Where is God in all of this?
Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
This has been such a comforting verse to me. When things begin to close up around me or in my life, when I feel all undone or even alone (yes, even preachers and Pastors feel alone at times), when I just don't understand, my mind travels to Jeremiah 29:11. Not only is it a comforting verse to read, but it is a promise, an absolute. And if there was ever a time when I, we, needed a promise or comfort it is these days. If COVID-19 wasn't enough, we have people out of work, business closing, weather issues creating more problems. So how do we pay for the damages when we can't even file for our unemployment?
Then we have civil unrest running rampant throughout our country. I know recently we just had a protest here in Prineville, which I had to scratch my head and wonder why. Our local law enforcement I personally believe are men and women of integrity. My head is not buried in the sand, but I don't know of an incident of police brutality here in Prineville, Small Town America. Oh, I know, if you are the one being stopped or pulled over and receive a ticket , if you are the one caught shop-lifting and the bracelets are put on you, oh how unfair it must be! But last time I was stopped, yes me, the officer simply asked me why I rolled through the stop sign instead of coming to a complete stop. Then, instead of a ticket, he asked — asked me — to please come to a complete stop from here on out. I was in the wrong, not the officer. I know of so many others who have received the same treatment. Honor, respect and courtesy. I'm not sure at all why because in some other town across America people feel they must damage someone else's property, break glass, loot pillage and plunder, set fire to a building a business or vehicle. That confuses me! But Jesus said in John 16:33b, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Well, we are certainly seeing and experiencing tribulation. When people, neighbors, friends take a political stance and yell and scream such nasty vile words and insults even threatening death, it boggles my mind. Especially when some of those same people who just days or weeks before came to your aide, helping you to extinguish a house fire, round up your horses who have escaped, formed a search party to find your child who has wondered away — wow, talk about short-term memory loss.
Maybe we should take a step back and catch our breath, maybe we should remember who our neighbors and friends are. Maybe before you hurl that insult at law enforcement, you should remember when they were there to help you. Also, let us not forget that they too have families, they too have children who become lost and yes, they too have children who sometimes break the law. They too have family members that die way to early and they hurt and even cry real tears. Yet, the next day they get up put on the uniform and go out to serve, honor and protect.
Jesus was so spot on when He said we would have tribulation, and that we do. But He also said, " be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
We have an advocate with the Father. We can receive what Jesus was speaking about. We can rise above our emotions, our fears, our lack of understanding and be better people. Small Town America is not an insult to me. No, it is a compliment. Prineville Oregon, I am proud to say is my home. I was not born here, nor did I grow up here, but it is here that I raised my children and I call it home. I call you my neighbor. I will overcome, be more than an overcomer, more than a conqueror. I will be a man of integrity. Will you be that man or woman who can say I did my best today? Where is God in all of this? Well, He is here if you call on Him. There is a scripture in Mark 9:23 where Jesus said all things are possible to him who believe, then in verse 24, the man to whom he was speaking said these words, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."
Ron Hemphill is the pastor at New Life Bible Chapel. He can be reached at 541-447-6543.
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