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May 4, 2020

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Friends:

I hope this finds you well.  Thank you all for your encouraging words and feedback to the staff surrounding these emails.  We think about you all often, love you very much and miss you greatly.  One reminder:  if you do not get a specific response from one of us after you reply to these emails we thank you broadly and specifically right now.  Your replies are forwarded to us but do not come with an email address…just the name.  We read every one of them and they help us stay motivated to try to keep you encouraged.  

Congregational Updates

Al Brummel is turning 70 on Friday. The family is unable to visit him and would like to send 70 cards to him. If you are interested in sending him a birthday card, please send it to:
Al Brummel
4118 Kalamazoo Ave
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Vern Leeuw is celebrating his 90th Birthday today, drive past their home (330 N Franklin St) and honk your horn to wish him a Happy Birthday. 


Devotional Thought

Trust

If you haven’t picked up on this, I will give away my secret.  For the “checking in” emails I write, I am trying to use very well known scripture passages.  This is not because I don’t want to look deeper, quite the contrary, it’s because I want you to remember just how much you already know.  Passages become familiar for a reason – because they are powerful, memorable, and reassuring.  But things that are memorable and reassuring often trigger nostalgic understanding instead of a deeper look.  

You’ve heard me say many times over the years something like this:  “This is a very familiar passage to many of you.  For today, I’m asking you to listen to it again for the first time.”  Just like songs and smells “bring us back” to a time and a place where they were significant, so familiar scripture passages bring us back.  But they can also move us forward and allow them to be wisdom that transformed us and be wisdom that continues to make us new again.

Here’s a familiar passage.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight. 
 

Most of us learned it in Sunday school, a devotional, in a small group, or because it was written on a greeting card.  And usually, this passage is shared with you to remind you that “God will work it out, He’s in control and you need not worry.”  And…it does mean that.  But there is more.

I’m not a big fan of speakers or writers who begin with a statement like this:  Webster’s Dictionary defines such and such a word like this.  So, I’m not going to do that.  But I am going to define a word for you.  I have studied this word for many years, in the original languages for scripture, in other writings, in scriptural context and experientially.  With that in mind, I would like you to consider this definition and they re-read Proverbs 3:5-6, paying particular attention to the first word in verse 5.

Definition of Trust:  Trust is giving someone something they can hurt you with and believing they won’t.

With each of my injuries and surgeries, I had to trust the one making the diagnosis, the anesthesiologists, intake nurses, scrub nurses, surgical nurses, and surgeons.  And, in retrospect, barring one surgeon (not in this state) my trust was well-founded.  I had to believe they would not harm me but would indeed help me.  I gave them my pain and in the case of surgery, my consciousness, and even life and believed they wouldn’t harm me.  On two occasions a surgeon had to make a “call on the fly” while I was unconscious without my explicit consent.  In both cases, the decision was right.

Fourteen times I’ve had to trust myself to others.  I gave them something they could hurt me with and believed they wouldn’t.

When I married Lyn, the same thing.  My heart, my psyche, my relational capacity…all entrusted to her.   

Now, read Proverbs 3:5-6 again.  

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight. 

It’s harder than it seems on the surface, isn’t it?  Giving God something He can hurt you with and believing He won’t is easier to say than do.  Submitting to His will over mine by trusting my will and wellbeing to Him over trusting them to myself is no small task.

But, God is the only person in the universe (and He is a person) who has never made a mistake, never broken a promise, and said anything at all that wasn’t true.  If we trust Him, truly trust Him with everything we have even beyond what we think we know (our own understanding), if we submit to Him in everything, we will walk a straight path.

God is not done.  He hasn’t given up on us and He is doing something bigger than we can ask or imagine.  I can’t wait to see it and witness it with all of you.

Sincerely,
Pastor Trent
twalker@commref.org

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