Dear Resurrection communicants and friends,
Faith in God can be an asset when life throws at us more than we can handle. Sometimes I hear people say "God doesn’t give us more than we can handle;" however, in my pastoral experience, I have personally not found this statement to be true. Sometimes life sends things our way that are bigger, or more difficult, than we can handle--and there’s no shame in admitting it.
For Christians this is where faith comes in. As it says in the Bible (The Letter of Hebrews 11:1) faith "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." For Christians, it’s trusting in God "who can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." It’s being able, when life throws more at us than we can handle, to turn to God and ask for help, strength, patience, and whatever we need, as well as turn to our church community, too. Life may not always be on our side so to speak, but God is, meaning God is always with us. In this life, and beyond.
I spoke with a friend recently. He’s 43 years old like me...two young children, in education as well. But life has really hit him hard in the past couple of years: he was diagnosed with ALS, and in quick succession the disease took his ability to walk and then function in the ways that he enjoyed in his work. Two summers ago he was a very gifted tennis player, teaching his children to play tennis; this summer, I stood beside him as he sat in his wheelchair by the side of the court, watching his children volley.
He said to me when we spoke last, "My faith is now more important to me than ever." He also said that while life had dealt a blow to him, he knew that everything was going to be OK. Life is a gift he said to me, and every day (even the worst) was still that--a gift.
A very old truth, and one that my friend would encourage us to remember. Even when life is hard or hands us lemons/deals us blows: from a divine perspective, it’s a gift. Because time is finite. And there is no opposite to the gift of time--an expression of God’s grace. "For I am persuaded," says Paul, in one of his letters, "that neither sufferings nor hardships, nor things past nor things to come...neither death nor life, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus."
Today my prayer is that you will know and depend on God’s love. It’s for the good times, and the hard times, too. It’s for all times. May God’s love strengthen you today.
The Rev. Nathan Speck-Ewer
Resurrection Episcopal Church
December 14, 2018