Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
I admit it. I have had a pretty difficult couple of months: often too much work, and too little time; my uncle’s death, and the death of my wife’s grandfather; as well as the ordinary challenges and frustrations of everyday existence. I have found myself deeply challenged. During such periods (periods that happen to every human at some time or other), it is easy to feel burned out and empty. I find myself singing with the Psalmist, “Like a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)
Yet at such times, I have learned to strive to find God in the “little things” all around me. Such sightings bring joy to my heart and help sustain me: our family and friends as they came together during loss; the expectant joy of youthful friends as they began their college adventures; as well as the many moments of beauty and times of silence found in our Virginia fall. These are only a few signs of God’s love at work in my life.
Still, sometimes God is hard to see when life gets hard, no matter how hard we try. Sometimes the little things just don’t seem enough when our souls are so tired. Yet through the difficulties of my past, God has given me wisdom. I have discovered trusting my senses is never enough. I find ultimate strength and renewal outside of myself and the powers of our world. Time and again in scripture, we hear that despite our sin, God loves us. Despite our doubts, God loves us. Despite our struggles, God loves us. Through faith, new life is always within reach, for God is always at work for our welfare and reaching out to us. Trusting in Christ and his promises is all that is ultimately required of us. Our periods of difficulty might pass only to come again. That’s life in a fallen world. Yet on our journey, step by step and one day at a time, Jesus will never pass us by or leave us on our own. In our heart of hearts where Christ is everything, and within our loving, supportive relationships with one another as church, we will surely find the oasis we need to make it through all our days and into eternity. We will find reasons to praise our God without end.
The above pastoral letter was originally published in Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s newsletter, The Messenger (October 2011 edition). To view the entire issue of The Messenger or to see the full calendar of events, visit: http://www.mlcas.org
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2011 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.