Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Good News & Bad News, Which do you prefer?

One of my favorite movies is Evan Almighty starring Steve Carell. The movie follows the life of a Buffalo man who was recently elected to congress on the campaign slogan “To Change the World.” The neighborhood where he buys a home near Washington D.C. is in trouble because of a poorly constructed water dam. So God, played by the ever impressive Morgan Freeman, asks Evan to build an ark. Yes an ark, just like Noah was asked to build. Along the way, as Evan begins to build the ark, his collogues, neighbors and even his own family begin to mock him and pull away from him. At one point the task at hand seems too much for Evan to complete.

Do you ever feel like you are following God, doing what he has asked you to do, confident that it is your calling? But all along the way there is one let down after another. Something goes wrong and makes your job a little harder. Someone says or does something mean and nasty to you. You are persecuted by co-workers for following “God” instead of man.

Well let me give you the bad news, according to God’s Word, persecution, tough times, and trials are a part of his plan. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 3:3 to not “be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.” Paul says we are destined for trials. Well how great is that. Part of God plan is to destine us for trials. That means if we are following God, at some point we are going to have it a little tough. Does that sound like the journey you thought you had singed up for?

Well there is good news. In Corinthians Paul teaches that there are no situations we enter that are above us. You see God has called us according to our talents and abilities. He has equipped us and only asks us to serve to our ability. When things get to be too much for us he sends in the cavalry, the muscles, and the armor to help us stand strong and complete the task.

Time and time again we see God providing just what was needed to get through each trial. In the wilderness God provided manna and quail for the Israelites to eat. When Jerusalem was under siege by Sennacherib, King of Assyria, God provided an angel of the Lord killing 180,000 troops. When Paul and Silas were in prison God provided an earthquake to set them free and to help them witness and baptize the Philippian jailor.

Friends, we serve a God who has asked us to do some pretty impressive things. But remember, no matter how tough it gets, what we have been called to matches our gifts and abilities, and when a little more is needed, God is there to provide. When the work got to be too much for Evan, God used the animals in the movie to help lift beams, hammer in pegs, and saw and cut wood. God provides in amazing and wonderful ways.

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