Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
March 30th, 2022
“[God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45
We had a pretty sizable storm come through on Monday! As I was driving, I saw water streaming off rooftops, filling the curbs, and rushing down culverts. I had heard on the radio that, though getting 1 – 1½ inches of rain was good, it wasn’t going to make much of a dent in our water needs with the current drought. I thought: “What a shame that this water is spread so broadly, so much of it ‘wasted’ in going down storm drains and out to the sea! If only this could all be concentrated in our snowpack & reservoirs!
Then I imagined a hypothetical conversation between local & state leaders and God. And the governmental leaders were asking God: “Couldn’t we get the rain to fall just where it can be captured and reclaimed? We could really use it over here, but not so much over there… and while we’re at it, the sun shines so broadly… couldn’t we have it just shine more concentratedly on the solar panels, where its energy could be captured & utilized for clean energy?”
And I actually feel we have a similar desire about the Bible: “Couldn’t we pack down the doctrinal information more densely? Couldn’t we get, like, bullet-point format, or, principles diagrammed out, rather than having to glean out principles that are peppered so widely throughout various stories, proverbs, & parables?”
And to all of these hypothetical requests, I imagine God responding “No, I apply my blessings just as I intend to: broadly and liberally, to everyone equally. You are more than welcome to move them around, collect them and whatnot once they’re amply delivered, but, consider the benefits of my method of dispersion!”
And this is where we have to humble ourselves and admit that, yes, God’s ways are better than man’s ways (Isaiah 55:9).
Just what do we get from God’s methodology of broad blessing dispersion? We get lavish, green hills, arrayed with flowers (I’m considering the breathtaking beauty of Santa Ana Canyon in the weeks following a good rain: also the poppy fields in the high desert (which are currently blooming, as I saw a few friends posting pics from up there this past weekend!)), we get cheerful meadows and stunning sunsets lighting up the sky. Regarding the scriptural teachings: we get God’s truth communicated through gripping accounts of how He’s led in the past, and we also get a reward for the diligent (Hebrews 11:6), in that “seeking, you will find” (Matthew 7:7) and “You will find me when you seek with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
In all this, I see that God lavishes his blessings broadly, insinuating that He gives out of His abundance, when we too often are concerned with managing scarcity. I don’t doubt that things like the drought are tough, and we need to be diligent in managing our water use, but we can also use this as an opportunity to trust God, rather than despair or wish things were different.
Above all, I pray that we’d all a) have the patience and trust to recognize that God’s way is the best way, and b) look for the blessings in the broad distributing that God provides. I believe that in doing so, we will find our hearts overflowing like an abundant fountain in joy & thankfulness. (see Psalm 23:5 & John 7:38).
May God’s blessings be abundant in your lives, and may you have the perception to recognize & accept them with gratitude!
I pray a good remainder of the week for you and your families.
Pr. Mark Tatum