Hurrah! God loves us!

Mar 21, 2016 by

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Five years ago, I preached on the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4, and how we sometimes treat life as a test for God. So, if my husband is healed of cancer, then hurrah! — God passes the test, and I know God cares for me. Or if everything goes well at work, then hurrah! — God passes that test, and I know God loves me.

At the time, I offered those two scenarios as general examples, and when I filed away my sermon notes, I filed away those examples too. But as I looked through my old sermon notes this weekend, I realized with a start that both cancer and work-related issues have become part of my life in ways that I never expected at that time.

Since that sermon, my husband has been diagnosed with cancer, underwent successful surgery, and was then told he needed no further treatment. Just as in my sermon, we can say, Hurrah! God cares for us! Since then, my husband has also been told his employment will be ending for financial reasons at the end of April. Hurr … uh, wait a minute … hello, God? This is actually the opposite of everything going well at work. If this were a test, you’re not exactly acing this one.

Yet even in our present circumstances, I remain convinced that God loves us. As God met Elijah in the wilderness at his lowest point (1 Kings 19:1-18), we take comfort in God’s presence in our low points, too. God sent angels to minister to Jesus when he was tested in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11), and we are grateful for every affirmation and word of thanks that minister to us during this time, too. My hurrah might not be quite as rah rah as usual, but hurrah, God loves us still. That’s the only test that really counts.

As part of our Lenten series at church, I’ve been reflecting on the question,”How do you acknowledge God as the author of your story?” In God’s story of my life, I know that what we’re going through now is just a chapter, or maybe even a footnote. There is more good to come. Our story is still being written, and God is still the author of our story.

April Yamasaki is lead pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C., and the author of Sacred Pauses (Herald Press, 2013). She blogs at aprilyamasaki.com, where this post originally appeared.


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