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Today we present a guest blog written by The Rev. Glenn K. Miller, pastor of Vincentown United Methodist Church in Southampton, NJ., the church which we attend, and where Ray served as pastor during 1998-2006. Originally written for our church newsletter, Pastor Glenn offers a message of hope in the midst of a bad situation, based on his own personal experience.
Grace and peace, Patty and Ray
I walked out of the house this morning and my windshield was coveredwith snow. I’m tired of cleaning off my windshield. I’m ready for Spring. And there is another effect of the weather that is really starting to get on my nerves – potholes. They’re just everywhere. Sometimes you can see them and sometimes you can’t. The one good thing about potholes you can see is that if you see them far enough in advance you can navigate around them. But sometimes you just don’t see the potholes. Maybe it’s dark. Maybe you’re moving too fast. Or maybe you’re just not watching the road. And if you fail to notice a pothole and you hit it, you can do some serious damage to your car. Watch out for those potholes.
I was driving home from the Cancer Treartment Center in Cherry Hill one day and was trying to avoid the potholes in Church Road, to name jut one of several roads bedecked with potholes. As I was swerving around the obstacles, I began to think how much the experience parallels our journey through life. There are times when our lives seem to be going smoothly, with everything in place and then, BOOM, a pothole; something to make us swerve off the path, something that leaves marks and sometimes damages behind.
For the last couple of weeks in our Bible study on Monday mornings, we studied a couple of chapters in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. At first, the church was a growing church, faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Corinth was a commercial center back in those days and people from various countries would pass through. With these visitors came their religious beliefs and customs, and the Christians in Corinth would fine themselves incorporating elements from these other religions with their customs and practices. They would be moving along so well, and then BOOM, a pothole.
And Paul’s ministry in itself was no smooth journey. He would be spending time in one city and BOOM, a pothole. He would be thrown into prison or beaten. He would be preaching the Gospel in one town and his followers would get word of an attempt to be made on his life. They would secretly and hurriedly get him out of the city. BOOM, a pothole.
Have you ever encountered potholes in your life? Have you ever found potholes in your relationship with Jesus Christ?
I’ve recently encountered a pothole of my own. A pothole that takes me to Cherry Hill at 1:20 p.m. five days a week for radiation treatments. Now I can deal with this pothole in a number of different ways. I can moan and groan about the inconvenience or I can navigate the pothole the best I can and do my best to incur as little damage as possible.
My new catch phrase is driving my wife crazy.I tell her “it is what it is”. I have just decided to put it in God’s hands and let God take care of it.
We all have potholes, in our lives, and in our walk with Jesus Christ.There are thoes rough spots we encounter as we try to be faithful to the life to which the Lord calls us. Sometimes those rough spots, those potholes, can knock us off course. Sometimes we hit those potholes really hard and cause damage. But God can repair that damage. God can help us navigate around those potholes, those rough spots.
The Apostle Paul encontered pothole after pothole, but because of his encounter with the living Christ, he overcame the rough spots and just kept moving., with the help of the risen Lord.
I know there have been rough spots in your journey. I know ther have been rough spots that try to knock you off course. Just keep on the road. The road that Christ has traveled before you. That won’t take the potholes aways, but it will help you to get over or around them,.
Yours in Christ, Navigating the Potholes, Pastor Glenn
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty Perez and Ray Gough