Summary: Trials are meant to fortify our faith.
Growing Up When You’re Torn Down
Rev. Brian Bill
September 27-28, 2014
Offertory: “He’s Been Faithful”
On Monday of this week, the pastoral staff and spouses went bowling. It was meant to be a great bonding time and we purposely wanted to keep it light. Last year when we got together Beth and I washed the feet of everyone and so this year we decided to do something a bit more sanitary. We thought it would be good to have some competition so we made it men vs. women. Of course, the guys won. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Beth beat me. I don’t know how it happened because my form was impeccable. When a picture was posted on Facebook, Ben Kuriscak added another one along with this comment: “Such grace.” I’ll get him back in a bit.
Anyway, when we were first married Beth beat me at tennis and we’ve not played since. I guess bowling is now out as well.
On Tuesday night I was home reading the paper. Becca and Emily needed to run to the store so I was in charge of Leo, Becca’s little mop dog, or as I affectionately call him, “Demon-dog.” When they walked out the front door Leo started barking like crazy. I just ignored him until he came running into the kitchen and body slammed into the door going into our garage. I ran after him at this point because I wasn’t sure if the garage door was closed. To my horror I saw that it was open about a foot from the bottom and he dove under it to chase after Becca. I did a swan dive on the garage floor, skinning my knee in the process, ending up with my head under the door as I yelled for him to come back. I saw him bolting after Becca’s car as she sped down the street.
Since I couldn’t fit through the small space I ran back inside to push the garage door opener and then took off after Leo, screaming his name at the top of my lungs as I ran barefoot down the street (so much for our neighboring efforts). Leo looked back and kept running straight for a busy street. I then started yelling, “treat, treat” and that got his attention. He didn’t come right away but instead cut through several neighbor’s yards and eventually flew back into the garage where I cornered him, picked him up, and threw him like a bowling ball into his kennel – it was a perfect strike!
My pain of losing in bowling and of almost losing Leo is nothing like what some of you are going through. Our team spent time this week listing some of the pain and difficulties that we know about among the people of Edgewood. Here’s what came to our minds: death of a parent, a spouse, or a child, lay-offs, health issues, cancer (40 people have either had cancer or are fighting it right now), marital struggles, singleness issues, people looking for work, absent fathers, divorce, single and parenting, financial struggles, prodigal children, aging parents, car troubles, addictions, loss of pets (I can give you one of ours), empty nest issues, mental health challenges, purity issues, loneliness, purposelessness, relational conflict, school issues, emotional or physical abuse, lifestyle changes, remodeling challenges, moving stress, unmet expectations, dealing with change, bullying, pregnancy issues, not being able to have a child, work overload, world events and persecution.
Pastor Tim gave me a copy of a “Stress Scale” this week that shows how a high stress score can lead to some serious health issues. As I pondered this list of trials, it appears that many of you are on tilt.
Of all the things that people have to deal with, I can’t imagine the pain of having a family member go missing and then some time later be found dead. According to an article in USA Today this week, on average 90,000 people are missing in America at any given time. It happens way more than it should in the QCA – a teenage girl has been missing since September 17th. In my role as chaplain for the Quad Cities Missing Person Network, I talk to parents and spouses on a regular basis who desperately need hope and help. I consider it an honor to be able to pray with them on the phone and share Scripture. As a way to minister to the hurting in our community, Edgewood is hosting a Memorial Service to honor those who’ve gone missing on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. I’ll be talking more about this on Moody Radio Monday morning at 7:40 if you’d like to tune in.
Here’s what we’re going to discover today: As tough as they are, trials are meant to fortify our faith. Please turn to 1 Peter 1:6-9: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”