Message from Pastor Mark

October 2017

Dear Friends,
Have you ever felt really overwhelmed? It seems like so many events in our day can often be overwhelming… hurricanes, floods, natural disasters, protests, threats of war, and escalating conflicts on many fronts. Many houses in our area who were flooded are now navigating the way forward, dealing with complex bureaucracies and fragile structures. With so much going on, many families are just trying to hold on during these stressful times, and often they feel overwhelmed…

In Jesus’ day, many of the Hebrew people felt overwhelmed. There were often massacres of the Jewish people, and it was heartbreaking for the community. The Jews were oppressed, as the Roman occupation seemed to overshadow any type of true freedom. In the political realm, the Jews did not feel that they had a voice, let alone opportunities to provide for their families. In The Holy Land, the elements are always harsh, from lush vegetation to unbearable heat. Families probably remembered the grief they experienced when the Roman government under Herod slayed all of the boys 2 and under “just in case.” Many families back then probably felt overwhelmed…

Things sure have changed in 2000 years, and yet have stayed the same! Many advances have been such a blessing as our society continues to discover, develop, and move forward. Yet, God is still the same God, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). While God is our anchor in the storm and never changes, our view of God develops as we change and grow, both individually and collectively. And even as God never changes, our “Human Predicament” is also the same, from Adam and Eve until now. And part of that struggle is that sometimes we feel overwhelmed.

How do you view God when you are overwhelmed? How do you view god when you feel normal (whatever that feels like)? Whether you are overwhelmed or feeling okay, when you read this, what image comes to mind when you read God? How you view God might determine how you react when you journey from normalcy to a sense of being overwhelmed. How you view God can tremendously help or severely hurt your heart, mind, body, and spirit when you are overwhelmed.

There is a saying that has helped me through many times that I felt overwhelmed and was hurting. These 6 simple words… “God is good, all the time” can help us through times of trouble (Nahum 1:7). Years ago a good friend shared these words with me during an overwhelming time in my life, and these simple words reminded me that God has authority over all of the situations and my life and that whatever I am going through… God is with me.

So, whether you are struggling or not, I hope you memorize that phrase. Because everyone is about to go thru a struggle, presently going through a struggle right now, or is just coming out of a struggle. Sound overwhelming? The good news is that God really is good all of the time, and we simply need to look for that goodness that has always been available throughout the generations.

My prayer for us is that Magnolia UMC can be a community in which we can worship, share, and struggle with and within, especially when we feel overwhelmed. Whether we are struggling right now or helping someone through a struggle, God is with us and ready and willing to surround us right now with that beautiful vitality that only God can give. I hope we experience the love, grace, and peace of God even and especially in overwhelming situations, because “GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME!”

Pastor Mark

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