Every Sunday after the message is over, I do a self-critique and try to evaluate how it went. Was I true to the scripture, did I communicate well and engage you? Or was it disjointed and lackluster?
Last Sunday I was “out of sorts” when I began. My head was bouncing all over the place and I could not focus! Then, when I use sports analogies, I’m always a little nervous. The funny thing was several of you started talking BACK to me during my remarks about Nick Fowles. That was a lighthearted, fun time. BUT THEN . . .
I said the word, “grit” – and it came out like some 3 syllable word. I couldn’t decide if I should just keep going or acknowledge it! I acknowledged it . . . and that became even worse! It was like the more I talked, the worse it got. Finally . . . out of exasperation, I put my hands in my hair and said, “THIS IS THE WORST SERMON EVER!”
One of the leaders on the front row said out loud, “No it isn’t.” That quiet voice will always ring in my mind! Truth – I was frozen in the moment. It was one of those times I thought about saying, “Hey, I’m just not able to do this today and I think you should just go have some snacks from the amazing hospitality team and go home.” But . . . as I was pondering what to do, you all started saying, “Just persevere.” I didn’t realize what you were saying, so you continued saying it til I understood! Then I realized how that WAS the whole point of the message . . . we are called to persevere.
The coolest part about ALL that . . . was in that moment, even though I was on the stage supposedly giving you some wisdom about faith and God, I was not in it alone. You were RIGHT THERE WITH ME . . . In it with me, every step of the way!
That gave me the fortitude to finish.
That’s the beautiful thing about God’s love revealed to us through Jesus Christ. We watch how the renegade Jesus loved and we realize that we are NEVER in this alone! Not only do we have God’s power with us, filling us, and carrying us. We have one another. We each have the power to share God’s love with one another.
That’s the beautiful thing about this week’s scripture verse. It reminds us that no matter how arduous, taxing, alienating, etc. our journey in life is . . . it is never something that we have to face alone. I invite you to ponder this scripture with me this week . . .
Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
    they walk and don’t lag behind.