Today’s Reading: John 16:22 (NIV)
22 [Jesus said,] “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
I love watching babies play with balloons. It’s such a sweet thing, to see a wee one so entertained and delighted with a brightly colored balloon attached to their stroller or wrist. Our children loved birthday balloons. It was risky business, trying to get a sugar coated child with their birthday balloon home from the party intact. Quite often, the balloon would burst if it touched hot metal or a jagged edge inside the car. While trying to buckle our children safely in their car seats, the balloon in their hands would suddenly slip away and we would watch it fly for miles in the sky above our heads. Have you ever tried to comfort a little one who has just let go of their prized possession? It’s the thing that we want to hold onto; yet, somehow it seems to slip through our fingertips and fly away. Has anyone ever tried to burst your balloon?
When I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior as a young teenager, I felt like a little child playing with a colorful balloon! I was so delighted with God’s amazing gift of grace, covering my imperfections; my sin. For the very first time, I knew I was loved beyond any human love imaginable. Yet, there were some who were definitely not impressed with my new found faith in Jesus. In fact, someone very close to me asked me this question one day, as I verbally expressed unhappiness and discontent over a situation I was facing at home. This was their question posed to me: “How can you say that, if you are truly saved?” Her words were as sharp as the metal frame in our old, un-air-conditioned 1966 four-door Chevrolet and this faith balloon that I had just received as an unconditional gift of love suddenly burst into thin air. Isn’t it amazing how we allow the judgments of others to affect what we know to be true inside our heart of hearts?
There is a lot of grief in the world today. Two trillion dollars of hard-earned retirement funds evaporated last week on Wall Street. World markets are crumbling; businesses are going belly up, and the banking industry is as unstable as I have witnessed it. Folks are asking questions and wondering where God is in the midst of this financial crisis. Faith balloons are flying out the window, seemingly unreachable to the human heart. Don’t you let anyone steal your joy! Jesus Christ died to set you free, and when you are free, you are free indeed! Do not worry, even if you happen to let faith slip between your fingers! I know His love will find you, because even when we let go, God hangs on.
Now is the time of grief, but we will see our Savior again, and He will make our joy complete!
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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