First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Sunday, July 05, 2020
Live and Share God's Love

From the Pastor

Jayneann McIntosh



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From Pastor Jayneann's Pen

Though the fig tree does not blossom,
    and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
    and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
    and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
    I will exult in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God, my strength,
    makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    and makes me tread upon the heights.
Habakkuk 3:17-19

Years ago, Rev. Dissington challenged our confirmation class at Grove UMC to read our Bibles. I took him seriously but having little direction, my reading was haphazard. Liking poetry and having already memorized Psalm 100 during VBS, I read a psalm each night along with something else. Habakkuk is one of the shorter books in the Old Testament – so I could mark it off quickly – and it’s poetic.

When I came to these three verses, I was awestruck. Bad things happen; they always have and always will. My pre-teen woes were about a new school, friendlessness, changing relationships at home, body image & self-worth. Though they seem to pale beside Lyme disease and pandemic, they were very real to me at the time.

Reading those verses, I felt the grief of the writer. Had drought caused the crops to fail? Was hunger leading to starvation? Besides this, I also recognized his choice – even in the midst of all the bad stuff that was happening, he would celebrate God’s present-ness in his life. He would rejoice! (In this patriarchal society 2700 years ago, just about anyone writing would have been male.)

These verses are the first ones I memorized without being told to do so. They have lent me comfort through the years. Two weeks ago, they came to my mind afresh and, a few days later, Rev. Jorge Luis Mayorga, WI Conference Director of Congregational Development cited these same words in the day’s devotion. (WIAC offers daily devos through this pandemic.) God works as God will!

Yes, bad things happen. We are living through a time of crisis – of anxiety and fear, sickness and death. Yet, we too choose how we will respond (and I’m not talking masks & distancing here.) Do you recall Joshua’s words?

“... Choose this day whom you will serve ... but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

In both the worst and the best, each moment passes. Though this one may pass like a kidney stone (per the sign outside The Filling Station), one day we will wake up and find that we’re on the other side of this experience.

Each day, the sun shines or clouds come with wind or rain. Each night, brings relief from the heat of the day or, through sleep, from the anxiety we don’t even notice we’re experiencing. Each moment, God is with us. Hold to this truth!

Choose to live in God’s Shalom!

P.S. “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” The Peace Corps slogan well describes my time here. It has been tough yet I love you and, as I make my goodbyes in these next few weeks, I want to thank you for giving me this chance to serve with you.