The Weekly Epistle 6/26/24

Hi Church Family,
As someone jokingly put it, “You know it is going to be a bad day when you wake up in a hospital in traction, and your insurance agent tells you, ‘Your accident policy covers falling off the roof, but not hitting the ground.’” 

Troubles! Got any? Sometimes we bring trouble to ourselves. You’ve heard it said, “The trouble with trouble is it starts out a whole lot of fun.” But what about the troubles in your life that are not the result of your own choices? What is a big problem you are facing right now? 

I would direct your attention to Psalm 34. The Psalmist speaks of a time in his life in which he found himself in a very tight spot. He was in trouble. This is written after he witnessed firsthand the deliverance of God in the midst of a frightening situation. And he began with a call to praise the Lord. “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” At ALL times? Always! 

It is easy to praise the Lord when things are going well. When the baseball player hits a home run, he might point to the heavens in thanks to God. But I have never seen him do that when he strikes out. Or when the football player runs in for a touchdown, all glory to God. But how about when he drops a pass or fumbles the ball or loses the game? 

Joe Mazzulla, coach of the Celtics, in an interview spoke about three girls he met under the age of 21 with terminal cancer. Mazzulla spoke of their perspective on life in that they could go through such a trial with a positive attitude. He then said, “You always hear of people giving glory to God and thanks to God while holding a trophy, but you rarely hear of it, in times like this.” 

How can we praise God in the rough stretches of life? How can the Psalmist invite the worshippers to praise the Lord at all times? Verse 4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” The Psalmist goes on to speak of tasting the goodness of God and that God is his refuge. 

I encourage you to pause to read and ponder Psalm 34. The Psalmist is honest about the troubles in life. You never get the impression from reading Psalm 34 that we will be protected from the troubles, but that God is faithful to deliver us out of the troubles. He says in verse 19, “A righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” 

We are not promised a life of earthly ease. We are promised affliction. We are not to pretend that Christianity frees us from troubles in this world. But we do know that these troubles are not the end of the story. There is the promise of deliverance and redemption. There is the promise of God’s nearness through the difficulty. 

Again, I encourage you to slowly read through Psalm 34, so that you like the Psalmist can taste God’s goodness even in bad times. We gather weekly as a church to remind each other of what’s most real and precious- our God is indeed enormous beyond our capacity to comprehend. See you Sunday, if not sooner!     Blessings, Pastor Brian 

*I will be taking a break from this portion of the epistle. The epistle will continue each week with the announcements and prayer requests, but for now, nothing will be written in this section.