Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
She was born “Anna Mary Robertson” in 1860 and lived to be 101 years old. By the age of eighty, though she loved needle work, she could no longer handle an embroidery needle because of the pain of arthritis. Rather than give up, she taught herself painting. She painted over 1600 paintings in 21 years, many resembling needle work.
When she was just beginning to paint, her sister told a famous art collector that ten paintings were ready. As it turned out, she only had nine, so the artist carefully cut a painting in half. After meeting with the collector, she became quite famous. In fact, Anna Mary Robertson, who married Thomas Moses, appeared on the cover Time Magazine in December 1953. She was called “Grandma Moses.” (The painting included here is “A Beautiful World.”)
The first words of M. Scott Peck’s book, “The Road Less Traveled” are: “Life is hard.” That’s often true. The great truth that believers understand and experience is that God is with us, inspiring us through the storms of life, even through the “valley of the shadow of death.”
God is with us when life is easy. God is with us when life is hard. God’s Holy Spirit will inspire us to endure and be creative.
The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to struggle. He suffered beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment. But he knew that God
was always with him!
As Christians, we’re called to live our lives with determination, as we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. In our afflictions, we know we won’t be crushed. We don’t despair. We know that God won’t forsake us.
While in prison, Paul was saying: “People are being saved. I get new guards everyday and they come to believe in Jesus. Even people that are part of the family of Caesar are being saved! Trust that, in every situation, God will be glorified!”
Joseph of the Old Testament ended up as a slave and in prison. At the end of the story, he told his brothers (who abandoned him and sold him as a slave): “what you meant for evil, God has meant for good.”
Queen Esther knew that it was “for such a time as this” that God put her where she needed to be to help accomplish God’s mission for the people.
God is with us in all our afflictions (whether arthritis or grief, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual pain). Even in the midst of those afflictions, we can still be part of God’s mission. We never give up! Even in our deepest struggles, God will be glorified The ultimate victory belongs to God. We get to participate in that victory!
When life is easy, God is with us. When life is hard, God is with us. Realizing and remembering that is a daily blessing!