It has been a tough couple of months for all of us. From the senseless loss of 17 poor, unsuspecting souls in the Parkland High School shooting; our Brother Jerry’s journey to Heaven; Alan’s friend Sherman and, also recently, the tragic and unexpected loss of a dear friend to many and a beautiful soul, Sherry Palmer to whom we dedicate this morning’s message.
I know many of you grieve. I know you have cried many tears and your sorrows are great. Right now, your minds are probably in constant turmoil and you are unable to focus on the day-to-day things that, despite your loss, go on in your lives.
This past week, as I watched the chain of events enfolding across the Internet (more specifically, Facebook), I could clearly see the sadness. I saw some truly, heartfelt testimonies and I witnessed people trying feverously to setup memorials and dedications.
I don’t like to engage myself in these things as I’m always afraid I will act too hastily, without thought, and say or write something that may be taken completely out of context. No, instead, I try and turn to God for answers.
Towards the end of the week, I sat down to prepare today’s lesson. As usual, I asked God to give me the strength, give me the wisdom and tell me the words I should say to help His people through these difficult times. No answer.
On Saturday morning, as I attended my typical sunrise at the beach, I asked again. Still nothing.
I proceeded to my office where I could work in silence and then, perhaps, I would receive God’s lesson. There I sat, patiently waiting yet still receiving no answer.
I stood up from my desk, walked outside to pray once more. During my talk with God, I began to feel frustrated… even irritated to the point I finally just looked up towards the heavens and shouted out… “God! I need you!”
I continued staring at the sky, and then I could see Him… sitting there with His arms folded across His chest looking down on me as if to say, “Yes, you do.” I had my answer.
In These Times
All of these things that have taken place take their toll on us. They drain us of our energy and stomp on our faith. We lose our focus. We feel weak. We’re at an extremely vulnerable time for the devil to crush our trust in God and turn our hearts away from Him. These times, are when we need God the most and should turn to Him for comfort.
As I mentioned, we have been weakened. We feel as though we’ve been beaten-up, knocked-down and run over by a street paver. Flattened and sapped of all our strength. Our faith has been damaged and we forget the lessons that God has given us our whole lives… to trust in Him.
Isaiah 40:29-31 – “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Yes, He will give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak… and this, with all that’s happened, is what we need the most right now.
In Our Sorrow
What happens when we get weak? It’s definitely not a good feeling. We lose our sense of worth as our bodies and minds are at the point of exhaustion. We don’t feel good about ourselves or anything we may be involved in. It’s as though we’ve given up on us!
It is very important during these times that we, once again, put our faith back in God for, in times of sadness, the Bible reminds us…
Psalm 40:1-3 – “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”
In Our Anger
I don’t know about you but, when I’m feeling sad, I sometimes get angry. Not necessarily at one person or a group of people… just overall angry at the world. “Why have these things happened to me and why should I have to deal with them?”
Anger is not a very good feeling and also not something God is too overly fond of as well. We need to remember what He has told us about anger and remember to carry out His word.
2 Timothy 2:23-24 – “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
When we are angry, we need to remember, the devil thrives on this and will use it, as soon as it enters our hearts, to try and steal us away from God.
He will throw many things in front of us. Things that will distract us and take our minds off our beliefs.
When this does happen, remember… as our Lord reminds us in…
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
“Common to mankind.” That kind of says it all doesn’t it? Most of the temptations we all face are presented before us by man. God doesn’t tempt us… He protects us and only allows what we can handle into our lives. Don’t fall victim to mankind, as it will bring many struggles.
In Our Struggles
Now it gets deeper… we’re weak, in sorrow, angry and tempted by the devil. It’s only natural then, at these points in our lives, we are going to struggle.
With all of these emotions making their way through us, everything becomes more difficult. Simple things we used to do daily, become a hassle. Nothing goes as we would have it and the simplest chore becomes a great burden.
Our God will, once again, take away these burdens. As we should remember in…
Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”
When We Ask
All of these things we just spoke of, how do we obtain solace from God? How do we receive all that we need to survive? We can’t pick everything up at Walmart, right? We ask Him. It’s really that simple.
Jesus told us, quite clearly, in…
Mark 11:24 – “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Sure, that’s all fine and good… but what if we don’t believe what Christ told us. What if the devil blinds us from God’s Loving touch and our faith is miniscule? What if we don’t truly understand what it is to believe?
Once again, we need to remember the lessons from our Lord Jesus Christ…
James 1:5-8 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Once again, believe! If you trust in God and ask Him for guidance, wisdom and strength… it will be given to you.
Stories to Help You Understand
At this point, I would like to offer you some short stories to help you understand a little better why I believe, so adamantly about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Here are a couple of short stories that may give you some hope in these trying times.
I know these times are difficult. I know your hearts are weary. I know a lot of you may have come here today to seek comfort and I’m sorry if the words I’ve spoken haven’t accomplished the job but, don’t give up on God… now is when we need Him the most…
- In Weakness – I can’t make you stronger, but He “gives strength to the weary.”
- In Sorrow – I don’t have the words to ease your pain, but He “lifts us out of the slimy pit.”
- In Anger – Remember, “foolish arguments produce quarrels.”
- In Temptation – I still fight with the devil, but God will “not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.”
- In Struggles – I don’t have the resources to help you, but He will “meet your needs.”
- In Asking – I can’t convince you enough, but believe, when you ask Him, “it will be received.”
- Doubt – Is like a wave of the sea… “blown and tossed by the wind.” Again, simply believe.
Mourn for those we have lost. Let their smiles and laughter be etched in your hearts until the time our God calls us to be with them once more.
I understand your grief is great and your tears flow freely, but I know, as a child of God and a man with strength greater than that of a mustard seed, their joy is greater… and they shed no tears for God, The Father and Christ, The Son are with them now and they are filled with the Holy Spirit for all eternity! We, are stronger than we know if we put our trust and believe in God!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless!