File:Smooth Round Rocks Ocean (Unsplash).jpg

CREDIT: Zeny Rosalina on Unsplash

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When I get to the ocean, I spend my time looking for interesting rocks. The impact of the ocean’s constant churn produces beautiful objects. Unlike hammers or chisels, the constant rolling and tossing smooths out the rough edges to create beautiful keepsakes. But, if you’ve ever been caught up in these same waves, you know they can be quite dangerous – causing serious injury and even death.

This tossing and turning of the sharp, jagged rocks – forming them into smooth, polished 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 don’t happen because God delights in seeing us tossed and turned by the world. They happen because of Satan, who delights in throwing the world into chaos. However, when our faith is tested in trials, where do we turn? Do we turn to God – trusting Him above all else; or do we trust something Satan is using to try tearing us away from God? 

These trials can be dangerous and deadly if we place our trust in the wrong place. Trusting someone besides God might feel okay in the moment. However, ultimately this leads to crushing death. But, when we trust God, He provides the way through the trial we’re facing. In these times, our faith is strengthened – the hard, jagged edges of our sin-filled hearts are smoothed over by His mercy. 

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 faithfully endured His trial, we’re strengthened to face our trials. And, when we fall to Satan’s temptation, falling into sin – God picks us up, wipes us clean, forgives our sin, and restores us to His path to receive the crown of life He promises. Let’s remember and rejoice in that!

                                                                                        In Christ’s Love,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim