After the Whirlwind


by Sarah Langness

I might as well come right out and admit it: I am feeling sorry for myself. Because for the first time since 2001, I am not attending the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention. Six times I’ve gone; three as a student, three as a counselor. A majority of my family is in Estes Park, Colorado. Many of my close friends are there. People I haven’t seen in years, don’t keep in good contact with, but still consider dear to my heart – they are there too. But I stayed home. Back in February, when Jordan and I were praying about Zeke and I attending, we felt a peace about staying home. All I’d like to know now is: what happened to that peace?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the past three weeks, I’ve been surrounded by people. Family reunions and wedding activities for two weeks in Minneapolis; then nearly four days of family visiting us here in Beulah. And now, it’s just me and Zeke. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. But after so much activity, after that whirlwind of three weeks, it’s pretty quiet around here.

So in the midst of my moping, I’m reminding both my heart and my head that the Lord knows what I don’t know. Maybe He wanted us home because of that suspiciously snotty, sometimes congested nose of Ezekiel’s that hasn’t gotten worse but hasn’t gone away. Maybe He wanted us home because He knew those two weeks away really would be enough for us, despite the fact that I currently feel like we could be gone another two. Maybe He wanted me to stay home to remind me that I don’t always have to be in the midst of the “action”, of the exciting things. To remind me that there is ministry to be done right here at home in Beulah. To show me the importance of and power of prayer for a gathering that is 670 miles away.

Devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt . . . ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.'” – Colossians 4:2-3, 5-6, 17; NASB (emphasis mine)

Unfortunately, it’s always one thing to know truth and entirely different thing to believe truth. That’s what I’m working on right now. Who knows, maybe it’ll take all week for that to take place. But I’ve simply got to trust that God’s thoughts and plans are better than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And I better be faithful with the time He has given me in the place He has led me.

Jesus is the Answer

by Sarah Nelson

The past few weeks have been ones in which our family has experienced intense pressures.   After putting on our “brave Christian faces” in for awhile, we reached the point where we needed to drop masks and ask God, and some treasured Christian brothers and sisters, to meet us in our struggle.   As soon as things would appear to be better, boom – yet another trying situation raised it’s head.  I admit that the temptation to let discouragement grow into defeat, even at the present, is running high.  What’s keeping me from giving up hope and clinging to what and Who I know to be true?  Jesus!

I so appreciate that each of the few friends we shared our struggle with pointed us not to the latest Christian self-help book, but to the One who truly holds all the answers, even those we cannot see in this lifetime, Jesus!  Words of encouragement were sent from God’s living and loving Word to our hearts and soul.

This next week I’m filling in for our regular pianist/organist at church.  This noon I took a break and went over to our beautiful church sanctuary to select some songs for Sunday’s prelude.  An old favorite of mine quickly became one of the selections.  What was it?  “Jesus Is the Answer”!  The words of this song continue on to say: “for the world today.  Above him there is NO other, Jesus is the Way!”   I’m still humming that tune in my head while I’m typing these words.  It’s a simple and profound truth rolled into one.  Jesus IS the answer!  He is the answer for whatever situation we are facing today.  Best of all, He is the answer for our greatest need – salvation.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:11-14  (ESV)

Rejoice, sisters!  Our redemption is sealed in the One who never fails, never leaves, and never forsakes us!