August 2022 Newsletter
As I sit and write this morning, the one thing on my mind, and that has been on my mind for a while now is the heat and the want for rain. We were certainly blessed with some rain recently, but how much for how long and at what point is it simply more being needed soon enough again. We are definitely in the thick of the hot part of summer. I have started sweating again during church – gross I know – but it serves as a change in the season and a visceral reminder of summer finally being in full swing. Change in seasons is good and something to indeed thank God for even when we may not always enjoy it as much as other seasons or changes, but then again I know that some of you enjoy the heat while others do not. It really is a beautiful tapestry even in a small sense of the joy that comes from the unique differences amongst us. The other thing though that provides uniqueness is our own personal experiences. The heat reminds me of the heat we had in St. Louis in seminary, thinking about how foreign the high heat of August in St. Louis was so unbearable to me, while the comfortable 60s of spring were still cold to those whom I worked with. And yet we know the seasons are ordered. Much of life is ordered by a good and faithful God who has designed things to work together according to His purpose.
There’s no escaping what’s planned for us. The other thing I think about in relation to the heat is the relief and the rain that everybody has been wanting all summer, a little here, a little there, but never enough. And wouldn’t you know that when we finally get a forecast for rain, it sets to come when we have things in life planned. And so the need for change or adaptation is ever present. Change doesn’t have to be bad, sometimes it’s inevitable, sometimes it’s natural, but the greater question and hope and prayer that it will flow according to God’s plan and purpose.
As I said before, there’s no escaping what’s planned for us. Whether it’s weather or life in general there’s that saying, “When we make plans, God just sits back and laughs.” Sometimes in life our plans match up with God’s. When that happens, life feels normal, calm, steady; everything just falls into place. But life isn’t always like that; plans don’t always go that way. And more often the things we notice, the things that set us off, are the plans that don’t go our way, like a rained out weekend.
Some people call the changes and cataclysms of life fate, but God’s people know that the idea of fate is just an excuse for people’s lack of reliance on God, or their uncertainty that He is ultimately in control. Listen to God’s words in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God wants the best for His people, even when that best means difficulty for us.
Take any tragedy, suffering, unexpected/unwelcome whatever, plans to prosper and not harm? Plans for hope and a future? Fate gives no hope or comfort in the midst of tragedy, fate does not heal wounds. How do these words inspire hope in us as God’s people? We understand that we are not God and that we do not always understand why he allows things to happen to us, but the knowledge that we have a good and gracious God means that even when we are afflicted by sin, even when it cuts us deeply, God is still working through that situation to bring good to us, to bring us a better and brighter future. He has already worked goodness in our lives in the sending of His Son, and He continues to work in our daily lives in the midst of plans changed, and even lives altered to give us hope and a future, to prosper us, and remind us that we are always held in His loving embrace.
God’s blessings on your month.