Where’s God in Tough Times?

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I’ll always remember April 9, 2014.

Early that morning, a young man walked into our local high school and stabbed twenty of his classmates before the day even began. I’ve always struggled with things like that because they just don’t make sense. But even more than that, I struggle with those kinds of things as a “man of faith” because I can’t figure-out why God doesn’t just step onto the scene and stop senseless tragedies. Where is God when crazy and unexpected things are happening in the world? Where is God when hurricanes destroy the lives of innocent people and when a gunman shoots hundreds of people from a hotel window? That’s the question that we consider in this week’s message: “Where’s God in Tough Times?”.

It’s easy to imagine God as a great comforter in the midst of tragedy, but it’s harder to see God in people who say, “What’s going on right now isn’t right, and this is what we need to do to set things straight.” It’s easy to see God in all of the helpers who extend themselves to those who have been injured, but it’s harder to see the Christ in the faces of the people who are suffering. And yet, God’s found in all of those places.

“Where’s God in Tough Times?” is a message that’s been written to help you to see God’s presence in places where people don’t usually look during difficult times. It’s a message that calls us to look for God’s presence in places where we usually miss God when things in our lives and in the world get crazy. “Where’s God in Tough Times?” is a message that will help you to start seeing God in four different places during difficult and challenging times, and it’s a message that might even help you to see how God can use you to help our world become a better place.


A Special Hurricane Harvey Appeal

Fire Picture

(the former home of Debbie Tysarczky and her family)

In this week’s edition of “Read Through the Bible,” I’d like to lift-up a special concern, and the immediate needs of a very, special lady and her family.

St. James tells us: “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by actions, is dead” (James 2:17); and, the refrain of an old song continues to remind us that they’ll know we are Christians by our love. Faith and good deeds are intimately connected. As we’re reading through the Bible, we’re reminded of God’s great love for us and of God’s command to love each other as He has loved us. One of the ways that we can do that is by joining hands, and offering our care and support to people with special and immediate needs.

Hurricane Harvey has caused devastating destruction in southern regions of the United States. Homes have been flooded. People have lost their belongings. Flooding has caused gas lines to rupture; and, when that happens, even the last remnants of damaged homes are destroyed by unstoppable fires.

A friend of mine, Keith, told me today that his sister, Debbie Tysarczky, and her family lost their home and all of their belongings because of the flooding in Friendswood, Texas. The house that they once occupied was flooded and needed to be abandoned – and, then, the house was destroyed when a gas line ruptured and a fire was ignited. Debbie and her family have been left without a place to live and with very few personal belongings.

I understand that Debbie’s story is simply one of many, and that we’ve all been offered many different opportunities to offer financial support to those whose lives have been disrupted; however, I also know that some of us like the “one-on-one feel” of giving our support to a specific person (or family) that we know – at least by name. That’s why I’m making this special appeal.

We’re collecting money for Debbie’s family through a “Family Fund” at Christ’s Lutheran Church and will be sending 100% of the money that we receive in response to this special appeal to Debbie and her family. We will be collecting the money for a three-week period that ends on September 24, 2017 – and will be forwarding the money we collect to Debbie (and her family) during the next week.

If you would like to support this special appeal, this is what you need to do:

  • Take some time to pray for Debbie and her family, and to ask God how He can use you to change the lives of Debbie and her family members through your prayers and generous financial support of this appeal.
  • Write a check to: “Christ’s Lutheran Church” and be sure to include “Debbie Tysarczky Appeal” on the comment line of the check; or, you can simply send your gift of love through the “Give Now” link on the Christ’s Lutheran Church website. Be sure to mark any gift that you send: “Debbie Tysarcsky Appeal.”
  • If you decide to write a check, you can mail the check to: Debbie Tysarczky Appeal, c/o Christ’s Lutheran Church, 5330 Logans Ferry Road, Murrysville, PA 15668

I will provide an accurate accounting of all money that’s been collected and that’s been dispersed during this special appeal, and a printed accounting of money collected and dispersed will be available through the Church Office. I will, also, post an accounting of funds received and dispersed on this blog.

Thank you for considering of this special appeal for Debbie and her family during a time when the needs in people’s lives are both significant and overwhelming. Together, we truly continue to do “God’s Work with Our Hands.”

Here are this week’s “Read Through the Bible” readings:

Sunday: Philippians 3-4 – Monday: Leviticus 10-12 – Tuesday: 2 Kings 1-5 – Wednesday: Psalms 78-80 – Thursday: Proverbs 8-9 – Friday: Ezekiel 19-24 – Saturday: Luke 17-18