My kids and I spent every day last week at home. All three of them got sick, so we stayed in and kept our germs to ourselves. After caring for them constantly, I was thankful for a Saturday night out with my husband and the members of the City Pres Leadership Team. My eyes had been solely focused on illness, financial stress, clutter around my home, relationship problems, and feelings of failure.
On Saturday night, and again on Sunday evening as we all gathered for worship, God opened my eyes to a pretty simple truth: my life has its’ struggles, but so do the lives of every person around me. As I am getting to know more and more of you in the church, I am learning your stories. I am hearing about how God is working in your life. I am hearing about some of the trials He has brought or is bringing you through. And that is a blessing to me.
I have learned in the past two years that sometimes God uses the most painful and difficult things in our lives to teach us the sweetest, most profound lessons. Jesus is closest to us, more real to us, in our pain. He is the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
One of my favorite hymns we sing is “In Feast or Fallow.” Last night, with these lessons fresh in my mind, we sang these words:
“In the harvest feast or the fallow ground, My certain hope is in Jesus found.
My lot, my cup, my portion sure. Whatever comes, we shall endure. Whatever comes, we shall endure.”
That last line cannot be true if our certain hope is not found in Jesus. We cannot pull ourselves up by our boot straps. We cannot be good enough, work hard enough, do enough. We don’t have to. Jesus did. And Jesus is enough. He’s enough for all of us, in the midst of our stories in progress. Our messy, beautiful, complicated, unique stories.
“In the harvest feast or the fallow ground…”