April 19 – Thus Far Has the Lord Helped Us

I am back from twelve renewing and revitalizing days in California visiting friends and family and attending the West Coast Presbyterian Pastors Conference as I do eight days after Easter most years.

I told you before I left about the “log in” tradition at the conference. The first night together we are asked to summarize the previous year in our lives using just one word (and a two minute explanation). I also asked any of you who might be willing to do so to share your word with me – and part of the deal was that I would then share my word with you. Around 25 of you took me up on my offer and each word, each a treasured gift.

So we exchanged our words, gift to be kept and guarded. And since our words are gifts to each other, it is not mine to share the names of the givers or any of the details, but let me give you the list of the words. Even with no names or stories attached, they are a chorus of praise to the God who was intimately involved with every minute of every hour of the year from eight days after Easter last year to the same time this year. Here are the words you shared:

  • Overwhelming (twice)
  • Tumultuous
  • Moving
  • Yay!
  • Waiting
  • Emboldened
  • Blessed
  • Discovery
  • Gratitude
  • Best
  • Freedom
  • Flexibility
  • Challenging
  • Joy
  • Re-enlisted
  • Trust
  • Heartburn
  • Fifty
  • Patience
  • Juxtaposition
  • Listening
  • Thanks
  • Change (twice)
  • Juggle

After God gave the Israelites a mighty victory over the Philistines, Samuel made a monument of a great stone he called Ebenezer and said, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”

Behind each of those words describing a year is a story, your story – not mine to tell, of “thus far.” For some of us the year from Easter to Easter was hard and confusing, for others the journey was filled with joy and accomplishment. Whatever the particulars of your path or mine, faith calls us to say, “thus far has the Lord helped us.”

For those of us on this side of glory, the journey is not yet over and until it is we keep on going, day by day, month by month, year by year, knowing that God will help us to the next day, the next month, the next year.

“Thus far” might be a good word (or two) for next year. But I think I will wait until next year to choose a word to describe how God will have helped me get to the “thus far” to which I will arrive by eight days after Easter, 2014.

And by the way, the offer still stands. Share your word and I will share mine. Think of it as a gift exchange.

See you Sunday.