The Great Plains has experienced many storms, struggles, and disasters in the past year ... blizzards, floods, hail, tornadoes and earthquakes. Many of you have experienced these or know others who are living in the aftermath.
There are also many clergy who have experienced storms of life in the past year ... death of loved ones, challenges in a ministry setting, health concerns, anxiety, questions of call.
In the midst of storms and their aftermath, ministry needs and demands often continue, sometimes at hurricane force. In the midst of the storms and their aftermath, where do you experience the presence of God?
There are times in the midst of storms that I have run to God. Sometimes I've fled from God. Sometimes I've hid from God. Sometimes I cried out to God. Sometimes I've yelled out to God. Sometimes I felt forsaken by God. Sometimes I've been held by God. I am grateful that God is bigger than any of my feelings and actions and is more present with me than I can ever understand. I have experienced that the more grounded I am in prayer, scripture, and spiritual disciplines, the more clearly I can experience the presence of God.
I also know that there are times in life where sometimes prayer, scripture, and spiritual disciplines just don't work. When I served as a chaplain resident, I was referred to a woman at the bedside of her loved one who is dying. I walked into the room and introduced myself to her. She was numb. We sat in silence for a while until she spoke and said, "I've been a Christian all my life, and now I can't even pray." I told her, "I wonder if that is why I have been invited to be here with you. To pray on your behalf, when you cannot."
I believe that this is a piece of my calling, to pray for you and on your behalf, in the times when you cannot. I do not know all that you face today, but as you read this, if you are willing, I invite you to allow me and/or others close to you to carry some of what you are carrying. May I pray for that which you cannot pray?