Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We can trust God through all situations in life.

Who Can You Trust?

Hebrews 3:1-6

Shawn was a promising young student who had demonstrated his drive for excellence and his meticulous attention to following through with the details. Nobody in Shawn's family had ever been to college, but that wouldn't stop Shawn from pursuing his goal of getting on campus and making the most of his opportunity. Shawn had checked with his counselor on a regular basis to make sure he was taking all of the classes that he needed to impress those who would consider his application for admission when the time came.

Graduation day arrived for the students at George Washington Carver High School and Shawn's family was preparing for the big night. The crowd gathered in the stands to watch their kids make the walk of honor and receive their diplomas for a job well done. Shawn, as the Valedictorian of his class, was given the honor of addressing the graduates and his family swelled with pride. It was the biggest night they had ever experienced since the day Shawn was born and they were reveling in the moment.

After graduation, Shawn began his daily routine of checking the mailbox to see if he had been accepted to any of the colleges that he had made application. Day after day he waited. Day after day he found only junk mail. Day after day his anxiety rose like a thermometer as Spring rolled into Summer. The day came when Shawn went to the mailbox and found the long awaited letter from his number 1 choice. He could hardly open the letter as his palms sweated and his heart raced. He ran inside and yelled, "It's here! I got the letter!" Shawn's mother came from the kitchen and told him to open the letter with a big smile on her face. Shawn tore open the envelope and read silently, but his mother saw the answer etched on his face. She walked over and wrapped her big arms around her little boy and said, "It's okay baby. When the Lord closes a door, He always opens another one. You don't give up your dream."

Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe the emotions that racked Shawn's heart when he realized that all of his work had proven to not be enough. He had done everything he was supposed to do and yet he still wouldn't be welcome on campus. The more Shawn thought about his rejection letter the more bitter he became. He had taken all of the tests. He had made his grades. He had been told that he was a shoe-in for acceptance, but now he was dealing with failure. Was it his own or the failure of those who had made promises?

Tawana was a classmate of Shawn's, but she wasn't worried about which college she would be attending in the Fall. Three weeks before graduation her mom and dad had gathered their three kids in the living room after supper and broke the news to them. They said, that after having serious talks together, they had decided that they would split up. They had tried to keep their marriage together for the kids, but it just wasn't working. They knew it would be difficult on everyone to make the adjustment, but they wanted the kids to know that they would do everything they could to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible. They assured the kids that they both loved them dearly. They told them that their decision to divorce had nothing to do with anything the kids had done; they simply did not love each other any more.

For three weeks Tawana had not been able to escape the night that she sat with her brother and sister and heard that they weren't going to be a family any more. Things that her mother and father had said to her in the past raced through her mind while she sat in class, when she went to baseball games, as she lay in bed at night and tried to sleep. Her parents had always told her that marriage was for life. They had said, "No matter how bad your problems are, you can always work them out." Marriage was for life. Nothing is more important than our family. Marriage is for life... it's for life. Tawana had believed them. She had tried to comfort her friends who had been through the divorce of their mom and dad, but she never dreamed that she would need comfort some day. The little voice in Tawana's mind kept asking her, "If you can't trust your mom and dad, then who can you trust?"

First Church was family. It was a small church, but the people who called it home were so close that the church was like one big family. The children smiled and sang their songs of faith. The women of the church helped each other like sisters. The men talked football and faith with equal passion when they got together at each other's houses for prayer and Bible study. The Pastor had faithfully served the congregation for almost twenty years and everyone loved him. He didn't preach great sermons, but he was everywhere. When someone was sick - he was at the hospital. When someone's family member was dying - he was present to pray and cry with the family as if his own loved one was leaving this world. When a child was struggling - he was quick to offer a word of encouragement and hope. The Pastor never gave up on anyone. He always held out the promise of God's grace to those who were about to give up.

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