From the Pastor's Desk
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
Wow, what a year! It was in March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic became real to me and to many of you. I remember when this thing first hit, I thought it will be over in a few months or at least by the end of the summer.
I also remember how afraid I was at first. Thoughts going through my mind about people whom I love and care for having to go through this thing. Wondering how will Hardinsburg UMC survive this thing if we can’t meet in person.
God is so amazing! As I look back over this year, I’ve become even more amazed by God’s grace, His power, and His majesty. I’m almost to the point of being speechless, and that’s not good for a preacher.
All the anxiety I had about this time last year has been replaced with the awe and wonder of God’s amazing presence in our midst. The scripture from James tells us what we are to do during times of hardship and trouble. But, what it tells us to do is not easy.
James 1:2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
Does it seem odd to say when trouble comes it is an opportunity for great joy? Casting Crowns came out with a song in 2005 called “Praise You in the Storm.” I listened to this song over and over again, for almost a year.
I was in the middle of the biggest storm of my life, but the one thing I learned to do during that time was to praise God during the storm. The lesson from 2005 has carried me through this year.
Do you know what happens when you do this? You stop focusing on the storm and start focusing on God. It makes me wonder, when the people of Israel were facing the Red Sea, did they praise God before they crossed over, in the middle, or after they were on the other side?
Honestly, right now I don’t know what will happen with the rest of 2021. No one but God knows when this pandemic is going to be over. But the one thing I do know is simply this, I’m going to keep on “Praising God in the middle of this storm.”
So, I invite you on this journey with me to lay down all those anxious thoughts and to keep on praising God in the midst of the storm. If you can do this, then your focus will automatically turn away from the storm and turn to God.