In order for you to understand this thought, you’ll first have to take a look at the photo that goes with it. You looked at it, great! I think this is a pretty cool photo of me. This photo was taken at the 2019 LCMS National Youth Gathering just 2 months ago. It was my first Gathering as a Pastor and therefore my first time serving communion at the Gathering. Now at first glance, this looks like a candid photo. Perhaps one that looks like I am in some sort of deep thought about the fact that I have an opportunity to serve communion to some of the 22,000 youth in the stadium around me. But in reality, in the moments before this photo, I noticed the photographer snapping photos and apparently this was the “pose” I decided to strike. Not sure why I didn’t smile, but let me tell you, I was so excited!
I was excited because I felt so honored to have the opportunity to serve communion to some of the youth. I was excited because the Gathering had been such an incredible experience. I was excited because Lauren and I were getting ready to move to Maryland, where God called me to serve my first congregation. I was excited because after all the time spent in classrooms and studying and playing soccer, I would finally get to start working as a Pastor. There was a lot of excitement going on in my life when this photo was taken.
Fast forward to right now, it’s been just over a month and let me tell you, I am even more excited! The people at St. Andrew have been so great to Lauren and me. We have been feeling the love since we arrived and it has only added to our joy. And of course, there are so many incredible things going on here and I am excited to be part of this great ministry.
However, I am also aware that this excitement might fade. Not every day is going to be as exciting as the first. And not every moment is going to lead to great joy. In fact, there are going to be some days that are downright sad. In a world that is full of brokenness and sinfulness, that is one of the harsh realities. And yet, when I look back at this photo, I see the banner next to me and the words on the banner: Real. Present. God.
Although some days might be full of excitement and some days will be full of sadness, the reality is that EVERYDAY we have a Real. Present. God. Just as it says in Scripture, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1. This is God’s promise to us. That he is real, and he is present. Not only when things are exciting, and not only when things are sad, but ALL the time. We have a God who promises to be with us throughout our lives and honestly, nothing is more exciting than that.