But can we simply live by faith? While the idea is not complicated, the practice seems to be for most of us. We lose our confidence and our faith dims. We struggle with suffering and we draw back, seeking more certainty, more details, and more reassurance. But the Old Testament lesson and the Psalm tell us that during times of affliction, we should be even more confident that God’s will and the Kingdom of God are our refuge. Even while suffering, we need to endure and continue to do the will of God to keep our lives on track. Trusting in the Lord and doing the will of God will make our steps more sure and give us more confidence in God’s promises.
As I reflect on these messages, I make the connections between these lessons and the sermon I heard at my church on the first Sunday after Epiphany this year. Our pastor reminded us that we would experience times in the midst of life’s distresses where we would lose our confidence in ourselves and our faith. Those distresses could shake our beings and threaten our sense of our very identities. When than happens, our pastor said, we should draw on our baptism experience and the promises God made to love us and care for us as a member of the body of Christ. Drawing closer in is how we can experience the Kingdom of God and live by faith in confidence and without fear. That enlightenment also means that we should readily and without judgment welcome others into the Kingdom through our church communities. We were reminded that if we would love each other and reassured each other of God’s love, we would see the Kingdom of God grow miraculously. Today I pray that church communities everywhere could confidently love all who seek the Kingdom of God. Thy Kingdom Come. Amen.
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