Grace Notes: Our Protector
Dear Grace Family,
Am I showing my age when I mention the classic Steinbeck novel, “Of Mice and Men?” This book is named loosely for a poem that says in part “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Gang aft a-gley,” or translated, the best laid plans of mice and men can still go wrong.
The poem, “To A Mouse” was written by one of the most famous writers of all times, Robert Burns. He was often called the Scottish Shakespeare. The point of the piece is to apologize to a mouse who had spent a lifetime building his nest, only to have it destroyed by a farmer who was plowing his field – building his own nest.
I don’t know about the life of mice, but I know that no matter what my motivation or plan is, things can quickly go from promising to a pit, especially when I’m operating on my own steam. For the most part, our human motivations are fairly pure. I don’t think we ever really want to hurt someone else, but it can happen nevertheless.
The parallel between the Steinbeck novel and the poem seems remote until you read between the lines of the text. Set in Depression-era America, it’s the story of two men, Lennie and George, who have nothing except a dream of one day owning their own small piece of ground and building a house on it. Lennie has some kind of mental disorder, and George has apparently been protecting him from trouble for a very long time. Just when they have landed a job on a good ranch, a step to fulfilling their own dream, Lennie accidently kills the daughter-in-law of the man who owns the farm. They run, and George feels compelled to end Lennie’s life to save him from what will he knows will happen at the hands of the imperfect justice system.
I know! Great required reading for a high school student, right? But it was an amazing piece of work, and rightly called a literary classic. By the end we have a sad sense of the different ways our lives cross, and how our plans can be so fleeting. “The best laid plans…” Both George and that little mouse had everything taken away in one split second, as did Lennie and the girl he accidently killed.
These days, many of us have been left with the feeling that the things we’ve worked incredibly hard for have been stolen from us. Although we are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, we can’t help but wonder if it’s breakthrough or a train. And it can cause us to ask if there’s any point in struggling to come back from the loss.
A lot of people had amazing plans for 2020 that may never happen now. Our High School and College students didn’t get to have the grand graduation they were looking forward to, or a real start to their adult lives. Businesses closed, shattering the dreams of many, and we weren’t able to celebrate milestones or mourn the myriad losses.
Our current mantra seems to be “stuff happens” or “it is what it is”… a variation of the old “best laid plans of mice and men” theme. But if we shift our thinking a bit, even though it can be hard to look past what’s been happening to us, and think more in terms of God’s big picture, those sayings no longer fit. It’s not what it is right this minute, it’s what He says it will be.
He knows what the whole plan is, and how everything works out. We only see our little piece of property. In Jeremiah 29:11 the prophet is comforting the exiles whom an evil king had pushed into bondage. He’s passing on God’s word on the subject, writing: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for (MSG).
God always takes care of us. We may have to go through some stuff, but if we allow His plan to be our plan we can count on the outcome. In the parable in Matthew 7, we’re told that if God is the solid rock we build on, no matter what comes… storms, rain, floods (pandemic, unemployment, civil and political unrest, global warming) He will support us and keep us solid and safe. We can build our house on that foundation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t walk in some amount of fear. It’s natural to fret about the future, worrying for our family and our security. Sometimes the news all seems bad, and that’s where we must override our fear and walk in faith. But, as the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 says, God has a plan… a hope… and it’s for our future.
Be blessed, my Grace family, God is on the throne.
- We are meeting in person again!! All social distancing protocols will be in place, so please wear your masks, use hand sanitizer as you enter, and sit in family groups. For the health of everyone, if you are not feeling well or have a temperature, we would ask that you stay home and join us on-line. We will continue to live stream on Facebook for those who are not quite ready to attend in person, and for those who are not feeling well.
- Ladies Bible study is continuing on Zoom. You can join us on Tuesday night at 7 pm. For more information, please reach out to Pastor Bobbie.
- Youth of the Nations are having a weekly Zoom meeting on Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 pm.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your tithes and offerings so we can maintain our ability to reach out to a needy world. You can give online here, or mail your checks to 3144 N G Street, Suite 125 PMB 308 Merced, CA 95340.
Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has a passion for his flock, and for the community of Merced and beyond. His strength and leadership are only surpassed by his generosity and passion to evangelize. He holds a degree in Counseling, and has a heart for the people of our community. Pastor E resides in Merced with his wife and children.
Pastor Bobbie Frye is our Administrative Pastor. She has been in ministry for more than 20 years, and is a 3rd generation Foursquare Pastor. She is a writer and musician, and takes care of Womens Ministries and Worship Arts. She has a background in Procurement and Marketing, in addition to her pastoral experience. Pastor Bobbie resides in Merced.