This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the rollercoaster of life, with all its ups and downs. Sometimes things are upbeat and moving along with excitement, but at other times our lives are trudging along to a slow, dirge like beat. The ups and downs of life dependent on many things: our mood, our schedule, what we eat, how we care for ourselves, but there is one constant in the midst of it all: Love.
When our lives are upbeat, Love is there. When our lives are slow and mournful, Love is there. When our lives are confusing and irregular, Love is there. God’s love is always there; the risen Christ living among us, even when life seems unbearable. It is in these most difficult moments that God carries us, in love, when we can’t move forward on our own.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to pray with a stranger who stoped at the church in the midst of an emotional crisis. To be honest, it is quite unusual for strangers stop at the church looking for prayer. We were rather surprised when this person opened the door and asked if there was a pastor around. Usually, when someone asks for the pastor they are in need of food, or finacial assistance, but not this time. In fact, my new friend commented on the situation, very aware that most people wouldn't randomly show up looking for prayer.
Once upon a time, it was common for people to seek out pastoral care during times of spiritual or emotional crisis, but today pastoral care seem to be the last thing people think about. People might reach out to their pastor or church family for support, but not always. In fact, I cannot tell you how many times the pastor is the last person to know about a crisis in the congregation. And those without a faith community are even less likely to seek out pastoral care. Truth is, pastors and churches that once provided extensive support to the community are becoming less and less relevant in a culture where “spiritual but not religious” has become a common phrase to talk about faith.
Ironically, it is our church family that we need most during these times. It is in community and relationship with others that we see and experience the risen Christ. It is in our relationships with other believers that we see God’s love, but this takes practice. If we don’t look for the risen Christ in the ups of life, we don’t know how to find him in the downs. It takes time to listen and feel God’s presence. But the more we see, hear, and feel God among us during the good times, the easier it is to recognize God’s presence in the difficult times.
This week, look for God’s love. Listen for God’s voice. And feel God’s presence. Practice looking for Christ now, so you can find him when you reach the top of the rollercoaster and everything drops out from under you. You’ll be glad to have God’s love close by to grab hold of you when you fall.