A Message For These Troubled Times
Typically, I would now ask you to open your bibles to Ephesians 3:20-21 so that we could continue our study in the book of Ephesians. We very rarely deviate from our study of a book, but today I have decided to do so.
Because of the things that have happened in this season of life it seems best to take a Sunday to use other texts of scripture to encourage our hearts and to direct our steps as we go trough the things that we are now experiencing. My goal is not to give vent to my own opinions; but, rather, to allow scripture to help us during this chaotic time.
This sermon will follow a simple outline.
First, We will acknowledge the things that are going on around us
Secondly, I will seek to encourage those whose hearts have been unsettled by these things
Thirdly, We will explore why we are made to go through things
Lastly, We will explore what we can be doing now at this time as we go through this season
#1 Acknowledgment of Recent Events
Everyday life comes with its own stresses and anxieties. Some of you have already been dealing with challenges long before all of these other things began to happen. (Health, Relational issues, Vocational Concerns)
Several months ago, none of us had any idea that this year would have produced all of these trials and tragedies that we have endured over the last several months.
A couple months ago, out of nowhere, we found ourselves shutting down our entire nation as we dealt with the pandemic of COVID 19. Since then, many people have died or become sick, there is still no vaccine or cure. People have been laid off, businesses have closed, supply lines have been strained, shelves at the stores are often bare.
Then over the last two weeks we have seen our nation thrown into great turmoil which began with the needless, senseless, and unjust death of a man named George Floyd.
As a result of this, there has been an outcry for justice and reform. There have been protest marches throughout the cities of America, including our own city. Over the last couple weeks, cities have been burned, businesses have been looted, people have been hurt, and some have been killed. Lawlessness, chaos and civil unrest have erupted. And throughout all of this, our leaders are divided as to how to best handle these situations. In this most urgent moment, when we need to know a wise way to address righteousness, justice, equity and every good path, our lawmakers and leaders seem unable to guide the nation.
None of us knows what the future holds; but it is a safe to say that the rest of 2020 will still set before us many challenges.
Encouragement For Those Who Have Been Unsettled
As I have talked to many people throughout this time, I have found that all of these things have unsettled many of our hearts. Many people are experiencing confusion, panic, loneliness, fear, anxiety, times of despair and heightened depression. In these moments we are not always sure how to resolve these things. We go to the scriptures and we pray but it is a real struggle. We have received grace; but often these things persist and we wonder why?
I would like to remind us that devout Christians can experience these things. Gospel-centered people will experience anxiety and depression. A Christ-centered person will find their heart overwhelmed and in despair. A saint, who has been grafted into the nourishing vine, will enter into seasons where they may forget that they do not support the root, but that the root is still supporting them even if they are unaware. (Romans 11:18)
Do we find it strange that believers can experience such strong emotions? Let us consider two separate texts that may help us appreciate these things. In Psalm 77:1-3 the psalmist says, “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and He will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.”