The Pastors’ Pen – 31.3.22

Welcome to The Pastors’ Pen, an update for life at Southern Cross.

What a perplexing time.

Just as our city tried to get up from the horrible natural disaster on the 28th of Feb 2022, we find our city battered down again. Speaking with Tim Dyer and his associate Luke Morgan on Tuesday this week, I stated “We don’t want the levee compromised again. It would simply break our city’s heart”. Yesterday we received a message from Tim and Luke. They heard, and saw, in the media that the levee had been breached again. They knew our hearts were broken.

What do you do?

How do you respond?

Personally, I still don’t know…

What does the Mayor do?

What do the military do?

What does our city do?

Fortunately, the forecast for the week ahead looks promising. What will the coming week bring? Again, it’s so hard to know. What does the week look like at SCPC? We don’t know. Over the last week we had started to prepare for our Term 2 series in Exodus. In chapter 16 of Exodus the people are in famine and expecting they will die in the desert. God miraculously intervenes saving them each day with manna, bread from heaven.

We don’t know what next week will bring.

We don’t know what the next month will bring.

We don’t know what the next three months will bring.

Let me quote from a Christian leader as they reflect on God’s provision in the Exodus:

“We take one day at a time. We trust God for today. And we trust that he will enable us to trust him tomorrow and in three months’ time. God doesn’t give grace today for tomorrow. Don’t worry how you would cope… don’t play scenarios. You are not given grace for ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’. You will be given grace for today. You will have the grace for the next day when it comes – and it will not come ‘til tomorrow. Look not to your version of the ‘jar of manna’ when you go to bed each night and tell yourself you have gained what you need – look instead to the providing God and tell him that you trust him to give you what you need.”

That is a powerful message I need to hear, DAILY! The last 48 hours have been horrendous. I am a doer – I love to get dirty and I love to get in the thick of things. But sometimes it is hard to know what to do. I can’t change all the things that cause me worry, anxiety and fear. But I can trust the one who promises to provide, even himself. Listen to Jesus’ call to find relief, incredibly, in himself:

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35


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One comment on “The Pastors’ Pen – 31.3.22
  1. Trevor Voltz says:

    A Prayer for Times When Sufficient Grace Doesn’t Feel Sufficient

    “… There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:7-9

    Dear heavenly Father, the Apostle Paul’s story stirs up my already stirred up heart. Though I’ve experienced the toxic shame of my own failures, the emotional assault of betrayal, the soul-pillaging pain of loss and heart-depleting episodes of depression that make heaven look like my only option… nonetheless, I know myself to be an amateur in anguish, a tenderfoot in trauma, a mere suckling in suffering.

    Compared to many sufferers that I know, quite honestly, Lord, you have every right to judge my whines, complaints and moans as those of a spoiled brat. But you are far too merciful and gracious to do so. You take my sin and my pain seriously, so seriously you gave Jesus for me, and I will forever praise you.

    But today, I join many of my brothers and sisters, in bringing before you our friends and family members who are in the vortex of chronic suffering—a downward spiral of misery that mocks the notion of your mercy; that calls into question the sufficiency of your grace; that doesn’t make heaven look good, but invisible.

    Father, give us your heart for the suffering. Give us wisdom, give us strength, give us kindness. For those whose physical pain is increasingly unbearable, we cry out for the power of Jesus to fall. Unashamedly, unreservedly, we ask you to bring relief, Father. By the means of supernatural intervention, please calm the nerve endings. By the means of common grace, please give physicians wisdom to know what medications, and what doses, would be best in each situation.

    Father, for those who are suffering fresh emotional trauma, and those who are just beginning to deal with heart wounds long since buried, bring the grace, truth and power of the gospel to bear. Help us enter the emotional chaos not as fixers, but as listeners; not as tamers of the whirlwind, but as those who follow Jesus into the storm; not as those who fear our inadequacy, but as those who own our weakness. When our friend’s emotional pain triggers our’s, help us to stay present, focused and caring.

    Father, for those who are suffering mental and spiritual anguish—for friends who simultaneously feel like Job and Job’s wife… counting loses and cursing heaven, don’t let us be like “Job’s friends.” Better to sit in awkward silence, than to offer cliché, rules and formulas. Better to be a quiet, living epistle of mercy than to spout Scripture verses like unwrapped band-aids. We believe this, help our unbelief. Free us from timetables and the need to make it better.

    Father, when we ourselves begin to ask, “How long, O Lord?” When we wonder, silently and out loud, “How much is too much?” When we begin, or continue to doubt, your mercy and might, make the cross of Jesus clearer and dearer. O, for the Day when Jesus finishes making all things new. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ suffering and triumphant name.