Over this holiday weekend we choose to go to my parents church with them. It has been a very long time since we have been there. This is the church I grew up in. A small, simple church filled with generations of families that have been worshipping there for years. There are not many frills in it’s building’s structure nor the service. No flashy videos or back drops to the speaker. No bands or choirs but lots of Bibles, hymnals and people. People who notice when you come and haven’t been there for a long time. They even know who you “go with”. We didn’t need to tell anyone we were Howard and Carol’s kids. They knew. They notice when my parents aren’t there. They pray for and keep track of each other as much as you will let them. When our son-in-law was ill with cancer, they prayed and supported my parents as grandparents of a young man with terminal cancer. We didn’t have much energy to give them but their church family did.
I sat in the pew and sang Christmas carols led only by the piano played by an accomplished pianist who humbly gives her time on a weekly basis. As I sat there I realized the simplicity of the church I was raised in gave me a very strong foundation to weather the changing seasons of life. My family’s church is not perfect, none of them are. But it’s strength is it is based on the Bible, God’s word. It’s not dependent on one pastor or music, sports or after school programs. Those things can be good and I have participated in, led and taken my family to all of those kinds of programs over the years. But what I realized this weekend is, I can do that because I learned to trust in God, first. As a kid I was taught that the Bible told us about God and that God wanted to have a relationship with us. I, like Abraham in Romans 4:19 am “fully persuaded that God has power to do what He has promised.” In fact there is a hymn that uses that verse for lyrics and I learned that at church as a kid. I can still hum the melody.
That belief has carried me through each “adventure” in my life, the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re bumping up against some circumstances that aren’t “fun” right now. But, as in the other times in my life, I know that God has promised to care for me, to teach me, and to protect me in the process. He didn’t promise to magically remove all difficulties in this life. He did promise to never leave me or forsake me. I am “fully persuaded that he is able to do all that He promised. Knowing that makes all the difference. It allows me to not give up on relationships, or circumstances even when I can’t see how it is all going to work out. That has served me well in my lifetime.
As 2011 comes to a close it’s a good time to reflect on your core beliefs. To give thanks for lessons learned that you can build your life on. Can you name one person or circumstance that you recognize today as something that helped you build your foundation?