Brothers and sisters:Normally, I spend a little time each day (the week before I read) going over the reading...not just practicing but also listening to what God may be saying to me.
I know how to live in humble circumstances;
I know also how to live with abundance.
In every circumstance and in all things
I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need.
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.
My God will fully supply whatever you need,
in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.
This time, however, I needed only to read it to myself a few times and say it aloud once before the gravity of His message took root.
I didn't need a lot of time to understand this message, this lesson, because I have experienced it. I have lived and still live it and most likely will again in the future.
My understanding isn't just because I'm a college undergrad who supplements living off-campus with a mostly part-time, minimum wage job with the occasional babysitting gig. It isn't because I do not come from wealth. It just, is.
And I'm okay with that, strangely enough. Some days it's a hard pill to swallow, these humbling circumstances and going hungry days and being in need moments. Some days these things aren't mine, but sometimes they're close enough to me that they in effect become mine.
I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Yes, others share in my distress, but even more beautiful than that is the fact that with Christ, all things are possible. I am not alone. You are not alone, no matter how much you want to believe that you are. Because the riches given to us by Christ are not of this world, and those are the ones that really matter.
In addition to Sunday's reading, this tweet from @UnvirtuousAbbey really put it all in perspective, with a little help from Rick Astley of course:
"Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you," saith the Lord.
If you've been reading and following long enough, you'll know that I love the joy of finding God in all things. Even in the timeless words of Rick Astley...hahahahaha. But seriously, this Sunday's reading spoke to me in a way that I haven't been spoken to in a long time. I guess there are just those days and those readings where God puts up a big, "HELLO I'M HERE" sign and you actually see it. Sometimes I feel that I don't do a good job of proclaiming the readings so that God can speak through me. This time though, I felt that I did because I realized that God was talking to me and through me simultaneously. If no one else but me was reached, well, at least God found the missing sheep. I miss a lot of obvious things you know.
God's never going to give you up, let you down, or desert you. Really.
p.s. I honestly am not trying to Rick-roll you. Promise...but if you have no idea who Rick Astley is or where the reference comes from, here you go.