CHURCH CORNER: Trying times test our faith in God

By Mike Iverson

Rainier Hills Young Life

I just had a conversation with a friend whose family is in a dire financial situation. They are faced with the impending foreclosure of their house. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to another friend who had to move his family because they lost their house. I know several couples who are longtime friends that have divorced recently, largely as a result of the stresses brought on by their failing financial situations. Several of my family members are trying to manage on much less income than they are accustomed to, forcing drastic life changes. During this time of uncertainty, where we, our friends, and our families are being affected by the economic downturn, it is easy to get discouraged, depressed and isolated. I really want to avoid that isolation, and I desire to help those in need.

So what can I do to help? I believe that the most important thing that we can do to help our neighbors is to pursue them in a loving relationship. As his followers, Christ in Matthew 5 calls us to be the “light of the world.” In order for us to do so, we need to strive to be healthy, well-formed, Godly individuals engaged in good relationships, and we must seek to continue to grow relationally to those around us. Now I admit, there are many days when the last thing that I want to do is sit and hear about someone else’s problems. If it weren’t for the call I would seldom do so. Living out the call to be the light of the world is only possible through an active, seeking relationship with Christ, and working from the strength of his Love for us to reach out to our neighbors.

In order to fulfill this call we need to maintain a healthy tension between a passive misconception of an action-free total reliance on God and a “get it done” self-sufficiency. Often times, we as Christians tend to be an insecure, controlling group of folks whose “get it done” attitudes lead to working out of our own power, rather than reliance on God and working out of our call by Him.

Perhaps the most obvious and direct place we are called into relationships is found in the great commandment of Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If we are not loving God first, and then entering into relationship with others we cannot be healthy people ourselves, and we cannot help those around us. We must trust and ask God to show us first where we need to grow with Him, and then trust and ask God to show us the people and relationships that He will use both to cause us to grow with Him and to live out the second half of the great commandment. Let us then go and be a light to those in our community, in our workplace, and on our street that are in need of the love of Christ, reflected through us. Let us now, perhaps more than ever, truly seek to bring the overwhelming comfort and peace of Christ to an aching world.

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