Persevering Friendship

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For Lord’s Day, March 6, 201644df758b67a602db160356b3bca3d69a

Dear Saints,

I was impressed with something I recently heard a celebrated American composer and singer-songwriter share that I’d like to pass on to you, my friends and brethren:

I’ve had hopeless times in my life about different things, and you just have to persevere, because one day that door does open and if you don’t persevere you won’t be there when it does. – Carol King

One of Ms. King’s songs, “Beautiful”, closes with these words as what would seem to be her life’s motto as she described above:

I have often asked myself the reason for sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby
If there’s any answer, maybe love can end the madness
Maybe not, oh, but we can only try

You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel

Of course, you all are beautiful because you are a new creature in Christ. So I think of all people we Christians can live out those words to “Beautiful” most fully with Christ in view. We don’t always feel beautiful, but as we look to Christ and one another we can anew. Because you are beautiful, beloved. I think of your collective inner beauty so often displayed as you continue on with one another through thick and thin submitting to the Word of God. As I think of the theme verse to Matthew Henry’s Quest in our Wednesday Night studies together, I deeply cherish your … ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:4).

Seeing ourselves in Christ as His betrothed wife, let us be motivated to keep our hand to the plow in and out of season as one beloved body knowing that while we often sow in tears we shall always reap in joy. Or as Paul put it, … let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall always eap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:8-9)

I’ve been meditating on the following verses recently about holding fast to overcome together in and for Christ:

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:6-10)

Notice how we persevere: together as one. For, A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity; and, A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24)

Indeed, indeed. How thankful are we that Jesus Christ calls us His friends and brethren and promises to never leave us nor forsake us (John 15:14; Hebrews 2:11-12, 13:5). And beloved, as you have continually shown in word and deed to my family and me through our troubling times, let me say on behalf of the Van Leuvens to all of you (in what I trust is only review):

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

In the tapestry of His providence, though the Lord at times closes a door to us we trust that He will at other times open another wide, and I look forward to being here together to walk through them hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, when He does.

For Christ and His Kingdom,

Pastor Grant

PS: Another thing Ms. King said I think we all can use a reminder about is this: “… don’t fail to try, because if you don’t try, you can’t succeed.”

And on a lighter note, and for a fun factoid, I was surprised to learn that when she composed the music for, “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”, it was to accompany the lyrics that her song-writing partner and husband at the time, Gerry Goffin, had written—men can empathize! 🙂 Incidentally, he got the idea for the song while walking out of a building in New York City and another man and friend passing by in a car yelled out to him through the window, “Why don’t you write a song called ‘Natural Woman’?”