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I'm Coming With You

Posted by Jane Lewis on

By Jane Lewis --

“Stop! I want to get off! Life isn’t supposed to be like this!" I wonder if Adam and Eve ever said that to themselves or to each other. Certainly not while they were in the beauty of the Garden of Eden and enjoying intimate fellowship with God, but after their fall, no doubt. Every aspect of their lives changed—except that they continued to be loved by their Creator. God never stopped loving
them, and thankfully—gratefully—He never stops loving us.

Greetings my friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! “To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance” (Jude 1: 1-2).
“…Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come…” (Revelation 1:4).

And now I say to you, “to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Portland, Tigard, Beaverton, King City, Sherwood, West Linn, Oregon City, Clackamas, Happy Valley, Milwaukie, Canby, Scappose, Mollala, Lake Oswego, Tualatin, Aurora, Hillsboro, Aloha, Newberg, Klamath Falls, Bend, Hermiston, Prineville, Vancouver, Ryderwood, West Bloomfield…and the world: Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (A Lewis paraphrase of 1 Peter 1:1).

As I was asked to write this blog, my thoughts went out to all of you. It’s been so long since I’ve seen our community together that I just felt a need to greet you in the name of Jesus. As I did this, I felt I was getting a glimpse into how it must have felt for some of the writers of the Epistles as they greeted believers in the early church who they could not see in person. The sense of urgency to connect with other believers, to remind, encourage, and to spur other believers on in the name of Jesus was of utmost importance to these early writers.

There were so many distractions and difficulties that many were losing perspective, they were losing hope. They were forgetting the truth of Jesus. Does this at all sound familiar to what many are experiencing today? In a way, I feel like Sam in The Lord of the Rings: “‘I wonder what sort of tale we have fallen into.’” We are experiencing a serious world-wide pandemic that I never imagined would hit us in the United States. Political and civil unrest is occurring throughout our nation, in our very own cities, and even causing dissension in some of our families and/or inner circles of friends. People are being treated unjustly and many are in financial ruin. People are hurting, fearful, without hope.

Now I have certainly read about catastrophic events and relationship issues happening in Biblical times. I’ve read about unrest, health, and other crises happening in other parts of the world, and read about those things that have happened in our own nation’s history. I have personally experienced times of
crises in my own life and in the lives of others. But I naively, never thought that all these things would be happening at the magnitude they are in our world today, in our country today, in our very lives today. And yet, why am I surprised? First Peter 4:12-13 tells us,

Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. Instead, be really glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed” (TLB).

So what do we as Christ-followers do? One of the dialogues in J.R.R.Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings between Frodo, a hobbit whose quest it is to destroy a Ring that epitomizes the power of evil, and Gandalf, a wizard, goes like this:

Frodo: “‘I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.’”
Gandalf: “‘So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’”

I’m with Frodo. I wish all this craziness that is happening here and now was not happening. I don’t like it one bit, and yet God is allowing it, so my responsibility is to decide what I am going to do with the time that is given to me. What will I allow or choose to be my focus? Will I focus on events, other people, my own fears? Or will I place my focus on the Blessed Controller of all things and how I can be Jesus to others?

One of the things I do know, and am ever so grateful for, is that I do not have to step into this journey on my own. Jesus is always, always with me. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them [circumstances, people, my own thoughts, etc…] for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). We can be confident, always, that we have not been forsaken or abandoned by God. There are times in our lives, however, where the road we’re on is so hard that we don’t feel that confidence. We find ourselves in crisis mode and we need, even though we may not necessarily want, someone to come alongside us and be Jesus in the flesh.

That thought brings to mind another analogy from Lord of the Rings. Frodo has decided he needs to go on the treacherous quest where evil abounds on his own because it’s too dangerous for anyone to accompany him. He has gotten into a boat and is rowing away from the shore when his best friend Sam finds him and runs into the water after him. Sam does not want Frodo to go on alone, he wants to be at his side.

Frodo: “No Sam, I’m going to Mordor alone.’”
Sam: “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you!”

Later on in the story, when Frodo cannot physically go on, and yet he’s the only one that can take the Ring to where it needs to go to be destroyed, Sam is crying and says, “Come on Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” And he does that very thing. Oh, how these two scenes remind me of what our church’s Stephen’s Ministry is all about.

Dear friends, this is not an easy time for any of us. In addition to the present crises in our nation and how they are impacting us, many of us are experiencing other personal hardships as well. Financial strain, health issues—either our own or others—relationship strains, divorce, school, issues with our children, empty nest, death of loved ones, job transitions or terminations, aging, pregnancy or miscarriage, and the list goes on.
Our church’s Stephen Ministry is made up of people who have been trained to meet with you one-on-one to walk alongside you as you go through these difficult times. This is our passion. I can hear each Stephen minister say to you in whatever you’re going through, “….and I’m coming with you!” Stephen Ministers are not the ones to solve your problems or to tell you what to do, but they are there to walk alongside you, help you process and help carry you through the moment you’re in. You don’t have to go it alone. You were never meant to.

If you would like someone to come alongside you, or perhaps it is your passion to learn how to be a Stephen Minister and have the privilege of walking alongside others and being Jesus to them, please contact Stephen Ministry at or call the church office at 503-452-9375, and someone will get in touch with you.

This coming Sunday, we all have an opportunity to be Jesus to our community as we gather together in one of the two in-person worship services. Please remember to show respect and compassion to each person present. Wear your mask and be sure to maintain a safe physical distance. I know this will be hard
for many of us who might like to hug or shake hands with people we haven’t seen for awhile, but we need to put others’ well-being in front of our own. Many are still very concerned about contracting the virus, so let us all be aware, sensitive, and understanding to each person’s comfort zone. Here’s a cute video I came across as I was doing my online preparation for the start of school. May it serve as a light-hearted reminder for us to keep a safe distance and be respectful to others.

God bless you Greater Portland Bible Church! Here’s to persevering together in whatever comes our way, and looking forward to the day when “…you (we) will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.” And now, I leave you with this. “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

All Glory and Honor be to our God!


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Anonymous Sep 11, 2020 5:33pm

Jane How eloquint you are. Great words to help and sustain us all. Miss GPBC and all our friends. Love Marilynn Linscheid.