A Pastor’s Thoughts

A Pastor’s ThoughtsPictured is Pastor Leon Jicha, from the Apalachin, Whittemore Hill, and Little Meadows United Methodist Church Families. Provided photo.

By Pastor Leon Jicha, UMC Families in Apalachin, Whittemore Hill, and Little Meadows —

Shortly after the Israelites gained their freedom from the Egyptians, as they were traveling to the Promised Land through the wilderness, they found themselves struggling with finding food, facing enemies, and the weariness of traveling with kids asking the age old questions, “Are we there yet?”

This led them to ask God, Why? Why did you lead us out of Egypt to die here? Why are you allowing this to happen to us? My wife and I recently found out we were pregnant and were so excited. Everything seemed to be going great until one appointment, for no reason, there was no longer a heartbeat. After the tears came the same question as the Israelites, Why, God?

That certainly doesn’t seem like And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22) On first glance, this seems to be saying we will get everything we ask for and we struggle with God’s will for our lives when things do not go according to “plan”. When we are in our wilderness and in difficult times it is natural to question God. Even Jesus on the cross prays from Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

We have this assumption about how the world and God are supposed to work, good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. The Bible is a book though about people who despite the wildernesses they go through, refuse to let go of their faith in God. God’s will for our lives is not always visible to us, it requires trust, trust in a plan we only know the ending of and not the rest of the story. 

God walks with us through our suffering, sometimes in the form of others who have gone through the same wilderness. I believe God intended for us to be the answer to each other’s prayers.  

God from the very beginning had given “dominion” over the world and put it in our hands to take care of, we have the ability every day to choose “good or evil” and to not let ourselves be drawn away from God’s will. 

We have the opportunity everyday to live out God’s will. Jesus in his walk to serve man kind focused on certain aspects. Jesus could be found praying to God at all times of the day, often in private. He fed the poor on numerous occasions and implored others to do the same, he healed those who were sick and went to their houses to visit them, even when others stayed far away from them out of fear. 

I know I am truly blessed to pastor not one, not two, but three amazing church families who have walked with me through the wilderness of life, I hope that each of you finds a home that walks with you during your difficult times. A home that prays for you, feeds you both physically and spiritually, cries for you, that lifts you up as “one of God’s most beloved”. May you make yourself available everyday to be a prayer answered in your home, your community, and the world in which together we bring love of Christ and make living “on earth as it is in heaven”. 

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:9-10)

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