First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

In the darkness

July 16, 2016

    I love sunshine. I love sunrises and sunsets. I love fun times. I love good times. I love peace. I love happiness. In every statement just made, it would be easy for me to say, "God is 'soooo' good!" This would not be an incorrect statement. It would be an incomplete one though.

    I remember telling my mentor back in the late 90s how much I appreciated God's blessing through and during the good times. He raised his head, looked through incredibly thick glasses perched on his nose and said, "You know Randy, God is with you during the bad times too." (*insert jawdrop here) My theology was based upon the feelgood moments of life and how God works here but not in my pain and darkness. I needed an adjustment of divine perspective.

        "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being

        content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can

        do everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."

        (Philippians 4:12-14, NIV) 

Reverend Norman Marden was right then and his statement remains true today. It is so easy for us to praise God when things are going well and when the sun rises and sets with such breathtaking beauty. Human nature tends to think God has left the building when life goes south and everyday is another day of clouds and rain. It's difficult to reconcile bad things and believe that God is still at work and using our pain and frustration for our good and His glory.  The apostle Paul saw God in the sunshine but also came to realize God's nearness in the dark miry pits of life too. Take a look at Paul's theology:

        "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not

        abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so

        that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to

        death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us,

        but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith

        we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the

       dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence." (2 Corinthians 4:8-14, NIV)

Please understand these two scriptures written by Paul were probably done under duress and in the Philippians passage, Paul was believed to have been incarcerated. His theology included God at work on the sunny days but also on the 'face in the dirt' days too.

How about you, do you need to adjust your theology to include God at work in your darkness? He is there and he is working for your good.

        "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called

        according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) 

PS: While sunny days are nice, I know thousands of farmers would praise God in the storms right now!

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