Posted by: Jim Black | April 1, 2008

Stand in the Rain

Occasionally, I am overwhelmed from the pulpit as I am preaching… looking out at the myriad of faces that are (mostly) paying attention and listening to what I have to say each Sunday. The responsibility to say the right thing… not just the right thing doctrinally… but the thing that people need to hear. That’s a daunting thing. The longer I have stood before them the more I have come to know these people and the more I have come to be a part of their lives. Sometimes it is just overwhelming to think about what some of these dear folks are going through. I have been there with them beside the graves of their mates. I have watched them hurt when a husband has left and I have seen what that has done to their families. I have sat with them in hospital waiting rooms awaiting news from the doctors. I’ve watched many of them deal with serious and life-threatening illnesses… cancer, heart disease, strokes. I have been there with them at graduations, weddings, bar-mitzvahs… okay, I don’t actually remember any bar-mitzvahs, but you get my point. I have come to deeply love my congregation and the more I love them the more it hurts to see them hurt. During this time, I’ve had my own share of ups and downs. I’ve had close family receive the dreaded diagnosis of cancer. I’ve grieved with a dear cousin over the loss of an infant! I’ve lost a father-in-law and buried an aunt. As I have experienced loss… and sought comfort from my church family, I have become increasingly aware of just how fragile life really is. Sometimes rain falls. How are we to stand? Will we allow the rains to just wash us away?

This Sunday I am going to start a sermon series that I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I will be exploring some of these different hurts… from doubt and disease to divorce and death. I want to ask the question… “How are we to stand through these storms of life?” I’m not sure how some folks do it. I DO know that seeking shelter in God is the answer… I’m just not sure what that looks like in real life. I want us to explore it together. Any thoughts are much appreciated.
I’m going to begin THIS Sunday with “doubt”… a common thread that runs throughout Scripture. What do we do when we doubt God’s presence or purpose in our lives? What do YOU do?
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