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God is Our Rock [7/2/18]

jayne-george_orig

Over the summer of 2018 our pastor’s blog will feature various members of the Grace Sacramento community and ministries we partner with as guest bloggers. This week our guest blogger is Jayne George.
 
Jayne George and her husband David founded Valley Springs Church in Roseville in 1989. Valley Springs helped plant Grace Sacramento 6 years ago. Jayne is now Assistant Director of Christ Church Kids at Christ Church East Bay. Jayne's passion is to help kids know and delight in the Bible so well that its principles become a solid foundation of truth to enable them to love God and serve the world with compassion and joy. Every week she writes an email to the Christ Church Kids Staff preparing them to teach and talk about the week’s event with kids. This is her email from June 26, 2018.

This past week we were faced with pictures and tapes of 2500 children taken from parents trying to cross the border and put into mass holding homes – also bringing to light the profit margin gained by private companies who run these homes. And yes, this was in America. 

We also heard of new atrocities in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Colombia with no simple solutions. 

Yesterday I spoke to a woman at church who was struggling to comfort her friend whose son was just killed in a plane crash.

Here is the question: how do we face the terrible heartbreaks in our world and still choose to love the world and persevere to make things better? And, how do we experience personal heartbreaks and ever smile again? 

By knowing this: God is our Rock.

God is the rock that we come to with our wounds and go forth with wonder. How does that happen? 

The two most important rocks in my life are about 200 feet apart in Oakland. The first is my husband’s headstone: a 450 lb rock of granite hand-hewn from a quarry in India now sitting in Mountain View Cemetery, marking the life of a wonderful, beloved man of God. From that spot I walk up a steep hill to a second rock where I can stand and see the stunning view of the East Bay spanning four bridges and beyond. 

During that trek I am faced again with the raw heartbreak of death. But I am always reminded that the story of sorrow is not the whole story of life. My soul is greatly comforted by knowing Jesus hates all evil and he completely understands how devastating it it to us. God uses that to then motivate me to go out into the world, hold out the hope of the Gospel and do whatever He calls me to do to help make things better.

In the book, Visions of Vocation, Steven Garber uses words from C.S. Lewis to describe this in a way I treasure: 

‘The Magician’s Nephew tells the tale of a boy named Digory who enters the world of Narnia on the day of its creation. Digory has mixed motivations, which is the way it is for all of us. On the one hand, it is for his friend Polly’s sake that he takes up the adventure that takes him to Narnia, sure that she is in distress and wanting to help. But on the other it is because of his mother’s sickness and his own great grief that he is willing to do anything for anyone that might make her better. 

Aslan, the lion who is king of the new world of Narnia, draws Digory into a conversation. In his heart, Digory begins to imagine that he can make a deal with Aslan: I will do this for him if he does this for me. But the closer he gets to the great lion, the more sure he is that no deals can be struck. It is then that he looks up at the lion and sees tears streaming down his tawny face. Lewis writes that Digory was then ‘sure that the lion cared more about my mother than I did myself.’ And knowing that to be true, he opened his heart to the calling that became his, as Aslan had work for him to do in addressing the heartaches of that very new world.’ 

Bottom line: our belief in Jesus something that enables us to look at sufferings squarely in the eye, understand them, and still roll up our sleeves and get to work? Does our faith help us to choose to step into the fray, serve in a way that cares for the needs of people, while holding out the hope of the Gospel? Does our understanding of God’s love, power, and mystery have enough substance that years of living in the world will require? 

It sure can, because God is our rock. We come to Him with our sorrows and leave strengthened with his hope and ready to work.

Dear Heavenly Father, our kids will undoubtedly come up against many difficulties in their lives. Things that could confuse them, scare them, make them want to retreat or ditch their faith all together. It is at these points where we ask you to remind them that you are their rock. May they come to you for comfort and renewal - to listen for your calling to help this world. In Jesus’ name we pray, ~ Amen.  

Notes
1. Organizations helping kids at the border: 
Border Angels https://www.borderangels.org/about-us/, raicestexas.org
RAISES https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1643a7711b517d03

2. Highly recommend Visions of Vocation by Steven Garber as good preparation for the fall.

‘We can begin to see that all of life, the complexity of our relationships and responsibilities – of family and friendships, of neighbors near and far, of work and citizenship, from the most personal to the most public – indeed everything is woven together into the calling that are ours, the callings that make us us.'

https://www.amazon.com/Visions-Vocation-Common-Grace-Good/dp/B011ACL5PK

3. The Magician’s Nephew is part of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I highly recommend this series for both kids and adults.  
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+magician%27s+nephew+adult&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=241639732015&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13803355137575145408&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032061&hvtargid=kwd-430846321567&ref=pd_sl_2oww92nnf7_b_p38

4. Passages of Scripture where we see Jesus’ understanding and compassion for our suffering: 
Story of Lazarus where Jesus was angered at the suffering caused by evil, ‘deeply moved in spirit’ and where he wept in great sadness for the sisters’ loss of their brother and the loss of his friend (John 11:4)

‘Blessed are you who weep now…’ (Luke 6:21): 

‘When the Lord saw her his heart went out to her and he said, ’Don’t cry.‘’ (Luke 7:13), 

’Jesus reached out his hand and touched the (leprous) man, ’I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ (Luke 5:13)