Sing with me right quick…
There’s a God who knows it all
There’s a God who knows it all
He rules all land- all power in his Hands…
There’s a God who knows it all…
I was driving home and listening to satellite radio yesterday when the Walter Scott- Michael Slager mistrial verdict was handed down. It wasn’t until 7:30 last night when I had a few moments to myself that I heard of the outcome and also had a moment to read many angry Facebook posts of my friends and family. Monday night is my early night- the night that I recover from my exhausting weekend schedule so I read it, I saw it, I felt it but I had no strength left to respond to it.
I was up just before my 4:30 alarm this morning and I decided to finally listen to Sis. Judy Scott- Walter’s mother’s comments made after the decision on the courthouse steps yesterday and I was not greeted this morning by the pity party that I expected…instead I was greeted by a sermon. I’ve heard theologically educated clergypersons deliver weaker messages than Sis. Judy's on Sunday morning.
Sis. Judy quoted Psalms 27 (Wait on the Lord, be of good courage)
Sis. Judy quoted Daniel 3 (The God I serve is able)
Sis. Judy quoted Hebrews 12 (Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses)
Sis. Judy quoted Psalm 37 (Rest in the Lord)
Sis. Judy quoted Nehemiah 8 (The joy of the Lord is my strength)
And Sis. Judy closed with a celebration worthy of any revival- extolling the Jesus in her and how she’s been born again and has no worries about what man says or how things look because it isn’t over until God says that it’s over…let the church say AMEN, someone hit the Hammond and let’s open this altar…but I reckon there’s one detail that I left off…Sis. Judy preached this word on CNN’s airwaves. Quick question. When is the last time that you’ve heard a sermon on FOX News? MSNBC? Bloomberg? No non believing director would dare cut to commercial as this grieving Mother took her text(s) and proclaimed “thus saith the Lord…” I started thinking about how many folks were helped by Sis. Judy’s hurt and I’m not trying to criticize or critique any of my friends and family that were so angry at the result of this round but I really did ask myself…if Slager had been found guilty of the charges levied against him, would Sis. Judy have been able to preach the way she did? I was reminded during my drive in to work this morning that a good deal of ministry is born out of misery.
Jacob, running from Esau after stealing his inheritance is a millionaire with only a rock for a pillow but when he goes to sleep, God allows him to see angels ascending and descending on a stairway that we have since stylized as “Jacob’s Ladder”. Jacob wakes up, acknowledges the presence and power of God and dedicates that land as Bethel- but Jacob’s ministry was born in misery.
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego were criticized and villified for not bowing down to false gods- they were given the opportunity to sell out several times but their refrain remained that the God they serve is able to save them and even if God chooses not to save them, they still were not willing to compromise their character. The 3 Hebrew boys’ ministry was born out of the misery of the furnace.
Daniel was given a date in the den of lions simply because he would not alter his prayer life or the subject of his prayers. Daniel survives the lion’s den and his new ministry was born out of this awful misery.
Paul warned the folks against sailing into a hurricane and just as he said, the boat breaks apart- even to the point where some have to sail to shore on the broken pieces of the ship- to make matters worse, Paul is building a fire to attend to those injured in the shipwreck and as he does so, a poisonous snake bites him on the arm. Paul is able to shake the snake off into the fire and suffer no ill effects but his ministry was birthed in misery.
So what about you? What are you fussing about on Facebook today? What are your troubles that you are sharing on Twitter? What are you Igging about on Instagram currently? Is there any silver lining in your cloud? Where is the bright side and more importantly, where is the space for the hand of God in the middle of your despair?
Church Folk Christians,
we’ve seen it all you know…we’ve seen hurt, heartache, heartbreak, trouble,
turmoil, sickness, disease, war, rumor of war, layoff, felony, misdemeanor,
indictment, no indictment (you name it). There is however one thing that we still haven’t
seen- we’ve never seen the righteous forsaken…and we never will. I do not know
your story, I do not know your situation, your pain or your sorrow- but if you’ve
been saved- I do know your God and I know that if your problem is too big for
you- then your problem is just right for God. I don’t know what ministry will
make it out of your misery but this much I do know- Mom sang me to sleep many
times with these words…
He didn’t bring us this far to leave us…
He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown
He didn’t build a home for us to move away
He didn’t pick us up to let us down.
God's Best Be With You Always,
Rev. Sterling J. Dowling