I do believe God led me to preach the last three weeks from Mark 6 for a reason. At times His purpose is unclear. As I said this past Sunday, rarely do we discover the purpose. Two months ago I was excited to preach a series on the End Times during the three weeks between the end of the Ephesians series and the start of our What Can I Do series. I had been researching and preparing…ready to preach on current events! But God stopped me. No, I didn’t hear an audible voice. But I did know that He was changing the direction. Through the years, God has done this before from time-to-time…take what I had planned and prayed for and completely change the direction. Yes it is scary, but it’s also very exciting!
Over these past three weeks I have been preaching to myself as much as I’ve been speaking to anyone else. As we saw what REAL FAITH looks like when REJECTED (as Jesus was in His hometown), TESTED (as the disciples were with the miracle of the multiplication), and DIRECTED (as we see the real lesson of the loaves during trials).
My biggest takeaway from these three sermons was how much I am like Jesus’ disciples. And I hate that! I really do. I mean, I of all people, have seen God do amazing things right before me. But when life happens I too often forget the lesson of the loaves as the disciples did (go back and read Mark 6:52). As I look over my life and all the life-tests I have encountered, some I passed, others I failed, I see a common theme. The same theme that Jesus was teaching His disciples in Mark 6; the lesson of the loaves…1. God is in control and 2. God always provides. I thank God for leading me to this series on faith over these past three weeks as He has spoken so clearly and loudly to my own walk!
One final thought…I was asked the other day about my speaking on my brother’s death. I was asked why I didn’t share it more often and if it still hurts when I talk about it. My response was that one of the reasons I don’t talk about it too often is because it does still hurt. Tragic life altering events are just that. The wound eventually stops bleeding but it never completely heals. I have learned something through it though. Every time the Lord leads me to share Brad’s story, someone in the congregation is always moved by it. One time I shared the story and I had a lady come forward and tell me she was contemplating suicide but has realized that life is too precious. Another time I was able to minister to a family who just had a similar situation happen in their own life.
As I said Sunday, God is not obligated to tell us the why of the storm. Honestly, even if we knew the why…(why did this happen)…it wouldn’t lessen the blow of the pain one iota. It wouldn’t take the pain away. It wouldn’t fix anything. This is why we do not need knowledge through a storm, we need FAITH…REAL FAITH! Knowledge and wisdom are the wind in the sail. They’re what moves you and takes you places. However in the storm…you don’t need a sail…you need an anchor! You need something heavy, something that has weight to it…something you can throw into that dark scary ocean that will keep you grounded and still. I am amazed how often Christians always pray, “Lord get me out of this storm as soon as possible!” But you know what? We never find Peter or Paul or especially Jesus praying like that. They prayed, “Lord, not my will but Yours be done.” I really think that is a mark of REAL FAITH. That when storms come in life, our faith remains constant and unwavering. Certainly, storms may knock us from our feet from time-to-time…we may lose our footing, but REAL FAITH does not let us abandon ship. REAL FAITH keeps us grounded in His Word and His Will!