Summary: A sermon about learning to trust in God.
"Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Anthony Castellitto, a United Methodist Christian from New Jersey wrote the following for this past Wednesday's Upper Room Devotional:
"Our son was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old.
My wife noticed subtle changes in his behavior; within months, his language and social interactions became severely diminished.
The outgoing boy we knew and loved was gone, fixed on his own world.
Nothing could have prepared us for what we were facing.
We turned to God, praying for our son's recovery.
Knowing that a complete recovery would be uncommon, we also prayed for our understanding and acceptance.
We are involved in a healing process, emotionally for our family and developmentally for our child.
Now even the smallest improvement feels like the biggest blessing.
I firmly believe that through this sudden adversity, we've been brought closer to God and to one another."
What is troubling you this morning?
We all have big stuff on our minds, no doubt.
Right here this morning, some of us are dealing with the loss or death of a loved one.
Others of us are watching--hopelessly, as someone we love is beginning to pass away.
Others of us may fear our own death.
Some of us are sick.
Some of us are lonely.
Some of us can barely face the day.
And then, look out at our world.
We are surrounded by wars, nightly shootings, natural disasters, and the ever looming threat of trouble.
What can possibly free our hearts from trouble, in the face of so much death, so much evil?
"Don't be troubled," Jesus says.
When has advice like that ever been helpful?
"Don't be afraid; don't be nervous; don't be anxious; don't be shattered."
It's almost laughable, is it not?
This conversation between Jesus and His disciples comes after the Last Supper, on the night of Jesus' arrest--the day before His horrible Crucifixion.
Judas had already left to betray Jesus.
And Jesus is telling His disciples that His time has come to leave this world.
And then Jesus says, "Don't be troubled."
Well, who wouldn't be troubled???
Right before this, Peter has said, "I'll give up my life for you."
But Jesus' reply was, "I assure you that you will deny me three times before the rooster crows."
And then Jesus says, "Don't be troubled."
The word Jesus uses here for "troubled" is used to describe "agitation and disturbance in the face of the power of death and evil."
When Jesus is crucified, it will look as if the devil has gotten his way.
It will look as if Jesus has been defeated.
It will look as if evil has triumphed over good.
It will seem as if Jesus is gone forever.
But Jesus says, "Don't be troubled."
"Don't let the power of death and evil disturb you."
But how couldn't they be disturbed?
How couldn't we?
The world has a multitude of answers to this question.
All of which leave us just as troubled as before.
Jesus has one answer: "Trust in God. Trust also in me."
Author Greg Gilbert shares this story:
"I started trying to teach my son to swim early on.
It was a chore.
A year or so old at the time, the little guy didn't like getting water in his face in the bathtub, much less this massive ocean of a pool he was staring at now.
At first, 'teaching him to swim' meant getting him to splash around a bit on the top step, and maybe putting his lips in the water enough to blow bubbles if he was feeling really brave.
Eventually I convinced him to walk around with me in the shallow end, with a death-grip around my neck of course.
Once we mastered that, it was time for the Big Show—Jumping Off the Side.
Fulfilling my God-given duty as a daddy, I lifted him out of the pool, stood him on the side, and said, 'Come on, jump!'
'Come on, kiddo.'
'I'm right here. I'll catch you. I promise!'"
Gilbert continues, "He looked at me, did one more little wind-up, bouncing at the knees, and then fell into the pool with what was more a flop than a jump.
And I caught him.
After that we were off to the races.
'Doot 'gain, Daddy! Doot 'gain!'
And so commenced half an hour of jump, catch, lift, reset, jump, catch, lift, reset."
How many of you can relate to the trust that little boy had in his father?
Perhaps for you it was your mother, grandfather, or a friend.
No matter, when that person was waiting to "catch you," you had no fear, you were no longer "troubled" by the thought of jumping into the "proverbial pool of troubling water."
But, sadly, whether the person you trust or trusted was a father, mother, spouse, whoever...