Where do We go from Here?
By NMC - March 1, 2018
Posted in Adult Ministry, Discipleship, You'll Get Through This
When our You’ll Get Through This series began, the temperatures were well below freezing. In the weeks following, Northern Indiana would experience weeks of negative degrees, a massive blizzard that forced both schools and businesses to close, heavy fog that blanketed the entire region, and a crazy amount of rain that would lead to flooding in most counties. And now at the end of our study, there is a hint of spring the air. This week, we enjoyed 60 degree temperatures and blue skies. It’s interesting to see how this winter season has served as a reminder of our first study of 2018.
Over these last eight weeks, we have dived deeply into the life of Joseph. For many of us, it was a look into a story we’ve heard a hundred times. For others, it was brand new. No matter our prior knowledge, this series was a lesson on forgiveness, reconciliation, default mechanisms, trust, the upper story, true inner healing, and so much more.
Perhaps the most impactful part of this series was the personal stories of a few in the NMC family. Do you remember Randy Neeley’s story in week one? Randy lost his wife to cancer in 2015 and has spent years healing from this loss. The days have gotten easier, but sometimes it feels as if it was just yesterday that he and his wife were dreaming about their future together. Randy’s You’ll Get Through This story is one of anger and loneliness in the midst of a deep and painful loss. Yet, his story is also one of trusting God’s bigger picture even when his reality felt too difficult for words.
Do you remember the story of Rod and Angie Tackett? After losing their daughter in a miscarriage after only 10 weeks, they became pregnant again. This time, the pregnancy progressed well. Rod and Angie prepared for Aviden, which means “God is just and merciful.” But at a routine doctor’s appointment at 38 weeks, there was silence; the baby didn’t have a heartbeat. Angie delivered Aviden a short time later, and the couple buried their second daughter. Their story—one of heartbreak and tears—is one that is also hopeful. Their journey has not been easy or simple or graceful, but with the help of family, friends, and the promises found in Scripture, Rod and Angie are finding their way. Bit by bit, the Lord is healing their hearts, reminding them of the joy found in the beautiful, everyday moments they encounter, reminding them that they will get to see their daughters some day in Heaven.
Do you remember the story of the Davis family? Do you remember Trisha Rouch’s story? Do you remember Kate Miller’s story? Have these stories given you the courage to welcome others into your own story? Over the weeks, we’ve heard people say, “I had no idea people at my church were walking through situations like this.”
At a church the size of NMC, it can be easy to slip in and out, just another person in a sea of people trying to navigate through the Grand Hall. Even if you are part of a Small Church, it can be easy to dive only so deep, scared of opening up to others, scared of vulnerability. If this series has shown us one thing, though, it’s that we all have faced, are facing, or will face a “this,” a situation that pushes us to the end of ourselves. These situations aren’t painless. They aren’t quick, but God uses every mess for good.
In the meantime, don’t journey alone.
Invite others into your mess. Share it with them with vulnerability, honesty, and courage. Your steps into authenticity just may lend someone the courage to step into authenticity, too.
So where do we go from here? The series is over, but you still may be in the thick of your journey. You may still repeat the rally cry multiple times a day. In fact, you may have taken a whole stack of “rally cry” cards. One may be in your car. One may be in your bathroom. Another may be in your office. The days may be long and hard, and you may need to be surrounded by the truth that you will get through this. If you are not in this scenario, if life is going well or you’re just leaving a hard season, you will eventually find yourself in difficulty again. Let’s take a cue from Joseph and prepare for a life that holds onto Jesus.
- Create default mechanisms. What are the truths that will sustain you when the challenges come? What are the verses, quotes, books, and prayers that will be your default on the days when it feels like your world is falling apart? Develop those now.
- Invite people into the mess. Practice vulnerability, and invite trustworthy people into your life. These relationships will be life-giving and sustaining when the challenges come. They will be the ones to pray with you, laugh with you, cry with you, support you, encourage you, and challenge you. Vulnerability is hard, but walking alone is harder and incredibly dangerous.
- Bookmark helpful resources. During this series, our team created a devotional, a list of recommended resources, videos of stories, a podcast series, and more. You can find all of these on our website and app. Let these resources support you well into the future. If you want to find these resources on the app after the series is over, just click on “Sermon Resources” on the homepage.
- Hold tightly to the rally cry. Carry the “rally cry” card with you or post it in your home. Give it to friends who are facing difficult circumstances. Commit it to memory. Allow the truth of the words to be an anchor of hope in the midst of pain, uncertainty, loss, and challenges. If you didn’t pick up a card or need more, stop by the Ministry Center and our staff would be more than happy to give you as many as you need.
Difficulties will come. We will walk through challenges, hardships, and pain, but never forget—
“You’ll get through this.
It won’t be painless.
It won’t be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
In the meantime, don’t be foolish or naïve.
But don’t despair either.
With God’s help you will get through this.”*
*Taken from [You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times] by [Max Lucado] Copyright©  by [Max Lucado]. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.