God’s Good Promises

 

We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.’

Richard Rohr, “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life”

By nature, and by nurture, I am a numbers person. Always have been…always will.  I like black and white. I love a good five-year plan. I long for the verifiable, the tangible, the concrete.  My vocational path – first, as an auditor, then as a government and non-profit financial executive, and now as a CFO at a church – only exacerbates my desire to have it (whatever “it” is) all figured out.

Which is why I need a north star like Richard Rohr in my life.

In this strange era of COVID-19, where uncertainty ripples through every single aspect of our lives, it is so natural for me (and I suspect, for many of you) to let my mind run wild with all the potential outcomes and ramifications.  Will my family and friends be affected? How will our church navigate these times? What does this mean for my job? The questions, paired with the lack of no true answers, can exhaust me.

These are the moments where I have to let go and fling myself into the arms of a Loving Father Whose spirit is always working to bring good out of bad (Romans 8:28). In Genesis 1 (the Bible’s first chapter) God creates order out of chaos, and in Revelation 21 (the Bible’s final chapter), the promise to God’s people is unmistakable: ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes…’  For a ‘show me the proof’ person like me, these promises give me a solid foundation as I make the choice (in the words of one of my favorite hymns), to ‘lean on the everlasting arms’ of a God Who wants nothing more than to be present with His people – and Who in turn, wants His people to be present to and for a world in great need.

THAT is where Rohr’s words speak to me the loudest and the best. I can’t think my way out of uncertainty and stress, but I can begin each day with reciting the promises of God and then rehearsing His goodness by taking my eyes off of me and my problems and concerns and (in the words of Revelation 21) ‘dwelling’ – being present – with and for ‘my’ people, ‘my tribe’: calling, texting, emailing and face-timing friends and family and being a connector of people with people and people with God.  It is then, in the wisdom of Rohr, that I am ‘living myself into new ways of thinking.’

You, too, can live into new ways of thinking in the days and weeks ahead. There are plenty of avenues for connection.  Check in frequently with family and friends. Have that conversation you’ve been needing and wanting to have. Help continue vital ministries by online giving. Check out NRUMC’s website for connection through virtual worship and Bible study.  In so doing, you can move past the stress of uncertainty and into the faith-filled living that Jesus desires for all who follow Him.

May Peace and God’s Good Promises Be with You,

Patty Gravinese
Lay Leader

 

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