How God Works Through Adversity

 

Have you ever asked yourself that ever-unanswered question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Well, don’t get your hopes up, because I’m not here to answer that—we just don’t have enough room on the internet to tackle it.

However, I can tell you how God works through bad things that happen…

He works through his people! And about a month ago, Severn Run had a taste of this. Here’s what happened:

It was a typical Wednesday morning when some of the Severn Run staff came in to work. It was shortly after the New Year, and it was quite frigid outside. As to be expected, there was some ice in the parking lot of church. However, on this particular day, there was a large cascade of ice flowing down from Severn Run’s back entrance into the parking spaces nearby. It was quickly obvious that this wasn’t just ice from the previous night’s cold temperatures.

As some of the staff members investigated the interior of the church building, they discovered more ‘fun’ surprises. It seemed that Severn Run had gotten an unexpected pool installed in the whole first floor of the building! Ok, so it wasn’t a pool, but there was about two inches of water across the entire first floor of the building.

After calling the local water damage experts, the Severn Run staff began the tedious task of moving everything off the first floor that wasn’t tacked down. It was a LOT of work, but since it was the middle of the week, pretty much anyone who could help was already at the church. After a lot of sweat, and maybe a few tears, it was eventually all done. The workers showed up later to start removing all the water and doing what needed to be done to set the church up for repair down the road. This would be where the lovely ‘airflow upgrades’ around the base of all the walls on the first floor of the building came from. Perhaps you’ve noticed?

By the time all the water was extruded from the floor and carpet on the first floor of the Severn Run campus it was Friday, and the Severn Run staff had to move everything back into place to prepare for the services on Sunday. Quite a daunting task. But, this is where God came in!

The invite went out to most of the church via social media, and oh boy did people respond! The re-setup of the church was scheduled for Saturday morning starting at 9 AM. When I arrived (slightly late) there were already about 30-40 people there. There was a desk up front for people to sign in and get assigned to teams, which would tackle different places around the church that needed help.

Pastor John, our executive pastor, was giving a quick pep talk before we got started. He spoke briefly of how they discovered the water, and how excited he was to see so many people there to give up their Saturday to help prepare the building to house Church Services on Sunday. He spoke of how important it was for us to come together because he knew that God had big plans. There were people who needed to have a place to sit on Sunday morning so they could focus on a message that God had specifically crafted for them to hear. It was inspiring to think about how such a simple thing as giving up a few hours of our weekend could have an eternal impact on the Kingdom!

Once John finished, off we went. It was a furious task to get the building back into a prepared state for Sunday, but we had a lot of help, as more people came in to support. It was probably 50 or 60 people in total.

Many people went inside the sanctuary to set up the chairs – one of the biggest tasks to do in preparation for Sunday. Other groups went to help put the kids’ areas back into place, while others helped remove trash, set up other areas, or go outside to start chipping away (literally) at the ice arena in the parking lot.

It took about three to four hours for just about all the work to be finished. The ice took the longest, and wasn’t even completely done by the time we all called it quits, but enough of it had been removed to allow people to drive through, park, and walk safely into the church on Sunday.

Sunday morning came, and the services ran without a hitch. If you attended that day and had no idea about the escapades of the previous week, about the only way you would have known would have been those ‘airflow upgrades’ that I mentioned earlier, which that are still there. Well, that and the fact that we told everyone who attended, or who viewed our services online that day. But, we told everyone because we wanted them to know that when we needed help, God responded by bringing Severn Runners in to have our back.

And, that’s exactly what God does when bad things happen.

No one can say what exactly God will or will not do when it comes to allowing bad things to happen, but it has been evident since creation that when they do happen, he calls people to respond. The pipe’s bursting at Severn Run, followed by water damage, may not fully qualify as something ‘bad’, but no matter how big or small, God responds. Sometimes God calls on others, and other times he calls to us each individually. How we respond is completely up to us. We just have to decide if we’re going to be willing.

God works through his people. Are you willing to let him use you?

 

Running The Race(s) for Severn Run

main image

Stephen Hord is taking life as a Severn Runner “On The Road” literally. Through the heat, through the pain, through the training, and by running races, he strives to raise a donation of $5000 to Severn Run’s On The Road campaign. This is his story.

About two years ago, Stephen Hord and his wife were praying about finding a church close to their home. Although they drove past the church entrance often, one day God tugged on their hearts about visiting The Church at Severn Run. So they did. 

“We walked in and it felt like home so quickly,” Stephen shares. “We even ran into two families we knew.”

Stephen also says that he especially loved the church because we have Run in our name, and the congregation is referred to as Severn Runners.

“There are two activities that I love more than anything else; playing guitar and running,” said Stephen. “I feel most alive and closest to God when I’m out on the road and trails running with praise songs in my ears, (although don’t ask me to repeat that at mile 9 of a race--God is usually carrying me by then!)” he adds. “Long-distance running is such an accurate metaphor for the faith journey…I think this is why it’s one of Paul’s favorite illustrations in his letters to the churches.”

You may have seen Stephen on stage with the worship team, playing guitar. He has been giving music as his offering since coming to Christ. But when he heard about “On the Road” and the church’s mission to become a church of 5,000 believers, he knew he wanted to do more.

“Something was stirring in me to do more, something new, to use my love of running for the Kingdom. That is why throughout the year of 2017 I am running 32 races covering more than 262 miles ‘On the Road for The Church at Severn Run.’”

Because the mileage is the equivalent to 10 full marathons, Stephen has playfully nicknamed this his #yearofinsanity2017.

As we strive to be a church that reaches 5,000 people with the love of Jesus, Stephen has set a goal of raising $5,000 where each dollar represents one person who may or may not know that Jesus loves them.

This hasn’t been an easy endeavor for Stephen. He has fought physical pain, emotional upheaval, and the struggle of keeping his eyes fixed on the task God has set before him.

“Earlier this year, I had a string of difficult races and I even considered throwing in the towel in the middle of one. Then, late in the morning at mile 10 of a half marathon, two visions came rushing into my mind. First, the feeding of the 5,000 reminded me that there are still so many people who are looking to be fed with the miraculous love of Jesus. Then, my mind’s eye saw Jesus carrying the cross. I realized that no amount of temporary pain or discomfort or difficulty that I was experiencing would have stopped Him from his mission. I knew I had to press on. Acts 20:24 says it beautifully. ‘But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly the gospel of the grace of God.’” 

God is teaching him so much as he strives to stay faithful to this calling.

“The mantra I’ve adopted is “Run as far as you can, then take another step,” said Stephen. “It’s only by faith in His strength can I do anything. Proverbs 4:12 promises, ‘When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble.’” He holds on to that one.

Stephen needs help to reach his goal of raising $5000.

He has been faithful to his running, and he is looking for others who will also be faithful to God’s tug on their hearts. Stephen is asking for prayer from everyone, as what he is doing takes a toll on the body. He is also asking for donations so he can do what God is asking of him and donate a dollar to On The Road for every member and potential member of our church of 5000.

You can follow Stephen on Facebook (@ facebook.com/thumper135) to see when he races and share your prayers and encouragement.

Please also visit this page  to donate, learn more about Stephen and see his finish times and upcoming races.

 

Read Severn Run Stories, be inspired, and stay up to date with what's happening here!