Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

Ask them, just ask one of the elders of our community about a dark time in their lives. Their stories of survival will inspire wonder. The human condition is one of beautiful brokenness. No one escapes, no one is unscathed in life, but we are promised that no season of darkness will last forever. I was sitting in a restaurant on a day off from work, dressed casually in one of my Trinity Lutheran Church tee shirts, my breakfast was placed in front of me, my mouth began to water. Sitting at the next table, a woman in her early 40’s asked me what I had ordered. She then commented on my shirt. “My daughter’s name is Trinity. I could not help but notice her name on your shirt.” Pointing to a tattoo on her left arm she said, “This is my daughter Trinity, she died a year ago, but she is always with me.” Her grief was apparent, but there we no tears. Her tears had given way now to a tender smile as she touched her arm and spoke of Trinity. The grief will forever be with her, but the seasons had changed, as they always do.

Ask them, just ask a friend, neighbor, or stranger about a dark time in their lives and be prepared for stories that will inspire your journey. Winston Churchill carried the weight of the free world on his shoulders. In the early years of World War 2 he seemed to stand alone against a seemingly unbeatable foe. London was devasted by the unrelenting bombing raids that marked the Battle of Britain. Churchill faced impossible odds, but he refused to give up hope. He encouraged the citizens of the United Kingdom to remain vigilant, he stayed by their side, he persisted when others would have fled, he cajoled and badgered the United States to join the war effort. On June 18th, 1940, Churchill addressed the House of Commons on the heels of the disaster at Dunkirk saying, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: This was their finest hour.”

Ask them, just ask a friend, neighbor, or stranger about a dark time in their lives. Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, just keep on going.” The message was clear, the current circumstances of life will not last forever, the seasons will change, the darkness of night will give way to the dawn of a new day if we can hold on. “Hold on, hold on, keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.” Martin Luther King, Jr. understood that the battle for Civil Rights would never be lost, unless the people who longed for justice lost hope. Maintaining hope in uncertain seasons is the key to the survival of a moment, or the survival of an individual. Like Churchill before him, King would inspire hope in a future that seemed veiled, invisible, or even impossible. King did not negate the difficulty of the struggle, but he encouraged action saying, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

At any given time, there are many in our congregation, in our families, in our community who are deeply distressed, depressed, lonely, afraid, nearly out of hope, wondering if they can face even another day. If you are languishing in a season of darkness, if you are finding hope hard to come by, I would encourage you to ask others for help or at least for perspective. Ask them, just ask a friend, neighbor, or stranger about the dark seasons of their lives. The human story, indeed all our stories, are more alike than one might think. Our shared human story is one of beautiful brokenness. What will those dark tales have in common? They were mere seasons, one among many, the cold winter nights will give way to warmer and longer days. What do they have in common? The darkness was fleeting. The war came to an end, Europe would be reborn, a mother could run her fingers over Trinity’s tattoo with a slight smile on her face, mourning will step aside that the dancing may begin. “Hold on, hold on, keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.”

President Franklin Roosevelt, disabled and sometimes discouraged by the Great Depression and the Great World War, inspired our nation saying, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He also said, “If you come to the end of your rope, make a knot and hold on.”

Hold on my friends. I am one beggar, telling another beggar where to find bread. I am your

Pastor Jim

Contact Pastor Jim if you have questions at [email protected]