18 March 2015

Too Much Bad News?

It's impossible to see the TV without being inundated with an avalanche of bad news. It's an ugly world out there.

Might I suggest you wash out your eyes with this?

From Mark 5:21 Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. 22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41
Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.

There is enough substance in this passage for several sermons, but I want to discuss the situation that many of us may be facing: weariness from a seemingly-unending stream of bad news.

The news from our nation's capital could wear out anyone, these days. It seems to be one bit of unpleasant political hi-jinks after another, with no end in sight. Then they all stand around, applauding each other for having successfully done an "end-run" around yet another Constitutional prohibition.

People say to me, "Reverend Paul, I've called, I've e-mailed, I've written. I've talked to my neighbors, I've attended a town hall meeting, I've been to three political protest rallies. I've prayed, but nothing's working, and I'm tired. What am I supposed to do now?"

Jesus has an answer for that. Didn't you just know He would?

Notice that Jairus came to Jesus in faith, asking for his daughter to be healed. Jesus agreed immediately, and they set out for Jairus' home.

But then something happened: an unexpected interruption. What must Jairus have been thinking? I can almost hear his thoughts. "But ... but ... my daughter! She's sick! And you said you'd come right away. We don't have time for this!" And then, the worst possible news: "Don't bother the Master any longer; it's too late. Your daughter has died."

But that is when Jesus turned to him and said, "Don't be afraid, but only believe." In other words, "You came to Me in faith. You knew I could heal your daughter. Don't stop believing and get into fear, just because the news is bad!"

You can see where I'm going with this, can't you? Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (emphasis added)

Jairus had faith when he sought out Jesus' help, but the bad news threatened to extinguish that spark of faith. Jesus immediately turned to him and said, "Don't let that spark of faith go out: hang on! Trust Me!"

We have trusted Jesus this far ... and He's always come through, hasn't He? The answer is ALWAYS there. It may not be the answer we were expecting; it may not have been the result we imagined; but He has never, ever let us down.

Don't let that spark of faith go out. "...assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt. 17:20) The mustard plant in the Middle East produces tiny, tiny seeds, and Jesus said that's all the faith you need. But you have to have that much.

Don't start thinking that it's over, or that God has abandoned us. We've been living in a season of amazing grace, and it may be that He is now requiring that we stand on our two feet and exercise our faith. Like any muscle, faith gets stronger when it's exercised.

Don't give up; rest if you need to, but don't give up. God's still on His throne, and He will NEVER abandon us. I don't care how dark the political situation becomes, He's still our Savior!


ProudHillbilly said...

Americans have lived in such plenty and freedom for so long that they don't realize that our lives have not been the norm in history.

Spent 2 hours at church in prayer, Eucharistic Adoration and study (Genesis) this afternoon. Am watching more and more small prayer/support groups that are entwined in faith develop even as the larger Church is tossed on the waves of Satan's current happy striding of the world. And I left full of joy and thankfulness.

Rev. Paul said...

PH - that sounds great. Hallelujah!

Rob said...

Padre, I posted a bit ago the same thing on how I was suffering from overload again. I think most a praying that this nation can turn itself around. Its sad when you have Americans that find it offensive to fly our flag. Now we have Muslim students objecting to the movie American Sniper. If you don't like or love the USA go home.

I for one try to pray every day that things will get better, but its too easy to give up when things get hard.

Rev. Paul said...

Rob, I hear you, and understand. It's harder some times than others, when it comes to faith & trusting Him to handle it. But we still have to try.

Murphy's Law said...

Amen, sir. It seems as if the pinnacle of America's greatness was in the 1950's when we were unquestionably a proudly Judeo-Christian nation. It was when we slid away from that in the later decades that America lost a lot of that luster and security. But it's not over yet, not by a long shot. God willing, we'll get it back to where it used to be again and when we do, America will be great again.

Rev. Paul said...

ML - from your mouth to God's ears, and amen!

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

The daily news is terrible. I worry of our future, and the future of our allies. Praying and keeping the faith.