Good days in the midst of hard days

Our family has been fortunate. While many are struggling with the effects of COVID-19 either physically or financially, we have had little to deal with. None of us have contracted the virus. I am still receiving my salary from the church, and all my children and grandchildren are still employed (although two at a lower rate). We have seven children, five of whom are married, and eighteen grandchildren, one of whom is married and expecting our first great-grandchild. I will help you with the math. Counting spouses there are 33, soon to be 34 of us. We are all well and certainly well fed. God has blessed us greatly!

We have certainly had difficult days in the past – dealing with severe illnesses, financial hardships, loss, and grief. There is also the reality that we may face such things again. We are reminded of that in so many ways; even tomorrow my wife Christy needs to go in for a scan to check for recurrence of her cancer, but this is a good day!

We learned a lot in those hard days. We learned to call upon the Lord for basic needs and for life itself. We learned to make Him the priority of our life. We learned that His grace was sufficient for each day and that He would take care of us and provide all we needed. We learned to live life a day at a time and that when we faced things too big to handle He was there to carry the load we could not. I don’t want to repeat them, but the hard times were good for us and were times of growth.

The question on my mind this morning was; “how are we handling the good times?” In these days when there are those around us hurting in profound ways and we are not, how should we react, and what should our response be? I would suggest at least three biblical responses:

We should be thankful. James 1:17 reminds us that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” If I am experiencing blessing, it is only right and proper that I thank the giver of the gifts I enjoy. I am grateful for the Lord’s blessing.

We should be humble. Scripture and experience make it very clear that I am a sinner, and as such I deserve judgment and condemnation. I am a recipient of grace. I haven’t earned what I have received, it was given to me even though I don’t reserve it. I’m a beggar who found bread and that is humbling.

Thirdly, my response should be that of repentance – turning from sin and self and focusing on the one who has chosen to bless me even though I don’t deserve it. We read in Romans 2:4; ” Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” The realization of His goodness makes me all the more aware that He must be central in my thoughts and actions. I turn from other wants and desires to a new desire to serve Him and Him alone.

I don’t know whether this is a good day or a horrible dark day for you as you read these words. I pray God’s blessing and grace be evident to you. But I also recommend that whatever this day is like, you turn in a fresh, new way to the one who loved you and sent His Son to die for you and I!

In Christ,

Pastor Nord