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Faith Looks Ahead

Oh, how Sundays have changed the last couple of weeks, eh?

We, along with probably millions of people around the world, turned in online to hear this morning’s sermon.

Actually, the Mr. and I listened to two of them. Sinners be needing the preaching, let me tell you (spoken in my Southern drawl).

First, we turned to our home church’s message, and y’all, I took notes (even as I knitted on a long-suffering shawl).

I think a common theme of sermons of late is fear.

We watched online church with the in-laws last weekend when we were visiting, and fear was the topic that day.

Today, our pastor, Craig (such a fabulous speaker, by the way) used the context of Numbers 13, when Moses tasked twelve spies with scouting out the Promised Land and the report they carried back, for this morning’s message.

When the spies went out, they saw lots of good things – a land “flowing with milk and honey,” but they also saw challenges in their way: “The people who live there are strong, and the cities have walls and are very large.”

Isn’t this what we’re seeing during this pandemic? Sure, we can all identify the silver linings – unexpected free time, job flexibility, the opportunity to learn new things – but we are also facing giant hurdles: the possibility of sickness, financial strain, and social isolation.

Just as ten of the spies focused on the negatives, we too have that tendency. And you know what? That tendency is based on FEAR.

Hello God. I hear you talking to me for the second week in a row.

My pastor advised us to replace feelings (based on fear) with facts.

Y’all, this can be a hard pill for me to swallow. I am a girl who operates under an umbrella of emotions. Sure, reason follows – eventually – but feelings . . . well, they kind of rule my life.

Here’s a bullet list I made of some of the main points that followed (the stuff in parentheses reflects my personal thoughts – not the pastor’s words):

  • Fear distorts reality.
  • Fear is contagious (hello hoarders).
  • Fear always leads to poor choices (hello immature Spring Break boy who declared that he only cared about living his best life).
  • Fear tempts us to focus on ourselves and our own inadequacies.
  • Fear tends to paralyze us (hello anxiety).
  • Fear causes us to question God and His motives.
  • Fear causes us to abandon our faith and give up on God.

Anyone hearing this song in their heads?

As my pastor began wrapping up, he said something to the effect that our fears aren’t conquered by looking at what’s ahead but by looking back at what God has done for us in the past.

Y’all, in 2018, we were hit by Hurricane Michael. In case you don’t follow all things hurricane-related, it was a Cat 5 storm. It destroyed the landscape around us, our homes, businesses, and most of our churches.

Eighteen months later, we are not back to normal. We are better than we were though, thanks to God’s grace and provision.

We can look back and see where we were October 10, 2018, and where we are now.

God is raising us from the ashes, and He will do it again.

I love what my pastor ended with.

Faith.

Looks.

Ahead.

Ok, so maybe he didn’t punctuate it that way, but as the author of this blog, I can take such liberties.

God gives us seasons of grace for so many reasons. I believe one of them is to sustain us through the tough times when His presence seems somewhat sketchy.

He is with us during the easy times, and He is with us now.

I keep hearing Donald Trump mention the “invisible enemy” during his press conferences.

Well y’all, we have a (somewhat) invisible hero – God.

I say somewhat because we can see Him reflected in nature and in other ways, but you know what I mean.

We need to focus on Him, not the one who wants to steal our souls because you know that this is exactly what he’s going to do. He will try to use this to turn people’s hearts away from Jesus.

I pray that during the toughest of days, we keep looking ahead to the One who will light our way out of this present darkness to, ultimately, the Promised Land.

Thank you for visiting today and taking the time to leave a comment!

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