Usually at this time of the year folks take a look back. It was in the month of September in 2001 that our world began to change quite a bit. If you were alive then or if you have studied the event that occurred on September 11, 2001 then you will recall how devastated and discouraged our country became after attacks were made against our own land. We had heard the stories of how other countries had experienced the horrific acts of terrorism, but like me, many citizens of this country thought that it would never happen here. I watched as the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were first struck and the ultimately fell to the ground in a heap of flames. I witnessed the attack on the Pentagon and also watched the aftermath of Flight 93 after it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. On that day, many Americans and people all over the world came to their knees and began to pray. I can only imagine that on other occasions as our country has come under attack; people have fallen to their knees to seek the peace of God.
In our own lives, we can be faced with life changing events. The doctor shares with you that you or a family member has been diagnosed with a terminal disease; your family has been devastated by the death of a loved one; your spouse has come to you and said, “It’s over…”; your child has been convicted of a crime; you or your spouse has lost a job; you are facing an addiction that seems insurmountable; maybe you have fallen into a pit of despair and you just can’t crawl out. I can tell you that there is hope.
Hope comes when we take a good, hard look at our reality… and then we begin to realize how much we need someone who can point the way to a better life. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. It is realizing that there is something bigger and better than our circumstances in this life. We have to admit that the things that will bring us happiness often motivate us, but we also need to remember that “happiness” is something that is derived from external forces. It is often just a temporary “fix”. There is something that we can experience which goes deeper that just being happy. There is JOY. Joy is something that comes to us from the inside.
It is a certainty that although our situations may seem overwhelming, there is a peace that will carry us through those moments. God has sent to us His Son, Jesus Christ, who was willing to point the way to an Eternal Joy… and not only that, He was willing to wipe away the stains of our past mistakes. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ died and with that death, he took our sins. The beautiful part of this story is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, offering us another glimpse of Hope (take a look at John 3:16). When Jesus’ time on this earth was complete, He promised us a “Comforter” who would dwell in our our hearts and that came in the form of the Holy Spirit (Look at John 14:12-21) . Today, for those who trust and believe the truth of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit there is hope and joy and peace beyond any of our greatest expectations!
Just from my own life experiences, I can assure you that there is a peace that will surpass our understanding of any situation. That peace will come to us from One who understands the “Big Picture” of our lives. We have a Lord that promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Even when our lives are crashing down, our God offers us hope. The Apostle Paul once wrote… “… He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 -NIV). Our Creator knows that when life is hard and we’ve come to a breaking point, all that we need to do is surrender. In our submission, God is glorified. God’s glory is something that becomes a part of who we are and what we are living for and in doing so we have this great Hope of Eternal Joy that floods our minds, our hearts and our lives.
Folks in this country could have given up on September 11, 2001. But for many people that day was the day of turning around and letting the Lord take control. Today may be a day of Epiphany for you. Maybe there’s something that you need to let go of in order to experience the Joy of the Lord. I would encourage you to take the time to just pause and ponder where you are with God. Maybe it’s time to let the Lord have all of your life and not just bits and pieces here and there. There’s something wonderful ahead for you as you surrender and then experience His victory! God bless you, my friend.
I often say that The Greatest Days of God’s Work are Still Ahead at Pleasant Ridgeand I believe that statement! God is ready to use us, but we must be usable. I ask that you take time to establish a new and growing relationship with the Lord and with His church here at Pleasant Ridge. Don’t miss His blessings and His Love. We would love to have you visit with us and we welcome you home as we Love God, Grow Together and Make a Difference!