By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
There is so much uncertainty swirling about our world it’s very hard to not get anxious, frustrated, and angry. Whether I look at our nation, our denomination, our church, or my own life, I really wish I had more answers.
There were several questions regarding ARC, our classis, and our church in the voting results from Sunday. I can answer some…
Other questions are more difficult. A handful of questions were about the other RCA churches in our area.
I don’t really know with any certainty what they may do. I recently found out that one church is much closer to leaving than I thought, and another is much further from leaving than I thought. My guess is that all the churches wish they knew better what they are going to do or should do.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible addresses these uncertain times… In Matthew 14:22-36, Jesus “made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side.” They make it a ”considerable distance from land,” so it’s not worth going back. However the wind is against them and the waves are slamming into the boat. Maybe they were rowing, maybe they gave up. Uncertainty about their future must have been circling around their heads.
In the midst of their questioning, Jesus comes to them walking on the water and says, “take courage!” After the individual encounter with Peter, Jesus gets in the boat and calms the wind.
We must remember that in the storm, Jesus commands us to take courage, that is, to trust Him with a cheerful heart ready to live by faith. Jesus says the same thing to the disciples shortly before he is arrested and crucified. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So, whether you're stressing over the political drama in D.C., the division in the RCA, or the turmoil in your life, Jesus gives you the simple command to take courage. Stop worrying. Don’t be afraid. Trust that Jesus put you in this boat and in this storm. He is not far off, and he will calm the wind.
I would also note that it seems from verse 34 that they took some time to row or sail to shore. There was much more to their journey than this one challenge, but together with Jesus, they brought light into the darkness. They brought hope and life to the world.
Will you jump in the boat with other believers and do your part to encourage one another to “take courage!”
Lord, help us take our eyes off the waves and focus on you, the master of the universe and King of our hearts. Reassure us of our destiny and your power to guide us through the storms. Amen.
An extra note on other churches…
Alto has been in an intentional process to address concerns with the RCA for over 2 years. There was a lot of conversation and work well before that. Other churches have been consumed with finding a pastor, resolving conflict, navigating COVID, creating stability, maintaining facilities, shepherding the aging, and/or reaching their community. Dealing with discipline and governance issues in the denomination are not all that relevant to their daily ministry, so it’s no wonder they table it for another day. From the stand point of the 5 churches in our classis that have already left, we’ve been slow to move, too. The churches I know in our classis, stand on the truth, but need time to process and figure out how to apply it in their church. We must put their faces on the RCA, not some unknown villain we believe is out to destroy Christian faith. Let’s keep showing grace and truth.
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