By Pastor Nissa Peterson
Chatfield and Root Prairie
The Christmas season just barely ended – the church season of Christmas ends January 5, and many churches are already in full swing planning for Lent, which is just around the corner this year. It feels like we’ve hardly had a moment to breathe between these two busy seasons!
Often happens in life, too – we barely feel like we’ve adjusted to a new baby when another one arrives, or a new job change is followed closely by a health problem. We finally have a child settled into college when a parent needs more care.
Sometimes life feels like it throws one thing after another onto us and we barely have a moment to breathe!
In those moments of craziness, we can rest securely in knowing that God is with us.
Jesus is tested in the wilderness and he barely gets a moment to breathe between being tempted with hunger, power, and comfort. But he turns over and over to scripture – and God’s presence through it – to give him strength.
Although I don’t personally believe that our struggles are God testing us in the way that Jesus was (after all, Jesus overcoming those temptations was to show how he was truly God’s son – no such miraculous result can be expected of us facing life’s challenges). Just like when Jesus faced difficulty after difficulty, we, too, can turn to scripture for comfort. A few beloved examples of scripture that comforts in difficult times include:
• Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
• I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
• 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 right hand. Isaiah 41:10
We also have the wonder of worship to help us. Worship gives us the chance to bring ALL of our human experience before God. And to be in a community, so we know we’re not the only ones going through it. We confess our sins. We receive forgiveness. We proclaim how much we need Jesus. We rejoice that Jesus is with us. We sing, mourn, cry, laugh, dance, and pray in worship (although as stoic Minnesotans the dancing is likely internal…).
I pray that when you face life’s difficulties, even if it feels like there’s hardly a chance to breathe between one catastrophe and the next, I pray that you can find comfort and peace from God’s presence beside you. I pray that you can turn to scripture and Christian community to guide you and give you peace.
Peace be with you in the midst of all of life’s many busy seasons!