Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From Ben Light - November 12, 2021

Letter From Ben Light

November 12, 2021

Pastor's Corner - November 12th, 2021

This past Thursday, we had the chance to travel up to Washington for the celebration of life for long-time United Youth Camp volunteer Mr. Ron Goethals.

The service was wonderful, certainly sobering, but a great tribute to a man who dedicated his life to God's way, and to the service of His people, particularly youth. It was an afternoon filled with many tears, lots of laughter, and the opportunity to catch up with people that we hadn't seen in quite some time. 

During the service, Mr. Roc Corbett read from Ecclesiastes 3, and it got me thinking - not just about Ron and the circumstances that the Goethals family faces right now, but the circumstances that we all face as we go through life. 

    To everything there is a season,
    A time for every purpose under heaven:
    A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
    A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
    A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
    A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
    A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
    A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
    A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
    A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
    A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
    A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
    A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
    A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
    A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
    A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

Life consists of highs and lows, it ebbs and flows.

There are times of great tears, and times of indescribable joy. There are times when we should remain silent, or times when we should speak up, there are times to break down and times to build up - it's all situational to a degree when we consider some of these things and the times in which they apply, and the appropriate response for each situation must be discerned.

Yet, despite the ups and downs, these words aren't inconsistent with the instructions we see from the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5. That we should 'rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances." These things are easy to do when life is good - when things keep going our way, or when we receive windfalls, and things just seem to be stacking up in the win column for us - but how often do we struggle with them when that is not the case?

When the tears come? When the challenges that you face feel like they're unsurmountable? We must do these things in spite of the tears, in spite of the frustrations and the challenges which we face. Rejoicing in the face of these challenging times, even in the times of indescribable loss. Praying and giving thanks in the midst of the challenges we face, is a huge part of living life as a Christian, maintaining our focus on the hope of Christ despite the difficulties we face in this life, particularly as it becomes more and more challenging for us to live this Way.

It isn't easy, and it certainly doesn't mean we'll do it perfectly, but it's something that we must all be practicing.

We still don't have a hall locked down in Salem. We're getting closer, but the one we're looking at wants to take the time to vet us first, and they informed me it could be more than a month, necessitating us going back through the list again to see if anything has changed in the past weeks since we called around the last time.

The family and I were headed to Eugene tomorrow to be with the brethren there, but I received a text from Mary Harmon this afternoon that a pipe burst in the hotel we meet at in Eugene, and it's closed down for a week, which means they're online as well this Sabbath.

What do you do? 

You rejoice. You pray. You thank God.

I cannot wait to be back together in person with you all - I have so many hugs that need to be given. So many handshakes and smiles to be shared, and so much catching up to do with those I haven't been able to get to in visits recently.

God knows. He knows how much we need this. He understands the challenges that we face, and He has a solution in mind for us - it's just a matter of the right door opening. Please continue to pray for God's will.

Despite the challenges that we face and the difficulty we have in gathering together at this time, we have so much to rejoice about, and so much to be thankful for, so much to pray about. Let us endeavor to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and thank God for His many blessings.

With much love, and virtual hugs.