God is at work
by David R. Kelly •
Let us not forget that God is at work. Often we try to compare our knowledge with God’s knowledge, this is really insane. And then sometimes we think we are trusting in God and we are really just trusting in our reasoning. Remember Matthew 14, the beheading of John the Baptist at King Herod’s command because of a request from his daughter at her birthday party all prompted by her mom, Jesus heard the news, John was dead, he got in a boat and left, he went a performed a miracle, the feeding of the five thousand, where they gave bread, to the one we call the Living Water, who in turn gave them more than they had invested. Here we see a small gesture of faith in God returned in overwhelming fashion; Jesus after this put the disciples in a boat and retreated to the mountains to pray. But as Jesus saw the disciples boat being tossed by the waves in the middle of the night, He went out on the water to them, at first thinking He was a ghost they were afraid but, Jesus said be not afraid,do not worry, trust me, know me, and Peter said Lord if it is really you let me walk out on water, thinking this was an act of faith, Peter was trusting in the miracle not having faith in the one able to do miraculous things. Once Peter realized he was on the water he panicked, he doubted, he was unsure if it was possible and he started to sink, He cried out “Lord Save Me.”
Matthew 14:28-33 says, “And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” These men saw God at work and were drawn to worship, their commitment grew.
Former Florida State Football coach Bobby Bowden and his son Steve wrote a book called, “the Wisdom of Faith”(and from a devout Gator Fan, this is the last thing you might expect to hear, the book is an extremely great read.) In the chapter of the wisdom of suffering, using three experiences, a Marshall University plane crash that killed all football players/coaches on board, (many whom Bobby knew because he coached at West Virginia University and recruited many of those players and their families and knew the other coaches too) the other was when a FSU player was shot and killed over Spring Break, after breaking up an on campus party, and third an account from the book of Job, the Bowden’s explain how in the mystery of suffering what we really desire is deliverance. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
“The stark and true answer that comes to Job in the whirlwind is this: that for all of its good and honest questions, human reason simply cannot encompass the mystery of God. Life’s deepest answers lay just beyond reason’s grasp. Reason can lead us in the direction of truth, even to the threshold but it cannot force us to accept the truth to which it points. Emotions stir. Our hearts cry out. One further step is needed. Confidence in our Creator is the final step. That’s the decision we must make. The Living God is sovereign, even over suffering and death. His sovereignty is our hope. Only in Him can we find peace. In the end we must trust in His goodness and love. Short of that, there is no deliverance from the pit of despair.
The families of those who died in the Marshall plane crash suddenly found themselves caught up in a whirlwind. My players who gathered at the hospital the night of Pablo’s death, and who met with me the next morning in the conference room, were caught up in the same whirlwind. Job cries out to God and finds himself in a similar whirlwind. The whirlwind is our cri de caeur, our cry from the heart, our impassioned plea. We know so little, God knows so much. How do we cross that great divide? We seem to think that all we need in such moments is a good answer, some response that makes sense to our reasonable questions. But what we really seek is deliverance. To be delivered from suffering is the only answer that counts in the end. It is the most powerful answer one can experience. This is how the psalmist describes suffering’s cry from the heart: ‘Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.’(Psalm 42:7)
The psalmist puts his finger on the heart of the matter Deep calls out to deep. In the roar of the waterfalls, we seek a strength to conquer our helplessness and despair. We grope for a saving hand. Deliverance. And for the psalmist, such deliverance comes only from the same mysterious God who allows such waterfalls in the first place. Life is ultimately is shrouded in mystery. We do well to grasp that truth up front. Intellect alone is not going to solve our problems. We can never fully understand the darkness. What we need is the overcoming of it.” ( P.165)
Alleviation from eternal suffering is our Greatest need, and only God can offer that to us. Are you casting your bread upon the waters? Are you investing in things that are temporal for your eternal security? I urge you to think more about Jesus, accept Him in faith this morning, cast all your doubts and fears and worries and hopes and dreams on the One that is the living water, on the One that is the bread of Life, Life in Christ is more rewarding, more valuable, more return on investment because we invested nothing, rather we threw our investment on the cross and crucified Him. Three days later He rose again and gave us eternal life for all those who might believe in Him, who would bow the knee and confess Jesus is Lord.