Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious hand.” -Isaiah 41:10
Flannery O’Connor a legendary writer had an inspiring commitment to her craft. O’Connor once shared that every single morning she made her way to her writing desk. She may or may not know what she was going to write about, but that did not matter. Either way, O’Connor went to the desk to do the work. If and when the inspiration came, she was ready to embrace it.
I think there’s some tremendous wisdom there. It is possible for us to go long stretches between those mountaintop moments of epiphany. This can be especially the case for veteran Christians who have been active in the faith, maybe since childhood.
Certainly, there have been seasons when we feel very much in tune with God, connections are made, prayers are answered, and the movement of the Spirit is unmistakable.
And then, there are other seasons, and these may last for a good long while, in which our spirits seem to be dry, listless, and we contend with the lingering weight of our questions
What should we do when these days are upon us?
My suggestion, like Flannery O’Connor, keep showing up. Keep praying when it’s difficult to pray. Keep worshiping when you feel as if there is little for which to give thanks and praise. Keep trusting when it feels like your trust is diminishing.
And I say this, not as an empty encouragement, but because of what the prophet said so long ago… “Do not fear, for I am with you…”
Isaiah was right, of course. God is present, even in those moments when we feel or sense distance from the Divine. God is faithful, even when our faith may be wavering. God responds to our prayers, even if we may be having trouble listening and hearing.
So, we press on, and thanks to the power of our faith… we keep doing the work of the disciple. And we continue to trust that at any moment, an explosion of inspiration may burst into our lives and renew our faith all over again.
Question for reflection: Has there been a time when you were surprised by God’s goodness?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Tuesday evening our senior high youth movie night begins at 7:00.
On Wednesday we’ll continue our Bible Study with sessions at 10:30 and 7:00.
On Thursday evening our Strategic Planning Committee will be meeting at 7:00.
On Saturday evening, we will share in worship at 6:00.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 10:30. Sunday School begins at 9:15. Please be reminded this Sunday is Reformation Sunday, so wear your red! Confirmation and Youth Group begin at 6:30.
Yours in Christ,
God of hope, when we find ourselves in moments of darkness, doubt, and despair; remind us that you have the power and capacity to work in precisely these kinds of moments. Your grace knows no bounds, it infiltrates every aspect of our lives, and so we trust that there is always a way forward. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.