First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Monday, January 20, 2020
Live and Share God's Love

From the Pastor

Jayneann McIntosh



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January 2020

From Pastor Jayneann's Pen

Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will exult in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17-18

 I was so taken with these verses as a teen that I committed them to memory. At 3 chapters long—the first two a conversation between the prophet and God, the third a prayer—Habakkuk is a minor prophet. As an adult I forgot the verses for years. Then something triggered the memory.

Like you, I’ve been through some hard stuff in my life. One of the choices we each face—when the plow buries the driveway apron we just cleared with 18” of ice chunks and when the bottom falls out of our world—is how we will respond.

I haven’t always responded well. I’m not prone to expletives but I know how to pout or to get loud. I know how to hide from the world, figuratively if not literally. We all have our ways of dealing with the stuff life throws at us. We all—at least sometimes—handle it poorly.

No need to dive into guilt. We are human, imperfectly living our own lives the best we can. We fall. We get up. We try again.

What I treasure about the above text is that it reminds me of another choice I have. Besides my “reaction,” what will be my response? Will I curse God? Not even close. But I may shake my fist. My prayers will be angrily louder than usual. I will ask questions and lament and whine that “This is hard!” But I will still “exult in the God of my salvation,” because I have committed myself to God. I will not forget the times God has supported me through those shadow places.

Remember the first verse of that psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”? Because God is my shepherd, I have what I need. With God, I will survive whatever comes.

With God, we will survive whatever comes. A new year. A new decade. It’s a good time to examine our lives. Maybe a good moment to take stock. What are the best parts of your response to life’s stuff? (What do you want to keep?) Which part might you leave on the side of the road as you move into the 2020s? Could you give yourself permission to do things differently, maybe love yourself more or get angry with God—or someone else—without walking away?
I know someone who has a Pokéball inscribed on the inside of their wedding band. It’s a reminder for this gamer when things go wrong or when they get angry, to say again, “I choose you!”
In the beginning when God was first creating, God chose us. God continues to choose us and to save us from our lives. Isn’t that worth a little exultation and rejoicing?

Happy New Year!