Summary: Faith is triumphant when we still have it despite life’s difficulties.
By: Reverend Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport
Last week I was on the phone with my parents when out of the blue my mother asked
me, “So how is your theology doing these days?”
The question caught me by surprise...I didn’t know exactly why she was asking this, and I
didn’t know exactly what to say.
So I was silent for a few moments.
Then I heard my mother’s voice on the other end of the phone, “Ken, are you there?”
I answered, “Yes, but I don’t know exactly what or why you are asking me this. What do
“Well,” she said, “You asked me this same question when you were up here after
Christmas, and I never had the opportunity to ask you the same question.”
“Oh,” I said, I had forgotten all about that.
“Well, I guess you could say that I basically believe what everyone who calls themselves
a Christian believes, and my faith is getting stronger and stronger every day.”
“That’s great,” was her reply.
And I have to tell you all that this is an incredible blessing.
Because the Bible tells us that faith and even the ability to have faith is a gift from God.
And I know from past experience that without this faith I am a very lost, lonely and
And the fact that God is increasing my faith daily is an incredible triumph.
Because I, like everyone in this room have been and continue to be bombarded by all
kinds of stuff sent straight from our enemy--the Devil--who is prowling around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
And this is exactly the kind of thing that David, who wrote Psalm 27 was faced with in
a very violent and furious manner.
As a matter of fact, King David probably knew more about this spiritual warfare than
many of us could ever imagine.
In the earlier part of his life, David was often on the run as enemies chased him--trying to
One attack came after another.
At one point he was hiding from King Saul who wanted him dead.
And later on, his life was threatened by his own son Absalom.
And yet through it all...his faith continued to grow....and through his faith he learned to
overcome his foes by placing his trust in God.
What I’m trying to say is that Faith is Triumphant when a person is still able to
have and rely on it as their “stronghold” despite all the horrible things that we have to face
in this life.
I’m sure many of you have heard Christian seminarys referred to as Cemetaries.
and there is good reason for this.
I have heard several accounts of persons who entered seminary after feeling the call of
God to go into the ministry--only to drop out--having lost their faith.
And what a shame this is.
Having recently gone through three years of seminary I can understand how this can
They have a saying at Candler School of Theology where I graduated from.
In the first year you are crucified.
In the second year you are buried.
And if you make it through the third year--you are resurrected!
You see, Seminary is kind of like a spiritual boot-camp for ministers.
They throw all this stuff at you--from every angle--that directly contradicts your faith.
It is a three-year battle.
But it is a battle which is very much worth fighting.
Throughout the seminary experience, Scholars and theologians spend an incredible
amount of time and energy trying to blow holes through everything you believe.
And there is a good reason behind this...because if you can come out of this experience
with your faith intact...your faith is much stronger than it was before you entered seminary.
And thanks be to God...this is what happened to me.
And then, when you go out into the world...when you are assigned a church, and you are
faced with all the difficult situations that the ministry puts you in...faith is not the issue.
As a matter of fact, with every new dilemma, with every new catastophy that comes your
way your faith grows even stronger...because in order to be an effective minister for God
and God’s people you learn that you must rely on your faith more and more.
And as Christains...we are all called to be ministers...whether we are officially
ordained or not. Every one of us is a minister for Jesus Christ and His Church. Every one
of us are called to witness to our faith...and to make disciples of all peoples.
So we all must face trials that test our faith in order to make our faith stronger. We all
must go through the pains of spiritual growth in order to become the mature Christians we must