Friday – January 16, 2015

Acts 13:16-25  all around us

16 So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:

“You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20 for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years.22 When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23 Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised; 24 before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his work, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.’

So here we are in 2015!  Way back in the 1970’s when I was a kid, we thought that the world of 2015 would bring us marvels like flying cars, robot servants, holidays on the Moon, etc., and maybe even an end to poverty and war as we knew it!

The future looked so much brighter than our present, which was filled with financial struggles, fuel shortages, corrupt politicians, terrorism, racism, unjustifiable wars and a crumbling infrastructure!  This is not to mention the decay of society and the loss of the nuclear family, the rise of drug and alcohol abuse…and well, pretty much the same things we still have with us today!

So it is not surprising that many of us may be asking where is that bright future that we were promised?  Where is the peace, prosperity and unity…and where is MY flying car?

Even more so, as we may find ourselves struggling with financial problems, addiction issues, grades, worries about the friends who are leading our kids off track, or just plain feeling stressed-out, we may be asking where is our own bright future…what happened to all the dreams we had when we were younger?

Well they have changed…we had kids; and having children brings a whole new life that we could never have imagined before we were parents!

We do our best to face the challenges of this new life with faith, praying for the strength to endure, the wisdom to guide our children…and for things to improve; however, these prayers often seem to go unanswered and we can find ourselves wondering where is God in all our struggles?

When our fears feel like too much to handle, and seem to be pulling us deeper into the darkness and we feel that God is not listening to our prayers, it is not unusual to feel somewhat resentful towards God; there are many times when I have said that “…I am not on speaking terms with the Almighty” because things were not going my way!

Although this looks like a bleak picture, there is good news (as usual); and this good news is that in the midst of things we cannot understand or control…when we feel as if God is far away, God is with us: walking with us, worrying with us, and weeping with us over the injustices we face in the world and in our homes!  Through Christ, and all people who have followed his call to love one another and to carry the light of God’s grace, we are never alone, as God’s love can never leave us!

While we know this, but there are still times when we may feel like God has let us go…or even let us down; and we can find ourselves wondering why, if God loves us, He simply doesn’t make all of our troubles go away?  And I have no good answer for this question…except that it really does not work that way; after all we would want to take away all of our children’s troubles but know we cannot…and sometimes all we can do is be there for them, or simply let them go because we were holding on too tightly (which is not good for any one)!

However, just because we cannot (and perhaps should not always try) to fix our children, this doesn’t mean that we do not love them any less, and this love will stay with them always (whether they like it or not), just as God’s love will always surround us!

Surrounded by the light of God’s love, we can begin move away from fretting over what we do not have, and even being angry over what God is NOT doing for us, and start to see how much we have been given!

Sure our world is not a futuristic paradise like we see on Star-Trek, but we are not living in the dystopian world of Blade Runner either (which is set in far off 2019)!

Instead of looking at all God has not done for us, we can look at all that has not happened, that has not gone wrong, the tragedies we have been saved from and the blessings we have received!  Blessings like being with our children
, having the support of others, especially those who know what is it like to raise children on their own…or close to it.  We have been blessed by having faith…as the world would be a lonely and scary place with out it, and blessed by being made part of God’s family, and given the promise of never being alone!

If we can stop for just a moment and look (even during the darkest of days) we can see the light of God’s love all around us and our children, and in this light we can find the presence of Christ, alive and active in our world and our lives…sometimes in big miracles, but most of the time in small moments of serendipity, what a friend of mine refers to as “God moments”.  It is these moments that give us reasons to be grateful, even in the midst of struggle…in the midst of our lives; because wherever Christ is present there is hope, which can guide us through any darkness and into the light of God’s Kingdom!

Let us Pray:

God, thank you for all you’ve done for us and our children; and for never letting us go! Please help us from falling into dark despair when things are not going our way, or when we are feeling frustrated and afraid for our children! Let us remember that it is you who walks with us and weeps with us, and that you never stop loving us…just as the love we have for our children will always be with them!  Help us to share the light of Christ with all around us, not only to give them hope, but also to give hope to ourselves as it is by sharing the sparks of your love that we can carry the fire that can see us through the darknessof life’s struggles.

Amen

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