Since my trip home was delayed on yesterday and I had to get on the road this morning, I found myself in the pews of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA on last evening. In a manner of minutes, the pastor went from a gracious introduction to a full blown authoritative command session. It was hard to resist I’m sure, since the foundation of his sermon was from 2 Timothy 1:12, where the Apostle Paul writes:
“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” New International Version
Apart from Jesus himself, there was no teacher of the gospel who suffered as much as the Apostle Paul. When he wrote this passage, he was actually in prison and facing death as a result of his preaching of the gospel. Paul writes with such authority revealing that he does not mind suffering for that sake of the gospel, nor is he ashamed of the message of Jesus Christ. He is convinced that God will indeed guard the message, but not only that, Paul is convinced that God will protect his very life! Then he closes with the same assurance of Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to the completion until the day (or the return) of Christ Jesus.” Emphasis added
I can’t help but get excited when I read this scripture. It is one thing to know and be confident of what you believe, but what a blessing it is to be reminded of the truths that are found in the bible. I get excited because the same God that delivered Paul from that prison cell was the same God that delivered Daniel from the lion’s den, the same God who delivered the three Hebrew boys from the fiery furnace, the same God who brought Noah and his family to the other side of a forty day flood, and the same God who brought Moses and the Israelites out of the hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army. He is the same God and he does not change. If he did “it” (whatever the “it” was) for my brothers and sisters in the Old Testament, and if he did it for believers in the New Testament, which included brother Paul, he most certainly can show up in the midst of the “its” in my life and deliver me.
It’s one thing to watch God show up and work a miracle in someone else’s life, but I will challenge you to write a list of the blessings that he has made in your own life. I dare you to put that list in your back pocket! For I know when I get in the midst of storms, challenges, and difficult situations in my own life (as I am presently), I can rest assure that God will deliver me, because he did it for me the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that. My God is able! He may not show up in the way that I expect or when I want him to, but he will show up in the midst of my suffering to reveal himself and his purpose for my life.
I thank God that I have not placed faith in my job, or my title, or money. I thank God that I have not placed my faith in friends or family or my spouse. Certainly, all of these things are important in my life, but my trust is in the Lord!
Since I cannot think of a better question to ask, I will ask the same question that Pastor Howard-John Wesley asked the congregation on last night, “Do you trust him?”