Life, family, business

Excerpt from sermon from 7-29-20

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A while back I read a story of a visiting pastor who attended a men’s breakfast in the middle of a rural farming area of the country.
The group had asked an older farmer, decked out in bib overalls, to say grace for the morning breakfast.
“Lord, I hate buttermilk”, the farmer began. The visiting pastor opened one eye to glance at the farmer and wonder where this was going. The farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the pastor was
growing concerned. Without missing a beat, the farmer continued, “And Lord, you know I
don’t much care for raw white flour”. The pastor once again opened an
eye to glance around the room and saw that he wasn’t the only one to
feel uncomfortable.
Then the farmer added, “But Lord, when you mix them all together and
bake them, I do love warm fresh biscuits. So Lord, when things come up that we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we don’t understand what you’re saying to us, help us to just relax and wait until you are done mixing. It will probably be even better than biscuits.  Amen.”
There is great wisdom in that prayer.  We all seem to go through things that we don’t care for.  Its just part of life.  But it does seem like the things we learn from our trials are the things that make us stronger, or wiser.  There is much to be said about resiliency; the capability to be able to recover quickly from difficulties.  We’re tough up here in the Upper Midwest.  But our ancestors were so tough!  Seriously, no air conditioning, no cell phones,  no wi-fi, no refrigerator, and no Keurig coffee maker.  How did they do it?  The Native Americans who lived here didn’t even have the train to bring them supplies.  They existed completely on their own intelligence and perseverance.  They were amazingly resilient!
As a child, my mother would read us the “Little House on the Prairie” book series.  I loved listening to those stories, and watching it on television.  I loved listening to my grandparents tell me stories about how life was when they were children, and it made me thankful for indoor plumbing.  I would go to our neighbor’s house to grandma-sit, and got to hear Martha’s stories too, and they were fascinating.  Her father was a veterinarian, and the James brothers would come pick him up to attend to their horses.  She even had a picture of her dad with Jesse and Frank.   I’m not sure why, but I’ve always enjoyed hearing or reading stories about the past.  I can listen to the stories, and feel quite grateful for all the conveniences we have in our modern lives.
We are very resilient.  We are rooted in resiliency because that’s how we grew up.  We were raised to be tough.  How many times have you heard, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  Or, God will never give you more than you can handle.  How many of us have sat quietly in times of despair and read Psalm 23?  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  Having been raised in the church, in the Bible, and in families where God was the most important thing, we know we can rely on God.  We have that strength rooted deep inside our hearts and our minds.  We can thank our ancestors for the determination we have, and the faith in God that we have as well.  Regardless of which country your great grandparents came from, they were probably devout Christians who trusted fully in God’s provisions.  They trusted that He would give them what they needed to survive the storms of life, even when venturing into a wilderness of unsettled prairie.  Even when the temperatures were brutal and could kill anyone who made one wrong decision.  Even when the train couldn’t get through, and Pa had to butcher his ox for his family before they all starved to death.
We come from a long line of people who had total faith in God.  In Ephesians 3, Paul tells us that since we are rooted and established in love, we need to have the power to  see how huge the love of Christ is, that he hopes we are able to see that this love surpasses everything else.  There is nothing you have, or know, or do, that is better than the love that God has for us.  there is no material wealth in the world worth more than Jesus.  There is no knowledge in the world higher than God’s.  We think we know all there is to know, but God’s love surpasses any knowledge we have.
And we should be so grateful for this!  We all mess up.  We all believe things that turn out to be lies.  We have all been wrong at times.  But God shows us that His mercy and love are here forever.  His power goes beyond anything we can imagine.  He can take the hardest experiences and turn them into a blessing for each one of us.  God can do all things.  We just need to stop worrying and trust that He always knows the way.


Author: jeanneahlers

I am a happily married mother of two awesome kids, an organic gardener, and small business owner.

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