Hey SPV fam!
If I’m being honest, I’ve been feeling a little down lately...& if I’m being doubly honest I feel guilty about feeling down (which doesn’t help). I mean, personally, things certainly aren’t terrible. I have an amazing wife & family, I have my health, I know the Lord loves me & it’s obvious I haven’t missed a meal, so what gives? I know what you’re thinking, I’m far, far too young to have a mid-life crisis 😜but maybe I’m just an early starter. I also think that the weight of the world can get pretty heavy at times & we would all be wise to be both aware & prepared.
-We as a people have never been made so aware of the suffering that goes on around us than what we’re experiencing right now. The world by & large is overall experiencing less suffering than at any point in history but whatever suffering does take place is right there on our tv’s & timelines multiple times a day. I believe this is one of the main contributing factors to the epic rise in both suicide & mass shootings. People are feeling inundated, swallowed up, powerless, hopeless...
-Just yesterday Jarrid Wilson, a pastor in California, who by all optics had everything, beautiful wife & kids, successful church....committed suicide. And what’s even more shocking is that he was a mental health advocate & specifically for those considering self-harm. Read a story about that, think about the 4 year anniversary of my brother’s passing just a few days ago, pray for a few friends battling cancer, watch in real-time the devastation of the Bahamas & the suffering of our brothers & sisters there, re-live the horror of 9-11 & toss in a mass shooting, let alone the personal battles any of us are likely facing at any given moment such as a fracture in a close relationship, battling self-worth, financial woes, etc., all within just a few days mind you & it’s easy to see why things can get very heavy, very quickly for any of us.
-A friend reminded me of this so I want to remind you: no one who completes suicide is beyond mercy, quite to the contrary, God draws near to the poor & there is perhaps no greater poverty imaginable or harder to experience than the feeling that you must end your own life, or to take the actions that end your own life, except perhaps the loss of a child. So if you’re feeling or ever feel such despair, please know that the cross includes the absorption of the darkness that leads to this kind of pain. Be encouraged by the promise that God's love overcomes diseases of both the mind & spirit & that Jesus takes all of that pain & redeems it at the cross.
-God does not stand outside the experience of our pain & despair but rather in Jesus, God dies with all who suffer & die. The victims of such tragedies, whether it be a disease, terrorism, suicide or something else are held by Love.
-I try to regularly remind myself that death is the great enemy of God & while it is horrific in the moment, it ultimately has no future. It was & is & will be conquered by divine love (1 Cor 15). So I can rightly be angered by it & even hate it but I choose to place my hope in the cross & the power of the resurrection that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death” & his love & mercy will win out. So when you’re down, feeling overwhelmed, experiencing despair & even possibly considering harming yourself or someone else, I want to encourage you to do (at least) these 2 things: 1) reach out & talk to someone & 2) meditate on the hope & promise of this last paragraph.
Much love & peace to you all, Chris.
Hey SPV fam!
Some reading this today may find themselves on the proverbial Christian mountaintop while others of you might be more in the weary, tired, worn out, frustrated camp. So if you’re riding that mountaintop, stop reading & just pray for me (lol). But for those of you who are battling something or lowered your goals down to the basics of just trying to get through the day without punching someone in the throat, this word might be for you.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory & goodness. Through these he has given us his very great & precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
Now there’s a lot there but the 2 concepts that jump out at me are “provision” (given) & “promises”.
Provision: he’s given us everything we need to make it! I know it doesn’t always feel like it but it’s true. It’s not in your own strength but through HIS divine power in you (& through community) that we lack nothing.
Promises: well the first promise in this text is that we can faithfully live for & follow him. In addition to that, I can think of numerous other promises throughout scripture that will bring strength & encouragement to a tired & weary soul such as his promise of daily bread (which is provided by the way), to never leave or abandon us, the promise to see us through to the end (complete the work he started) & the biggest is the promise of the resurrection in that death shall never have the last word.
The world can be a pretty jacked up place but as best as you can, please keep your eyes on Jesus who is the author & finisher of our faith journey. Well what do you know, there’s another promise packed with provision.
Much love & provision, Pastor Chris