Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Good Times and the Bad Times
From the peaks to the valleys, our faith must be a constant.
What impostors they are!
It is often helpful to look back at failures in the calm light of when they have passed. We are not always able to see the forest for the trees. But rest assured that if we do we can profit from our “mistakes” and help to carve out within ourselves an inner strength that will guide us through adversity. Real breakdowns in faith seem to happen in two distinct times; the good times and the bad. Let us look at our own role in these breakdowns.
In the good times we often find ourselves taking back the reins of control and anticipating that our own understandings are best to guide us. This is a misconception of self. It is an ego run a riot.
In the bad times we often lose faith and question our very own connection with our God. In these times we become so big that we begin to believe that if we were in control the world would be better off.
Both of the above situations try our belief. If we are mature in our faith it is these times that we can call on our Lord to help guide us through any storm. Kipling said to the effect: if we can face tragedy and triumph and treat those impostors just the same. Hopefully the thrust of that concept can help to guide us in our meditation looking both backwards and forwards.
It is time to come back home. God never left.
Sunrise and sunset they really do not depend on us.
In the good times
So often it happens that when things are all just going great and hunky-dory that we begin to think that we are in control. “Man plans and God laughs”. It is just part of our human condition that requires some thought and some reflection to prevent. Great job, great spouse, great house and great kids and money in the bank and perfect health with good relationships in and out of family. We look at such a situation and we somehow for some reason pat ourselves on the back and begin to believe that it is all our doing and not a blessing from God. It is as though we could kneel down and give praise to ourselves for how great our lives are going. I hope that conjures up a ridiculously funny picture in your mind. For it is tomfoolery at its best.
“No really, I got this God, it is all under control – mine”. What a road to disaster. And perhaps not a disaster in the natural here and now. We have all seen those without faith do extremely well and we question the efficacy of all our faith and devotion to our God. But alas that is the exception and not the rule and a gentle reminder that; faith is not had in order to obtain.
Here is the real loss. A loss of our spiritual health. Good works without faith are nearly meaningless to those doing the good works. Oh they may help others in the here and now and they may make a difference “in the world”. But in relying on themselves they have lost the real gift of faith.
And let us not forget that for many taking back that control leads to disaster and loss of all things we have been blessed with. So often the lack of devotion and humility that arises in such situations is a broken marriage.
Let God shine his light on you!
How about you?
Is your faith steady like a good foundation?
Seems strange to put an advertisement in this hub.
In the bad times.
One can almost say that we can create a safe spiritual environment by habit. Daily devotionals and staying in “the Word” of our faith in a habitual form can prevent a relapse into negative thinking and destructive behaviors. It is when the proverbial crap hits the fan that we must maintain a vigilance. Otherwise we begin to play a dangerous game. That game is the “why would God let this happen?” game. And make no mistake it is a game fraught with danger and created by our own best thinking. Death, Divorce and Loss of job are the three great stressors in modern day. (loss of close family to death is tragic but for a believer there is some solace when others go to meet the creator, somehow there is a resignation to this inevitability. Have no doubt there is still the lingering question of “why”)
When these stressors come about it is as though we have a fork in the road and we can decide which to take. The road to faith or the road to isolation from our God, a separation. I once faced such a stressor and the strange thing was that I had developed a habit of prayer and devotionals and study of the Word. Regardless of the tragedy I was just compelled to act out of habit to look to God and not away from God. No great faith on my behalf just a ritual that kept me pointed down the right fork in that road.
Can we store up faith for the critical times? Perhaps we can, and for this soul, I prefer to store up. I am not sure it works that way but that one I do not need to leave to chance.
Just a wonderful photograph.
An interesting reality
When we stay in faith as a normal course of our existence something strange will happen. We will stress over the little things from day to day. Small matters of little consequence in the big picture of things. Issues and decisions that we can handle. These we do handle with perhaps just a little prayer of question to our God. But when the big stuff happens we are not stressed over them for we know intuitively that they are in the hands of God. Many times we will see the elder faced with enormous grief of loss and they remain a constant at peace. This comes from an abounding faith that “Thy will be done not mine”.
Here we find that tragedy and triumph do not change the faith of those whom it resides it. Faith does not know breakdowns. Faith is constant and does not waiver in times of good and bad. Whether or not we choose to waiver or allow separation then that is our choice. I hope you make the choice to stay in faith.
It would be remiss not to touch on healing in such a sermon. In faith we can heal and in healing we can strengthen our faith. Have no doubt that those who take control and “have it all” need healing as much as those with broken hearts and minds. The greatest breakdowns are not caused by one or the other, by good or bad they are caused by lack of faith. And we can assure ourselves that faith can heal all wounds if we choose to let it.
Healing is not automatic. Healing takes time. If we are vulnerable to the slings and arrows of this world then we will need healing at some time or all the time. Our circumstances do not dictate how and when healing occurs but rather our faith does.