Strength to go on—in Christ

By Jessica Brodie

Somehow, life goes on. I find myself this week, as we prepare to go to press on the Advocate, shopping for Halloween costumes for our four kids and decorations for our church’s Trunk or Treat, wondering which side of the family to visit for Thanksgiving, scheduling doctor visits and oil changes and weekend chores and all the other trappings of my first-world life.

I’m ashamed to say I even found myself complaining about my lack of time and sleep.

Was it only three weeks ago that a devastating flood swept our state, claiming lives and property, changing our world forever? Many people are still homeless; many roads are still washed out. The skin heals, but the scars remain.

But the reality of any bad situation is that, somehow, some way, sometimes even before we realize it’s happening, life does indeed go on. Whether after loss of a loved one or a natural disaster, a job or relationship loss or a devastating financial blow, something in the human existence propels us forward—on to the Next Step, to hope and new realities.

Even after death and chaos and destruction.

Scripture reminds us of this over and over. In 2 Corinthians 5:1 we are told, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” In Colossians 3:1-4 we learn, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” In Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

And God does bring good from the sorrow. In the midst of it all, He is there. He was there in the many ways we all came together after the storm, as evidenced in the many photos throughout this edition: opening our homes, bringing water and food, assembling cleaning buckets and health kits, being His hands and feet in the world. And He continues to shine for us as we move into what Connectional Ministries Director the Rev. Kathy James and Conference Disaster Response Coordinator the Rev. Gregg Varner call “the recovery phase” of the disaster—pushing us toward rebuilding what was lost.

Life does go on, and as we continue our efforts to love our neighbors post-flood, it comforts me to remember that to God belongs everything, and we are His. Now and always.

“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. … He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light” (Job 12:13, 22).

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