Summary: Trusting in the goodness of God
A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON
A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains built a new sanctuary on a piece of land that had been willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. The inspector told the pastor that until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary.
Unfortunately, the church had used every inch of their land for the new sanctuary, every inch that is except for the mountain against which the new sanctuary had been built. In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to literally move the mountain out of the backyard. Well, the pastor was undaunted by the challenge. The next Sunday morning, the pastor announced that he would meet that evening with all members who had "mountain moving faith." He said that they would hold a prayer meeting and ask God to remove the mountain from the backyard. They would also pray that somehow God would provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following Sunday. At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation's 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o'clock, the pastor said the final "Amen". The pastor said, "We'll open next Sunday as scheduled. God has never let us down before and I believe He will be faithful to us this time, as well."
The next morning, at 8:00 AM, as the pastor was working in his study, there came a loud knock at his door. A rough looking construction foreman appeared at the door. He said, "Excuse me, Reverend. I'm from Acme Construction Company. We're building a new shopping mall over in the next county and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We'll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can't do anything else on our project until we get the dirt. What do you say?" Well, needless to say, that little church was dedicated the next Sunday as had been originally planned.
Wouldn't it be nice if all of life's needs, all of our prayers, all of our concerns were met like that, that positively, that quickly, that soon after we had finished praying? Unfortunately, as we grow older, we soon learn that life can often be extremely brutal and too often unfair and that our prayers rarely seem to be answered that quickly.
Think about how brutal and unfair life can be. The phone rings, a good friend of ours is experiencing sudden troubles in their life. We grieve for them—we cry with them—we hurt for them—we would do anything in our power to help them if we could. Or, our heart is broken when we read in the newspaper about a tornado or a fire wiping out a family's dream. Or, it could be that cancer strikes a family member. We know that months and months of long, drawn out suffering is about to begin for that loved one. Or, it could be that friends and family have let us down by breaking promises—just when we needed them most, they were not there for us.
Those are only a few of the brutal and unfair things in life that we may have experienced or that we may know have happened in the lives of others. Each one of those things are painful in their own way. And, even as I mention those three or four things, I realize that I have not even touched the tip of the iceberg. I could have mentioned dozens and dozens more of unfair things that life throws at us on a regular basis. I could have mentioned our job, our children, our marriage, our own health. The list goes on and on, doesn't it?
But, I want you to hear me clearly at this point. If you don't hear anything else that I say today, I want you to hear this—there is hope—all is not lost! What is our hope? With the world the way it is, why is everything not lost? I'm glad that you asked. Here's our hope: God is dependable. Let me say that again. God is dependable through all of life's problems. When everything else in this world fails us, God will not. When everything else in this world crashes in around us, God will hold us up. When nothing else makes sense in life, God will and does make sense.