Hello Grace Chapel Friends,
Tim Ghali here - pastor of Group Life here to give you today’s devotional thought.
Wrapping up our third week of stay at home quarantine life - my wife Susan and i have 4 kids. They used to be awesome kids but yeah, like I said wrapping up week 3 of stay at home …
We’re a family that wakes up early, sing hymns around the piano, recite Scripture in the original languages …
And sometimes we don’t do anything like that.
Truth be told, we’re toggling between wonderful moments, tough moments, fun times, breakdowns, boredoms, and beautiful memories - it’s quite the mix.
These devotions are aimed to be as real and authentic to our pastoral hearts as possible and I want to invite you to what I’ve been feeling as I’ve entered the month of April.
This was supposed to be a really great month. April, start of spring, kids sports starting up. My sons and I love baseball, they play Little League - we even have a little tradition of skipping school and going to New York City for the Yankees Home Opener - it’s part of our oldest birthday celebration. Little things that make you say, “eh we don’t get to do that now.”
I was going to travel this month for a Christian leader conference I’ve been going to since 2008 and a few things like that.
Then even more significant things like I get excited about Easter. Obviously a real busy and taxing time serving in the church but it’s kinda our Super Bowl - we get two - Easter and Christmas. Now Easter is not cancelled, and I’m fully confident that it will still be a beautiful and soul-filling day but there is a part of me that looks out to it and says, “I still wanted to worship together, and sing and celebrate the Resurrection story, I still wanted to be in community, I still wanted to have dinner with loved ones.
But outside of Easter, it was a special month because my younger brother was getting married on April 19th. Finally … He’s in his mid-30’s, he’s the youngest of our grandparents’ grandchildren, the last to get married, every family gathering has uncles and aunts and cousins saying, “I can’t wait ti you get married - won’t miss it for the world … “ and now this.
He’s my brother so it’s in our biology where I have to give him a hard time - “This kid can’t do anything right …” and simultaneously be fiercely protective, “My brother’s wedding can’t be disrupted like this.”
April was supposed to be amazing …
Then of course, the numbers we see every day.
The divisive rhetoric - our growing polarization … it seems for now that not even this global pandemic can bring us unity.
And so, all have that and more has been part of my prayer life. I say it all to God. I pray, I confess, lament a bit, I process and meditate, and in slow-motion the Lord meets me in these honest moments.
And lately, i’ve been mediating on an old familiar passage. One that I thought a lot during challenging years and it’s
Trust in the Lord with all of you heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.
Trust in the Lord … with all of your heart - I like that the Psalmist doesn’t oversimplify it, and just say Trust in the Lord completely, or Trust in the Lord or else … but uses heart language - because that’s how trust actually works, with your heart, with agency, with volition, … with your soul and don’t hold back.
Don’t lean on your own understanding. Your way of seeing everything, your plans for April, as good as they were, there’s more … don’t limit yourself.
In all of your ways, acknowledge him,
Whatever you are going to do next, surrender to him
And the Lord will make your path straight.
He will give you direction, vision, fuel for the journey and the trajectory you are on.
That ministers to me.
It doesn’t solve it necessarily, but I can feel confident that God and His goodness are with me, are with us, are with my brother and his fiancé, my family and yours and our community and our world.
Grace and peace Friends.