Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hope and a Future

This was a big weekend for our family - WanYing's birthday, Superbowl party, Chinese New Year celebrations, a sledding party, and our first Sunday meeting in our new church building! So much to celebrate, so much to contemplate.

Meeting in our new church building this morning was amazing. This has been such a long road for CenterPoint Church - this building is a decade in the making! Steve and I were a part of the original decision to purchase property on Sandhill Road. We've given and participated in 3 separate fundraising campaigns, dozens of work days, and countless Sundays as a church on the move as we've met in 4 different schools in Utah County. It's been a long, tough, often heartbreaking journey as we've overcome opposition and roadblocks, trusting God all the way.

And nowhere we are, worshiping as a church family in our very own church home! And I just step back in wonder and awe at what God has accomplished in us and through us. Yes, meeting in a building of our very own is glorious - it feels amazing to have space that we built, designed, and decorated to be our very own.

But what's more amazing is how God has sustained us as we have learned to trust in him day by day, Sunday by Sunday, decision by decision. I love our building, but I love even more the character we have developed as a church family. That character, that faith lasts so much longer and reaches out so much wider than the four walls of any church building.

And the funny thing is that Chinese New Year means a lot of the same things to me.

I'll level with you - regular New Year's is a complicated time for us as a family. Steve's mom passed away 4 years ago at New Year's and our family entered a despairing season that almost tore our marriage and family apart.

And after a very dark January, suddenly it was time to celebrate Chinese New Year and this bright and colorful day invaded our dark season with hope.

And so we rejoice that we are individuals, a family, a people, a church, with a hope and a future. And, yes, we revel in the happiness of a finished building, a strong family, the end results of so many miracles strung together. But what is more important than the "happily ever after" (because no story is ever done!) is the truth we've lived that God is with us in our troubles.

God's provision and love for us is most strongly demonstrated in the dark times when he sustains us step by step.

Over the years, I've come to deeply love Lamentations 3. In the middle of unspeakable horrors, deep depression, and a seemingly hopeless situation, the author bursts out with:
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
God's faithfulness sustained the author of Lamentations before anything changed about his situation. And that's the source of my deep joy this weekend - not that everything has or will ended up "happily ever after" but that God's loyal and merciful love is new every morning, and that my faithful God is more than enough.

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