From the Pastor’s Desk- January 2019

“Trusting the One Who Holds the Future” 

With the passing of another year there is always some reminiscing about the past and a mix of fear and excitement about the future.  What will 2019 bring to me and my family?  Will there be
illness?  Who will the Lord call home?  Will I still have my job?  Will I be financially secure?  Will I still be living in Fergus Falls?  How well will my children / grandchildren fair?

Philippians 4:4-7 says “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The problem is we don’t always “feel” like rejoicing.  And there are times when it just seems easier to take things into our own hands than to turn our fears and concerns over to God.  After all, I “know” what I am doing and much of the time I don’t understand what God is
doing for me.

There is a story that illustrates this is quite well.  A young man was once flying a training plane over the Gulf of Mexico.  It was a beautiful day to fly.  There he was soaring among the clouds over the quite blue water when suddenly the engine began to miss.  He tried everything he knew to get the engine running properly again, but to no avail.  It stopped about 3,000 feet above the Gulf.

The shore was too much too far away for the plane to glide in, so he was forced to bail out.  He jumped, pulled the parachute ring, and slowly floated down to the water.

The water, however, was not nearly so smooth as it had looked higher up.  The gulf was rolling and swelling with waves.  The young man hit the water and quickly shed his parachute and heavy boots.  He then began swimming toward shore.  Unfortunately the shore was quite a long way off.  He never was a very good swimmer and it was terrible fighting those waves.  It seemed to him that he getting nowhere.  After a while he started to get tired.  The muscles in his legs started to cramp.  He began to get panicky.

After about an hour he felt like it was no use.  He would never make it to shore and it would be best to just sink quickly and get it over with.  “This is it,”  he thought desperately.  He sobbed as he
pictured his young wife and baby.  He stopped thrashing in the water and let his legs drop in what he thought would be his final moment.  But suddenly his feet touched something.  It was sand.  He was touching the bottom.  He found that he could stand up with his chin out of the water.  He was on a long sand bar that stretched out far from the shoreline.

All the time he had been struggling the ground was only a little way below him and he could have been standing up.  Now he only needed to wade to shore.

Later in the fourth chapter of Philippians, St. Paul writes “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  These inspired words from God bring me comfort as I deal with my feelings of weariness and fears over the future.  We only need to “stretch out our legs” and see that He has provided all that we need to get us safely through the new year.

~ Pastor Christensen