WHAT STORMS DO YOU FACE?
A NEW STORM
“Oh no.” The news our small group leader called with grieved Don and me. We had noticed our pastor hadn’t seemed his usual self for the past month or more, and wondered whether there was a health issue. Usually brimming with energy, Tim was quiet, subdued.
A few months ago, our church merged with another, newer church. The Holy Spirit led each of our elders to unanimous agreement about the merger. So we now have two co-pastors, an increase in younger families and children, and a wonderful, multi-ethnic church body.
Last week Pastor Tim was diagnosed with this brain tumor. My gasp came when, Sunday morning, his wife told us that the tumor is inoperable because of its size and location. This morning, Tim had a biopsy to determine its impact and best treatment.
What timing, for God to bring our two churches together before receiving Tim’s diagnosis!
Know the Author in the Storms
Sunday morning Tim’s wife, Pam, shared this week’s journey with us all. She told us their son is a writer, and their son-in-law works in Hollywood. She and Tim have always enjoyed plot twists in books and movies. And the reason the twists work is because we trust the author.
“But it’s not quite the same when the twist is in your personal life,” she said. “Except we know the Author! And we trust Him. We don’t know what the future holds, but the Author knows.” Pam challenged us to trust the Author, to pray, to watch and see what God will do. She reminded us of Romans 8:28:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
“Do you not know Tim and me? Do you not know we love God? And we love you, the church,” she said. She encouraged us to pray and watch what God will do through this.
Hope in Storms
I can’t help but include the whole passage that the above media comes from. It’s too precious to share only a part of this paragraph.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19, ESV
Along with others, I shed tears during the service. Sensing what Tim and Pam may face brought back both Don’s and my memories of our own losses. And yet … God was with us throughout! He never left me during Jerry’s illness and death. The Author, who knew the end of that story, sustained, held, guided me with His hand on me–before, during, and after. I remember often waking with a sense of His peace, knowing I was not alone. Oh, I hurt. Deeply. As did Don. But neither of us was alone.
And God knew, and knows, the rest of our story; He knows the rest of Pam and Tim’s.
I asked for permission to include what Tim wrote on the church blog this week. “Of course,” he responded.
Here’s what he wrote:
God Never Changes
Written by: Tim Wood
“I the Lord do not change. So, you the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Malachi 3:6
God does not change. Who he is never changes. His attributes are the same from before the beginning of time into eternity. God’s character never changes – he never gets “better” or “worse.” Also, His plans do not change. His promises do not change.
This ought to be a source of incredible joy for believers. Sam Storms writes this about the good news of God’s unchanging nature: “What all this means, very simply, is that God is dependable! Our trust in him is therefore a confident trust, for we know that he will not, indeed cannot, change. His purposes are unfailing, his promises unassailable. It is because the God who promised us eternal life is immutable that we may rest assured that nothing, not trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword shall separate us from the love of Christ. It is because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever that neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not even powers, height, depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35-39)!”
He is the only one worthy of complete trust. Some people tell us to follow our hearts, but our own feelings can fail us. Our feelings fluctuate and are corrupted by selfishness. God, however, is steadfast in His ways. God is the one constant in our lives. While everything else shifts, subject to change, God remains as He is. Always.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message).
What Storms Do you Face?
What storms are you facing? I pray Tim’s words encourage you that God, the Author and Creator of all things, including you and me, is trustworthy.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.