Photo by Quentin Lagache on Unsplash 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last Fall, my wife and I went to Maine – one of our favorite places in the world. One of our favorite activities is walking on the rocky beaches, soaking in the sea air, hearing the crashing waves as they crash down on the rocks. The tumult those waves create is a sight to hear and see. It also has a profound effect on the rocks. Every rock has been tossed and turned by the ocean. And over time, the many rough edges get worn down by the intense testing revealing smooth, polished, beautiful stones.

This tossing and turning of the sharp, jagged rocks … forming them into smooth, polished, beautiful stones reminds me of God’s word, “Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life, which God has promised those who love Him.” (James 1:12) These trials, or tests, don’t happen because God delights in seeing us tossing and turning in the world. They happen because of sin, which we have brought upon ourselves. However, in these times of trial, our faith is tested. Where do we turn? Do we turn to God – trusting Him above all else; or do we trust another whom Satan is using to try to tear us away from God? When we trust God, He provides the way through (not necessarily out of) the trial we’re facing. In these times, our faith is strengthened a little bit more … the hard, jagged edges of our sin-filled hearts are smoothed a touch. 

During our Lenten journey, we remember that whenever we’re tested – or tempted – God our Father is with us. Just as He was with Jesus when He endured betrayal, suffering, and death on the cross. Because Jesus made it through that trial, we’re strengthened to face the difficulties we face. And, when we succumb to Satan’s temptation, falling into sin – God picks us up, wipes us clean, forgives our sin, and sets us back on course to His eternal kingdom.

                                                                                        In Christ’s Love,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim