Together - Devotions for the Wisconsin Annual Conference
On the day I cried out, you answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength . . . Whenever I am in deep trouble, you make me live again. (Psalm 138:3, 7)
God is with us. God is sending others to walk through this life with us. Are you willing to see those who are willing to hold your hand and walk with you? Are you willing to see in those hands, the very hands of God caring for you, supporting you, encouraging you?
A number of years ago, I read a delightful book called, “Now That I Have Cancer, I am Whole,” written by John Robert McFarland. In that book he tells of a time when he came home one evening when his daughters were teenagers. To his surprise he found them rocking back and forth on the living room sofa, arms locked around each other, weeping as if their hearts were truly broken. He says:
“Gently I tried to get my arms around them and whispered, ‘What’s wrong? Why are you crying?’”
Katie looked over at him, over Mary Beth’s shoulder, with streaming eyes, and choked out, ‘I don’t know. She hasn’t told me yet.’”
I love that story, because it highlights for me how we don’t have to know why another is crying or despairing to choose to walk beside them.
Obstacles and hurt come our way. That is one thing that this year has taught us. Just being alive means that we have to regularly face the challenges of life. When we walk through difficulties pursuing our life dream or facing the death of a child or loved one, may our faith remind us that whatever challenges we may be facing, God is with us. God is giving us each other to help each other. And God will go before us.
May we learn to open our eyes to see God around us. May we learn to live with hope, courage and trust in this one who has us created us and gently holds us.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for calling us. Thank you for claiming us. Thank you for walking with us and going before us in this very challenging life. It is such a gift to know that we are not alone. It is a gift to partner with those from the Church who are also walking this journey with us. When challenges overwhelm us, guide us into your healing presence. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.