Sunday Services at 10:00am
1155 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:4-6)
This past Sunday we experienced an incredible and unique time of worship as we joined together with three other Wethersfield churches for a time or prayer, worship, and the Word in Wethersfield Cove Park. It almost never happened, of course – all week long, the weather forecast was predicting torrential downpours overnight on Saturday night and a miserable Sunday morning. But as we prayed and talked about it on Saturday, the other pastors and I felt that this was such a unique and special opportunity that we wanted to go ahead with the time of worship and pray that God would clear up the skies, relying on a 10:30 indoors service at First Church of Wethersfield as the backup plan.
But God didn’t need a backup plan.
By 9:00, the sun was shining brightly, and by the 10 AM start time, the clouds were passing, the sun was shining, and the ground was dry. And an army of worshipers from First Church, Wethersfield Evangelical Free, CenterPoint, and NewLife gathered together to praise our God and pray for revival.
Now, if this was God’s plan all along, certainly He could have saved us time and anxiety by making it sunny all weekend. But God rarely seems to work that way, does He? He knows the beginning will be a planned community worship service. And He knows that the end result will be a sunny morning. But He uses the in-between time to do more than just pass the time. He uses it to build our character as well as our faith, to put us through trials that will conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Think about Joseph in Genesis. God knows that the end result is that Joseph will be second in command over Egypt and save the people of God from starvation. But instead of miraculously and painlessly promoting him to prime minister, God allows Joseph to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of sexual assault, unjustly imprisoned, forgotten, and then, finally, promoted. As a result, by the time Joseph becomes prime minister, he is not only where God wants him to be, but he has also been humbled from an insensitive, arrogant young man into a humbled adult capable of saving people and forgiving his brothers.
And so it often is in our lives. You need to raise support for your mission trip, and God provides… with two days to spare. You just want to find the right person to spend your life with, and God makes you lonelier than ever… until you find that He fulfills you in a way that no human ever could. You can’t find a job… but as you cling to Him, you find that He will not let you go hungry, and you know that when a job finally comes, your faith will not be in the work you do but in the God who cares for you. Your health will not improve… but as you look to Him, you find that you can say with certainty that to live is Christ, and to die is gain. You find that you gain greater empathy for those who suffer, and you also discover that your fear of death no longer has mastery over you.
God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He exists outside of time and knows the end from the beginning. As Paul writes in Philippians 1, He is surely working to complete the good work He began in you. But I can guarantee you that most of the time, God will not take the shortest, most pain-free route to get you to that place. Instead, He will bring you on a path filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, sleepless nights and agonizing moments. And if you hang on to Him with whatever faith and trust you can muster, you will find that this path in the end will not only get you to the place you need to be, but will transform you into the person you need to be as well: a person of greater faith, greater humility, greater compassion, and greater joy. So keep your eyes on your Father who loves you, and keep on walking by faith.
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Wow. Great post. So true.God is most interested in developing the character of Christ in us. Circumstances come and go, and come again. But we are to be refined so that Christ shines more brightly in us. He will not only develop the qualities you mentioned, but he will develop all the fruit of the Holy Spirit along the way.