stevengworld

Where Faith Meets Reality

February 26, 2015
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This past Sunday was a doozy to say the least. I woke up to my daughter right next to me in my bed looking at me. She had the look of ‘what took you so long to wake up, daddy!’ I could do nothing to smirk as her pretty face set me on a great track.

Immediately my son runs into the room, not knowing that I’m awake, with my cell phone in his hand and hands it to me. My phone is kept on silent at night so as not to wake these two while they sleep, so I thought someone was calling. Upon further notice, I realize I have a text message and voice mail. I forgot to point out that this happened at 8 am. There’s no logical reason to have these two things on my phone on a Sunday morning. But then my memory was jogged.

The day before while I waited at the barbershop, I was informed via Facebook that my oldest cousin had a massive stroke and was in the hospital. That led me to prayer and patience since he lived in Washington DC. There was no way to get instant gratification of information concerning his health being that far away knowing there was still much medical work and procedures to be done. I made calls hours later that Saturday, but got no answers. Left voice mails, and that meant that someone decided to return my call and leave me a message. Soon I found my heart beating quickly in my bed.

Wanting to take in something much easier I opted to read my text message first. Little did I know that an immense weight were about to be dropped on my lap (and mind) upon reading it. It was from my senior pastor. He was asking me to preach that morning because he was sick and unable to preach through a sermon without immense coughing and discomfort. I was shocked and exasperated almost immediately. What? Why me? Where’s the other elder? Why now – I haven’t preached since November of last year? It’s 8 already and I have 2 hours max to get something together as well as get myself together and at the church. Why me Lord! Definitely not the ‘something much easier’ I thought I was opting for.

Still not wanting to face the music left for me in the voice mail, I ran from it and chose the quicker information highway that is Facebook. As soon as I clicked on my app, I saw that post. The post that read that my cousin had passed away. Immediately I felt hurt and disbelief. Everything stilled in the room where my wife and kids were while looking at me and one another. I hadn’t uttered a sound. I just closed my eyes.

I jumped out of the bed saying I have to preach and my cousin died this morning. I was mentally baffled. Didn’t know how to feel or how long I could possibly meddle on him being gone and the sudden impact this had on my East Coast family. And yet facing me was a deadline to gather a sermon together out of the thin blue sky.

My pastor called thanking me and saying that he’d pray for me. I kept my composure during the call not wanting to come across as frantic, but on the inside I was a mess. This is where faith met reality. I was fearful. I was hurt. I wasn’t focused. And yet I have been called to be ready ‘in season and out of season’ to teach God’s people. I had a great task ahead of me that warranted some quiet time in prayer and a search for a text that was gripping my heart just enough to teach on.

Friends, I have no shame admitting to you that I felt so unworthy that morning that it gave me the greatest freedom I’ve ever felt before preaching the Word. Having little time to prepare taught me something I hope to communicate to you – we are weaker than we think we are and that’s a hard truth to swallow, and yet it’s so freeing to do so because then we can wholly lean on God for EVERYTHING.

I was able to preach on a subject dear to my heart out of the desire to give the people hope, and I do feel that God did that for both me and them. And I was able to give hope and love to my family concerning our loss. It’s been a rough start to a week, but I wouldn’t dare pray for a different start. I don’t believe I’ve ever began a week on my knees begging God the way I did last Sunday. I invite all of you who are believers to try it. For those of you who aren’t, I beg of you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God and forgiven of your sins.

 

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