Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
October 14th, 2021
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Earlier this week, Josiah had took a tumble on the playground, falling from the monkey bars, and broke his arm. I drove to the school to pick him up early, and felt for him so in his pain! All I could do was hug him & speak soothing words to him, but I wished I could do more.
After getting it checked-out at a nearby urgent care, they discovered he had a slight break above the elbow – mom had to drive him to a different facility, and stay with him in the hospital until 2 a.m.! Apparently his injury was just on the border of needing surgery. But Josiah’s going to have to be in this above-the-elbow cast for some weeks, and then, upon assessment, they will determine whether he does or doesn’t need the surgery (pls pray for him not needing it!).
So Josiah is home in a cast now. He has taken this in great stride: I’m so proud of him. He hasn’t uttered any discouraging words of “I wish I’d never gone to the playground that day”, or “Why did God let this happen?” His optimism & normalcy of attitude have been a mini form of inspiration for us.
Of course, wounds and hurts of much larger kinds befall us in adulthood. Many of us would prefer a broken arm to other hurts/sadnesses we’ve had to endure. Some could very easily become discouraged in their faith, saying “Why doesn’t God prevent all bad things for people who love him?” But Jesus, in fact, never assures us of ease and avoidance of problems. In fact, he states nearly the opposite in the verse quoted above: he says “You will have trouble”! Not ‘maybe’, not ‘some of you’, not ‘if God is mad at you’, it is simply “will”. So, Jesus didn’t say he was here to avoid suffering for either us or him – he actually voluntarily walked toward great suffering and pain (and 1st John 2:6 says we should walk as Jesus did – yikes!).
But, how great the second part of the sentence recorded in John is. It makes any hardship summarized in the first half of the verse okay. The world will not have the last say: Jesus will! And, praise the Lord, He promises to, at the end, “wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 7:17, 21:4).
But, think of those who get discouraged and lose faith because of the hardships & troubles. Jesus prophesied that this would happen to some (Matthew 18:28), but how tragic it is! You cannot get away from Jesus’ first half of the prophecy in John, but what a preventable loss to jettison the 2nd half (which more than makes up for it!). Indeed: I’ve seen it myself: some lose faith because of their troubles, and they’re left with the troubles, but without the God who is able to resolve them.
I hope we can all take some inspiration from kids’ “we’ll get through it okay” attitude. We will on a grand scale for sure! Even if the most dreadful end, death, comes to either us or our loved ones, Jesus says “Do not fear those that can kill the body” – “I have the keys to death and the grave” (Matthew 10:28a, Revelation 1:18).
I pray that, despite and even through hardships, you can learn patient endurance, one of the characteristics of God’s faithful in the last days (Revelation 14:12). Let’s center all our hopes in God, who began this good work in us, and will bring it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 1:6).
I pray a blessing on you and your families the remainder of this week.
Pastor Mark Tatum
P.S. so endearing! Just before I sent this, Josiah walked in the room, and I said “Thank you for your optimistic attitude through all this.” He said “You’re w-e-l-c-o-m-e” (practicing his spelling), with a grin on his face. My heart! ❤