2017-10-19 / Milestones

There is no fast forwarding of life

PASTOR’S CORNER
By Allison Byerley


Allison Byerley Allison Byerley Editor’s note: All local church organizations are invited to contribute to this weekly column about faith. Send submissions to greg@mariposagazette.com.

Waiting for anything is difficult and we often wish we could hurry things up.

Author Sue Monk Kidd describes her daughter starting her math homework one day. She found her holding the DVR remote in one hand and the calculus book in the other. Her daughter looked up at her with a wistful smile and asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just point this remote at the book, hit fast forward, and my homework would be done?”

Many of us would like to have a remote to fast forward through the hard parts of life. Fast forward through the chemo treatments. Fast forward through the pain of a divorce. Fast forward through the grief when someone we love dies.

But there is no fast forward through them. We live each moment one at a time, no faster and no slower. Experience tells us that they won’t last forever, and we will emerge on the other side. Life will be different because of the struggle, but we will emerge. If only we could speed up the time of getting through.

God doesn’t promise that there will be no struggle or pain for those who put their trust in his grace. The Bible is full of faithful people who struggled. Picture Mary at the foot of the cross watching her son die. But God does promise to be by our side through these times and beyond. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is from Isaiah 43:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you.”

If it was up to us, we would fast forward through the floods and fires of life. But that isn’t the way it works. In fact, it is in those hard times that we often discover the presence and power of God in our lives. There may even come a time when we can use our experience to help someone else.

Paul writes in Romans, “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Where would you like to hit fast forward in your life right now? I invite you instead to stop and remember that God has called you by name and is with you. Have hope in the love God has poured into your heart.

Allison Byerley is pastor of the Mariposa United Methodist Church and can be reached at adbyerley@gmail.com.

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