On behalf of everyone going through so many personal crises here at First Covenant in the past week or so, we’d like to thank everyone for their conscientious prayers and support. It can be so hard for people who are dealing with major life issues, massive health problems, chronic depression, the deaths of loved ones, etc., to get through, and it makes all the difference in the world to have a solid base of church family as a support, when the rest of your world suddenly seems to be crumbling out from under you.
So this week, we focused on walking our Youth Group through talking about depression, suicide, self-harm, and the like -- encouraging the teens that the church should always be a safe place to talk about anything that any of us are going through. Somewhere along the line, churches seem to have become the last place that anyone would share their heart and bare their struggles with one another. I don’t know if that’s because we think that people will judge us, or because we don’t want to show weakness to one another, or because we simply don’t think that anyone else would care about what was going on with our lives. But at some point, a lot of us decided just to show our “best face” to one another, and to keep our pain and struggles to ourselves.
But if God is always the best answer to our struggles in life, and if one of the best ways that God ministers to us is through the hands, feet, and mouths of those brothers and sisters that He’s brought into our lives, then we need to be opening our hearts to one another more and more -- opening our hearts to listen and to care, so that we can open our hearts to be honest and to share. It’s messier than just sitting next to one another in a pew and singing an old hymn, but it has the benefit of being what God intended all along.
In our message this week, we returned to our “Voices in the Wilderness” series and looked at the beginning of the ministry of Elisha. Now, if you’re like most people, you either don’t know much about Elisha, or else you confuse most of his stories with Elijah’s stories. But that’s totally natural, since Elisha wasn’t anywhere near as flashy a prophet as Elijah was.
2 Kings goes to great lengths to show that Elisha performed many of the same miracles that his predecessor had done, and that God’s Spirit moved through him in mighty ways. But people still lacked much faith in him -- maybe because he was a quiet, unassuming bald guy instead of a wild, extroverted hairy nut like Elijah. He was questioned by his fellow prophets, mistrusted by a local widow, accosted by young toughs from Bethel, etc... but through all of that, he remembered that God doesn’t just bless the prayers of the flashy or the extroverted -- He blesses the prayers of the faithful.
So today, I don’t know what you yourself are going through -- maybe life is great, maybe it’s hard, or maybe it seems insurmountably hard -- but I do know that the God who loves you will always love you, and will always walk through it with you. So talk with Him, and make sure to listen. Talk with His family in your church, and make sure to listen.
Be open, be honest, and be faithful...