God is Moved By You

1295779_44452649On Sunday we are going to be having communion, and exploring an interesting passage in Exodus. The passage we are going to be looking at is this Exodus 3:7:

Then the Lord told Moses, “You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people. I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt.”

I think this is a beautiful passage because it reveals who God is.

In this passage God is one who hears, and who acts.

I think this is so crucial to so many of us, because when we are in difficulty our temptation is to believe we are alone. Our temptation is to believe our prayers are futile. Our temptation is to believe that nothing will change. Our temptation is to believe that the God we worship is distant and unmoving.

But here in this passage we see a totally different God. We see a God who is intimately involved with his people. We see a God who hears the cries of those who are suffering, and is then moved by them. Our God is not some unmoving, uncaring, distant deity. Our God is someone who is involved in the world being moved by injustice, not just to hear the cry but then to act.

So this passage gives me hope that whenever I feel alone, and hurting I know God is not removed but listening and acting.

On Sunday we’ll discover how God acts, and what he promises to us. But today why not simply rest in the fact that your prayers are heard by God. Your prayers and cries do move God. You are not alone but actually connected to the Creator who hears and responds. Hopefully that gives you hope, because it gives me hope.

Learning to Trust in the Dark Times

Have you ever noticed that difficulty seems to come all at once? Where health challenges, a death, a major car bill, an unexpected family fall out all happens in the same week.1418812_77341743

So the question I want to look at is how do you get through a really difficult week, month, or even year? How do you get through a time where all sorts of crisis happen all at once? Yes of course, as a pastor, the answer is Jesus, but what does that actually mean?

Well what I’ve learned over the years is that the way to get through difficult times is to invest in trust – trust in Jesus, others, and even ourselves.

The first person I try to place my active trust in – is God. I want to be specific what that means for me. For me it means reminding myself that Jesus is good, true, faithful, and loving. When difficulty happens it can so easily take all of our focus and we forget that God is still good and in control. So I seek to remind myself that God is not caught off guard, God is not unmoving up in heaven. Our God is active, caring, loving, and faithful. God will lead me through whatever I am facing, and I seek to place my trust in him.

I also try to trust in my friends. By this I mean those people who God has placed in my life and have been walking with me. Jesus so often shows up in a difficult week through the actions, words, and encouragements of my friends and family. A wife who does something special, a friend who texts to say they are praying for me out of the blue, or some produce from a neighbor. This is how Jesus often shows up in practical ways through other people giving their time, support, and encouragement. This is something I’ve been learning to lean on and even ask for in a difficult week. Ask for care, ask for support, ask for prayer and trust in those God has placed around you.

And lastly, I try to trust in myself. This seems at first rather self-centered so let me clarify what I mean. I seek to trust in who Jesus has called me to be, and how he has been working in my life. What I try to trust in – is the God who has been shaping me, forming me, who is within me, and who will lead me. So when I’m tired, and unsure what to say or do I trust that God will use me. I trust in the abilities he has given me, and the promise that if I’m willing he will use me. I think we need to do the same to trust that God wants to use each and everyone of us. To trust that as followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit within us, and Jesus wants to use the gift and abilities we have to get through a difficult time.

So if difficulty sneaks up on you, or crisis surprises you, this is how I’ve been learning to make it through. Trusting in the goodness of Jesus Christ, trusting in support he’s placed around me, and trusting in who he has called me to be.

So that’s me. What about you? What has helped you get through a long week? Do you have friends or family you can rely on? If not, do you have a church that you can call for support? Are you remembering that God is good and his purposes for your life is good? Are you trusting in what he is doing in and through you?

In essence are you trusting him?

And I hope you are, but if today for whatever reason trust is low here is my prayer for you today:

That God would prove his trustworthiness in amazing and ordinary ways to you this week. That you would sense his provision, his goodness, and his grace. That friends would surprise you with support, and God would assure you of his care. That your trust would grow. Grace and peace.