From the Pastor's Pen


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Pastor W

July:  Pastor's Message


      

 

       I was listening to the radio as I drove to church this morning, and they’re still hyping WHIO’s meteorologists (“the storm team”) by replaying their Memorial Day warning to “get in your safe space.”  I guess it’s good marketing, and it reminds me of former Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s observation: “You never want to let a good crisis go to waste.”

 

      As the weeks have gone by following the tornado, I’ve met a number of folks who are experiencing nightmares or are jumpy or feel something like guilt because they suffered no damage or injuries.  Those (and many other things) are perfectly normal reactions.  All of us, in the wake of a traumatic event, experience post-traumatic stress to one degree or another.

 

       Post-traumatic stress is not the same as post-traumatic stress disorder.  PTSD is diagnosed by mental health professionals only when the signs of post-traumatic stress don’t improve, or they get worse, after a long time.  In even the worst situations (including combat), only about 15 percent of people involved will develop PTSD.  So if you’re dealing with symptoms that are interfering with your ability to function, by all means check with your doctor or counselor, but you don’t need to worry about your worrying.

 

       On a much more positive note, researchers have learned that many people (upwards of 30 percent actually thrive and grow after a disaster, accident, or other traumatic event. The armed forces, law enforcement, and firefighting typically attract men and women who get energized rushing in when everyone else is rushing out. But lots of us ordinary folks are just as resilient.

 

 

     The documentable science of that is very recent, but folks have known about that ability to flourish under fire for a long time. In fact, the pastors in colonial-era churches (the British nicknamed them the “Black Robe Regiment”) counted on our ability to thrive and grow in the face of adversity when they preached in favor of rising up against British oppression and in favor of independence in the months leading up to and throughout the Revolutionary War.

 

     How do we nurture that ability to survive and thrive in the face of adversity? As I mentioned in my June 23rd sermon, the best way is to put our faith in God. The Old Testament prophet Nehemiah said, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life … Seek first [God’s] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [you need] will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 33). The apostle Paul wrote, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). And the writer of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

 

     The other thing that can help us weather the rough spots in our lives is a strong, supportive family and community of friends. Council President Joe Sowder has pointed out several times how we, the people of Hawker Church, have shared our love and strength and faith with people in our church family and our community through prayers, the very powerful gift of presence, words of encouragement (see Hebrews 10:24-25), and gifts of water (Matthew 10:42), food, clothing, shelter, and more (Matthew 25:35).

 

     Summer is a great time to bolster your faith and build up your ties to your church family. Be here – and bring a friend or neighbor with you!


  

Yours in Christ, 

~~~Pastor David Williamson

 

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