Message from Pastor Woody for April, 2012Category: Pastor's Column
I like to remember times in my life when I felt that God was close to me. These memories help my faith and it helps me recognize that God is with me, today, tomorrow and always. When He said He would never forsake us, He meant it!
When we draw near to God, He draws near to us. In times of prayer, God is there. We feel the loving touch of Him when our prayers are answered, even if the answer is not what we want. Remember when Jesus said life would not be easy? Well, it isn’t; but with God’s presence in our lives, it sure is more tolerable.
When have you felt God close to you? In times of difficulty? In times of celebration? Whatever our circumstances, God is there. He was there on the night Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. He was there when Jesus was hung on a cross to die and when He took his last breath. He was there when Jesus overcame death. If God could be there in those difficult times for His Son, He can and will be there for us in our times of need as well. And His presence often causes us to react to life in different ways.
When everything is fine, it is easy to be happy, loving and even considerate. But when troubles get to us, that is the time our Christian Faith has the opportunity to shine. It is when the troubles of life pile up, that out faith is at its best.
God loves us, in all things. Jesus is still here, whether we realize it or not. And on Easter morning we remember the death of the Savior, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He didn’t let his faith diminish. Jesus kept the faith and allowed God to help him get through the most difficult time ever imagined.
In just a few days, Easter will be upon us. First we have to go through some difficult situations but finally, we will gaze into an empty tomb. The suffering we experience, and the suffering that Jesus went through is meant to be a faith builder for us. Christ bears the real cost of our sin, and we all sin. Many times, we don’t suffer consequences which should or could flow from our actions. Often our suffering is tempered by the suffering of others: we like to share our pain with others. But there on the cross and in the grave is Jesus. All alone. There for us. What does that mean in our lives?
It means that we have everything in the world to celebrate! Jesus has overcome the agony of death, and he is alive and has left the cave which held him back. May we all experience his presence on the road to wherever we are going. Recognizing that suffering is part of the process and rejoicing is also a result. May you have the best experience this Easter that you have ever had. I hope that means that you will choose to worship in church with us on that morning. It is a day to rejoice. And God welcomes us all!