER of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who HOPE [those who WAIT] in the Lord
will RENEW their strength.
They will SOAR on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
We don’t always see what God is doing in our lives. We don’t always understand what the plan is. We may be standing right in the middle of the craziness and chaos, but for us, we are not going to give up on God and we are going to trust that He has a purpose and plan for our lives and for the life of our church and we believe that we are going to see the goodness of God shine through.
He will renew our strength. He will renew your strength. He will renew the strength of Beautiful Savior Church in La Vista, Nebraska and He will renew the strength of Family of Christ Church in Ham Lake, MN.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
How Great Is Our God!
Scott and Carey Oswald