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A Great Expectation!

I must confess that as I approach my blog this week, I am a little distracted, well maybe a lot distracted. This has been another challenging week of ministry on a personal level as last Sunday afternoon I got a call from my son Matt, while he was at work, that my daughter Lisa in Michigan had been attacked by the two pit bulls that she had been caring for over the last few months. Lisa’s injuries were very serious and would have been life-threatening if not for the actions of my grandson Tyler, who pulled the two dogs off of his mom. I am very grateful that both my son Matthew and my daughter Ashley made it a priority to go out and be with their sister in Michigan. I am dealing with personal stuff that made it impossible for me to go and my wife Debbie has just returned to work after three months on disability. So, I give thanks to the Lord for the promptness of my two children in swiftly driving to be with Lisa. Matt will be staying in Michigan until February 17, when he’ll be flying back, with Lisa likely driving by that time.

The other part of this challenging week for me is moving my mom from assisted living, where she has been for the last four years, to a nursing home facility in Edison. This was a very difficult decision and when I go to be with her later today (Friday) I will have deep sadness as I take her out of Clara Barton, knowing that she will never be returning there. It’s not that Clara Barton was such a great place (it wasn’t), but it was the place where my mom’s been for the last four years. I had a strong feeling at Christmas time in 2022 that this step was going to be necessary. In fact, I spoke with the director of Clara Barton and told him I didn’t think the level of care they were providing was enough to keep my mom safe. He insisted that they can provide the care she needed, but in January she had six falls. It’s only a small miracle that my mom never broke anything. That is the catalyst for this decision.

I’m reminded in times like these, when we don’t really know what the best thing to do is, where my proper focus should be. Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”, (Phil.4:6,7 NKJV). I thank the Lord this week for being with my mom over the last month and particularly protecting her in the number of falls she has experienced. I’m thankful for her doctor from Clara Barton reaching out to me and telling me, “Your mom’s not getting the care she needs here and needs to be in a nursing home”. Her doctor was instrumental in getting this move in motion and I’m thankful for her providing direction and guidance to me. I’m thankful for the availability of Matt and Ashley and that my daughter Lisa is recovering rather quickly from the traumatic experience she has just been through. I continue to pray for her financial needs, as she had just quit her job on Friday, due to an incident with her boss. My daughter Lisa turns 40 on Tuesday and I hope that this terrible experience will be a catalyst to her calling out to the Lord and encountering His love and kindness in the midst of her brokenness. I’m thankful for Ashley’s safe return and look forward to picking Matt up next Friday and hearing about continued improvement regarding Lisa’s condition. Most of all I’m thankful that I can bring my petitions and request to the living God of the universe and trust that the peace of God will work in my heart and life, even in the face of these difficulties.

When we have a living relationship with the sovereign God of the universe, we can always trust that God in His wisdom and power will continue to bring good things out of difficult events in our lives. Rejoicing in the Lord and spending time in His Word are great antidotes for anxiety. In fact, in this same chapter, Paul states, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Phil.4:4 NKJV). Remember that when Paul wrote these words, he was in a Roman prison, very uncertain as to what would happen to him next. I’m not sure what God is going to do next in my life, but I do believe that all difficulties are within God’s purpose and should result in a spirit of gratitude in my heart to God for the accomplishment of His will, even through our difficulties. I hope that you will find that trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised never to leave us or forsake us, is one of the greatest treasures any of us could ever possess. I’m reminded of the fact that our God is the God who can take our stumbling blocks and turn them into stepping stones. I hope that you have experienced God showing up in miraculous ways in your spiritual journey as well.

Rejoicing in the Savior,

Pastor Rich Sivo

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