First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Live and Share God's Love

From the Pastor

Rev. Rebecca Voss




Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

I remember when my children were young, thy found the sparkly white landscaping rocks around our house to be especially precious. After enjoying them and picking out their favorites to keep, they set up a table at the end of the driveway and offered the rest individually for sale to our patient and generous neighborhood. I enjoyed seeing their wonder and delight in these shimmery stones, as well as their entrepreneurial spirit. It is convicting to realize how often I am too hurried to notice the small but beautiful gems hidden under a layer of dirt or leaves.

There are also spiritual gems that we easily miss. We call these "GEMs" - God Encounter Moments. These are experiences when we realize that God reaches out to remind us of his presence and love in a way that we really needed. The other day I got a call from a college friend who had just been at Mayo Clinic to have a tumor on her lower spine looked at. It was a relief to find out it was benign, but it didn't explain her chronic pain and fatigue. Then her intake physician who had been randomly assigned to her noticed she had very low Vitamin B12 levels. He happened to be a specialist in rare diseases associated with B12 deficiencies, so he ordered a few more tests and discovered that my friend had an advanced case of a B12 disease that was causing all of her symptoms that she thought was caused by the tumor (which had previously been misdiagnosed for the past 10 years as standard back pain). Amazingly, he caught it just before the disease would have become irreversible. My friend and I praised God together for this GEM - a beautiful God Encounter Moment - as we could both clearly see how God had put her with just the right intake physician who caught this and could correct it.

God Encounter Moments can take many forms. Some people may call it serendipity or random luck. However, our faith believes in a God who creates order out of chaos, who delights in bringing people closer together, who heals our diseases, and who forgives our sins and debts. It’s easy to relegate that belief to our heads instead of actively recognizing the precious ways and times God reaches out to remind us of his character and love. Just as there are about 200 different types of gemstones on this earth, there are many kinds of God Encounter Moments. Examples can be a new or life-changing understanding of scripture, a deep sense of assurance in a difficult situation, an acute awareness of God’s presence, or a way that God gets your attention.

I would love to hear from all of you about the GEMs (God Encounter Moments) that you start to notice. Please email or call me to share an example of a moment that you realized God came close. I can treasure these stories confidentially with you, or, with your blessing, share them in future newsletters to help encourage each other in our faith. As God promises in Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.”

Pastor Rebecca