This month our sermon series has been on suffering. The pastor’s parents both died in a plane crash. Another family’s 13-year old daughter was killed in an ATV accident last year. Another family’s collegiate son took his life. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Turkey are being persecuted for faith. Suffering is inevitable.
Tonight I talked with my mom about aging and dying and how we all experience one and some experience both, and none of us are guaranteed another day. We talked about family resemblance and how mom’s mother’s life ended with a stroke at 80, and her mother’s with a stroke at 60. My mom is 61. She and my dad will drive to another state tomorrow. We ended the call with love because none of us is guaranteed another day.
Last weekend marked the final farewell to friends to the mission field. A last evening was spent as true family, chatting, caring, crying. Praying. Discussing theology of suffering and hearing firsthand from one brave widow of an attack on the mission field. We clung tight and reminded one another of eternal safety. And that God is always, always, always good.
Yesterday, nine people were shot to death at church.
Today floods are sweeping away homes and crops and livelihoods and lives across the Midwest.
And yet I will not fear. I will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. I will not fear because God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Such perfect love is the only thing that can cast out fear.