2002 Monthly Letter
Partner In Ministry,
are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but
not driven to despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8
the UpBuilding Weekends, I usually preach one of three sermons
that I have seen our Lord effectively use over the years.
time He refreshingly turns old water into new wine
for each new congregation of hearers.
I was leaving First Presbyterian Church in Santa Paula, a
petite woman named, Sue, gave me this letter, prefaced by
her comment: Your sermon on Staying Up In Down Times
was just for me!
the last 18 months I have lost so much: loss of my husband
to death; loss of my only surviving sibling to death; loss
of both of my breasts to cancer; loss of most of the vision
in one eye to muscular degeneration; loss of all my writing
when my computer hard drive died.
had chemotherapy and radiation. They caused weight loss, lethargy,
and painful burns.
celebrated Easter less than a week after my husband died and
our wedding anniversary a month after his death. Together
with a few friends, his birthday was celebrated without his
physical presence. The same was true for Thanksgiving and
can I truly celebrate when my whole world has
crashed around me?
preaching about Pauls trials reassured me of Gods
presence right in the middle of all these circumstances and
gave me renewed comfort, encouragement, and HOPE!
I have mourned and grieved; I have cried tears of sorrow,
anger, and frustration. I have hurt physically and emotionally,
but never spiritually.
10 and 11 (from 2 Corinthians 1:8-11) reminded me of what
I have gained over these last 18 months. I have gained the
faithful prayer support of the members of my church AND a
depth of faith in God that I never would have had if my life
had remained as it was. Do I think the gains outweigh the
would have chosen a different path than the one He chose for
me. But through it all, His faithfulness has given me the
courage to face life with joy in the midst of sorrow; peace
in the midst of chaos, and HOPE in the midst of confusion.
And so, the answer to my question is Yes, I know the
gains outweigh the losses. Thank you, Reverend Rand!
you, faithful partners, for helping me to upbuild those
who are downtrodden!