It’s been longer than I intended since I’ve added something to this page.  We’ve had our share of trials around here lately.  First came the Great Ice Storm of 2007.  The power went out on Saturday about noon, and some of our neighbors were without electricity for a week.  In the meantime, our kitchen is being remodeled, and the dust and debris from demolition is everywhere!  It’s a century-old house, which means that every stage of the process, something new was discovered that needs to be fixed.  A simple, two or three day job has turned into weeks.  It’s become necessary at times to leave the house just in order to breathe.  We’ve had to set up a temporary kitchen in the basement, which makes meal time and snack time unhandy, at least.  It will be very nice when they finally get it finished, though.  I appreciate that the people of the church are caring enough to want to provide a nice, modern, comfortable place for us to live.  Lots of pastors don’t enjoy that kind of consideration and appreciation. 

There’s another thing that’s been taking a lot of my attention, and that’s being with the family of a dying saint.  I have tried to comfort and encourage several families in my ministry experience, and it never gets easier.  When you love someone, it’s difficult to see them lie in a hospital bed and slip away into eternity.  The good thing is that we know the eternal destiny of this dear lady.  He faith was evident to everyone who has known her.  In the midst of the pain of loss, we who know the Lord Jesus take comfort in the promises He has given us.  Still, it consumes a lot of energy, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As I contemplate these “momentary, light afflictions,” it occurs to me that God must be up to something big, because the enemy is doing some hard work at discouraging us.  I am reminded that life is out of my control, even though I have the tendency to plow ahead in own strength, which fails so easily that it scares me.  When God works to perform His wonders among people, He often has to grab our attention, so that we will recieve and obey His leading.  I believe this late series of trials are a time of training and preparation for the mighty acts of God.  In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul reminds us,

 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  2 Cor 4:7-11 (NASB)

Dear friends, let us persevere, knowing that God has a greater purpose for all our problems, from the small inconveniences to the huge losses.  I am convinced that the finished results will be beyond our wildest imaginations, if we just allow Him to do the work of righteousness in our lives.  One of my favorite writers is John Piper, who constantly emphasizes the glory of God.  I think he’s right.  When God forms and re-forms our lives through pain, it is for His glory.  When we submit to that process and grow in grace according to His design, it brings glory to God in every way.  So, hold on to your seat.  It’s going to be an exciting ride!!