“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”
Please don’t tell anyone, but I’m a wrestling fan. I was indoctrinated at an early age, sitting alongside my grandfather on Saturday afternoons, both six inches from the TV set, cheering the heroes and booing the heels. Upon learning that wrestling was in the Bible, imagine my amazement—WHAT?
On the eve of his rematch with his brother Esau, our heel (grabber), conniver and schemer, Jacob, is confronted by the angel. Jacob, unwilling to submit, receives his comeuppance in the form of God’s blessing, and his wrestling days are ended. I oversimplify, but the point is that submission to God is good for us. In our stubbornness and self-assured vanity, we plot our paths on a map of our design. But to what end? Without God, we are lost.
In our cover story, An audience of one, Phil Gunther writes, “As disciples, we can run into a conflict of interest—a conflict of loyalty—if we are not careful in our discernment. Are we seeking to appease others at the cost of pleasing the Lord? Gaining the approval of others can easily come at the expense of honouring the Lord.” I often seek other’s approval without first seeking God’s blessing. Can anyone else relate?
All too often, we play to the crowd, searching for belonging and an identity based on unrealistic earthly standards and expectations. On page 17 (In search of a better I-don’t-ity), Nikki White challenges us to seek our truest selves in submission to God and a desire to be in the image of Jesus Christ.
As we witness the devastating casualties in both Israel and Gaza, we feel overwhelmed and helpless. However, we must remember the promises in Psalm 46 that God is our refuge, strength, and ever-present help in times of trouble. Even though it may seem like everything around us is falling apart, we are called to pray for peace in the midst of war. Let us pray to God who “breaks the bow and shatters the spear,” and who “burns the shields with fire” (Psalm 46:9).
We cling today to the words of the psalmist in verse 10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The articles in this issue are all about being still and submitting ourselves to this great God whom we believe in faith will one day be fully exalted among the nations and all wars will cease.
I extend gratitude to Phil, Nikki, and all who have penned articles in this month’s issue. Thank you, reader, for supporting MB Herald Digest and engaging in deep, sometimes challenging topics with grace and wisdom.
By the way, if you plan to be in the Abbotsford area October 26-28 and want to wrestle with the question, “Why Church? Why MB?” there’s still time to register for EQUIP 2023. Visit equip.mennonitebrethren.ca for more information.
Carson Samson, Communications Director