By Pastor Pam Seebach
Harmony, Mabel, and Newburg United Methodist Churches
On the morning I wrote this, the thermometer read 4º when I got up. Brr! Something compelled me, though, so I put on several layers, covering all but my eyes, and headed out the door for my morning walk. It was cold, but as a true Minnesotan, I knew it could be worse! I walked west for a bit, then turned back toward home. The sun was just cresting the hillside as I reached the house – amazingly luminous colors in the clouds!! Because I was up and about, I witnessed the beauty of the sunrise in a cold winter sky. Thank you, God!
Through this past year of coronavirus dominating the news and all of life, I hope you have felt God’s presence. We have experienced fear, resentment, and worry. We have had to change, struggle, and – finally – adapt. We may have turned to, or away from, God. Whatever we have felt, whatever we have expressed to God or anyone else, the truth is that God knew it before we felt or said it. The Psalmist wrote (#139) “Lord, you have examined me. You know me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans. You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways. There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord, that you don’t already know completely.” God KNOWS what we’re about – what we’re feeling and what we’re going through. God made us just as beautifully as the sunrise today.
Lest you think I’m all sunshine and roses, though, let me assure you that God understands and welcomes our darkness and complaints, too. This year has tested the pastors just as fiercely as it has tested the rest of the community. God understands this, too. My “go to” Psalm for these difficult days is #69. It starts this way: “Save me, God, because the waters have reached my neck! I have sunk into deep mud. My feet can’t touch the bottom! I have entered deep water; the flood has swept me up. I am tired of crying. My throat is hoarse. My eyes are exhausted with waiting for my God.” Can you relate? God heard the author of that psalm, just as God hears you or me when we cry out. By the 33rd verse, the psalmist felt a bit calmer and wrote, “Let the afflicted see it and be glad! You who seek God – let your hearts beat strong again because the Lord listens to the needy…” Whether we are praising God for the beauty of a southeast Minnesota morning, or shouting out our despair, God hears us and will respond. Our prayers or cries may not be answered in the way or timeframe which we would like, but they WILL be answered. Go ahead, cry out to God, and feel your heart beat strong again.