June 13, 2018

I love the 4th of July! It’s all about celebrating freedom and brings people together in amazing ways. When I was a child, this holiday meant that my siblings and I would spend the day exploding firecrackers. Mom and Dad would give each of us a bowl of Black Cats, along with a warning to be careful, and send us on our way. We blew up cricket holes, ant dens, leaves, piles of grass, and whatever else we could find in our yard. Miraculously, no one was ever seriously injured, we never set anything on fire, and our neighbors were tolerant!

I’m not suggesting that parents should allow their children to do this, but I mention this childhood memory, because it reminds me that we all experience different kinds of “explosions” in life. Some that come to mind are divorce, health issues, the death of a loved one, relationship problems, addiction issues, trouble with children or grandchildren, or the loss of a job. These life explosions can cause us mental, emotional, and even physical pain. So, what’s the answer? Psalm 34:18 reminds us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” What a comforting reminder that God is near, no matter what! David cried out to God when he was being pursued by people who wanted to kill him, “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.” (2 Samuel 22:7) God hears us when we cry out to Him; He is near!

As difficult as these explosions may be, sometimes life on the other side is more beautiful than ever! Consider this quote from Christian speaker and author Christine Caine, ““Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” Christine experienced horrible abuse as a child, but today she’s an internationally acclaimed author and speaker who has used her experiences and knowledge to help others. It’s exactly what Joseph was talking about in Genesis 50:20, when he said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” Whether our explosion is self-inflicted or the result of another person’s choices, we can rest assured that God wants to help us. The noise of fireworks is the prelude to the beautiful colors that fill the sky, and sometimes our “burial during an explosion” is our prelude to blooming.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.” -United Methodist Statement of Faith

-Susan Easttom, Director of Family Ministry