Words of
Encouragement & Hope
Submitted by Rev. Larry Gerber

The Storms of Life
I remember many thunderstorms on the farm in New York State that were very frightening. The lightning was so bright and the thunderclaps were so loud and violent that our old two-story farm house would shake and rattle.

In the middle of the night my mom and dad would huddle us kids with them in the middle of the big living room. The lights would flicker and usually go out. My mom would light a candle and share some comforting words such as: "God is having a bowling match" or some story that sounded comforting to us kids. After some time, the heavens would get quieter, the thunder would roll in the distance. The storm was subsiding and the rains usually followed. My dad would say that the rain was needed to help our crops grow. We felt at peace and went back to bed. I would go back to sleep wondering: Did God have lights? or was he bowling in the dark? I would smile and drift off to sleep.

The next morning would bring the smell of refreshing rain. The sun would come out. The birds would be singing and the cattle would seem calmer and more content. There would be other storms. The lights would go out again. The storms would roll through and there would be calm after the storm.
As your pastor from 2006 - 2011, we faced many storms in the church and in our personal lives. We faced the storms together. Sometimes we would wonder if there would be peace again. Our lives would be turned upside down. It was as if someone put us in a snow globe and shook us so violently that it seemed all was lost. But then things would calm down because we realized that God was holding the globe. He would hold the globe steady. The swirling storm would subside and God would say: "Your world is turned upside down right now, but fear not. I am holding you in my hand. This storm will pass. I bring you a peace that passes all understanding."

Our lights went out in March this year. We are living through another storm. The candle is burning. We feel its warmth and see its glow. It has been one of the worst storms of our life, but God holds in His hand. It is well with my soul and we will once again smell the refreshing rain after the storm. Peace be with you. Not as the world gives, but the Peace that I give to you.

Pastor Larry