(Disclaimer: I'm not too sure if this will make sense, but it helped me to write it. So I apologize if I confuse you).
We have been visiting a church here in Tucson called Faith Community Church. We decided on this one because it is about 3 blocks from our apartment, and we have stayed because week after week, I am moved by what the pastor is teaching.
I feel blessed that during our most difficult times this past year, we have been assured of God's love consistently through sermons at church (in other ways too, but this is just one very meaningful affirmation of His promise). In the early parts of 2009 when Rhett first lost his job, found a new one, and we prepared to move to a new state, our Pastor was also preparing for his appointment to the El Paso district which required an out of state move that he and his family were not initially excited about. He preached about change, about God's plan not always being our initial plan, and trusting in Him even when things are incredibly overwhelming. That helped see me though the most difficult part of the move, the unknowns of jobs, house selling, and financials. And indeed God brought us through.
The sermons from the pastor at Faith Community Church have really touched my heart during the difficulty of dealing with Steve's (Rhett's Step dad) death. This past Sunday specifically, we had a guest speaker named Richard Exley. He started the message with personal stories of heartache, sadness, and death, but with ever sad story he talked about how God had worked in his life and brought him through it. Most specifically, he talked about how God places people in your life. He talked about how even though friends and family can't fix your problem or take your pain away, that they are placed in your life to support you through the worst times.
I can't tell you how important my family and friends have been to us during this time. The multitude of prayers that have been directed our way when we were looking for jobs, trying to sell our house, moving, and trying to make sense of Steve's death have been a comfort during this time. Without all of you, I don't know what we would have done. Even though you couldn't take that hardship, pain, and sadness from us, you were there when we needed someone to pray for us, to just let us cry, or to give us a hug. We could never express our gratitude fully and I pray we can be the kind of friend you need at your most difficult time.
To end with, Pastor Exley also gave an additional side to his message. He said that even though those closest to us can't take away that pain, Someone already has taken that pain from us.
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ took all our sin and pain (past, present, and future) upon Himself. He knows the pain we feel, the hardships we are experiencing, because He has felt it all Himself.
Praise God that we have our family, friends, and Jesus.
And indeed, He will bring us through the fire!