(On November 4, I gave the message at Mission of Hope’s Sunday morning Worship Service. Here is Part 4 of the message. I posted Parts 1, 2 and 3 earlier this week.)
Another storm in my life was when I was caught up in the trap of living for the world and all the things this world offers. I wanted a glamorous life, full of fame, money, lots of possessions. I guess I had the thinking that if Jesus loved me, He would give me all the things I wanted. Instead, Jesus loved me enough to strip some of those worldly things away, to humble me, and to remove the desire for all that stuff. I see now that He was preparing me to serve Him here at Mission of Hope and help me focus on eternal things, not the stuff we see in the stores or on t.v. I’m so thankful he rescued me from that empty, self-gratifying life.
Another storm was during my parents’ deaths. I guess you could say I had a Mayberry-type of life growing up. I was raised in a loving home, by parents who believed in me and encouraged me to be my best. I was extremely close to my parents, and after moving away from home, I saw them or talked to them almost daily. I loved them so much. Jesus held me through saying goodbye to them in their deaths, through their funerals and through the grief-filled days of emptiness afterwards. I still miss them, but I know some day I’ll see them again.
And yet another storm was thirteen years ago when I left my husband. I was ready to end our marriage. But Jesus came to our rescue. He healed our hearts and our marriage, and renewed our love for each other. Just three weeks ago we renewed our vows right here in celebration of our love and what Jesus has done through our 20 years of marriage.
I see plenty of storms in the lives of our friends who come through the doors of Mission of Hope. Storms of loss of family, jobs and possessions. Storms of homelessness, hunger, loneliness. Storms of mental illness, addictions, and disease. Storms of divorce, abuse and trying to overcome bad decisions of the past. Friends, I see your storms and so does Jesus. Jesus is praying for you, and Jesus is with you. His Word says He will never leave you. And we here at Mission of Hope are with you too. I don’t think you know really how much we love each of you. We care about you and we care about what you are going through. We pray for you each and every day. You know, some of those days when we are five minutes late opening up the front door? We’re late because we are praying for you. We don’t want to open the door until we’ve gone to God on your behalf. During those prayers we ask Jesus to meet you right where you are, and we ask Him to work through us to help you in any way we can.
Mission of Hope is also experiencing a storm of its own. Finances are extremely tight. Each day we pray and trust that God will bring in the money that’s needed to continue to allow Mission of Hope to be His light in this city. God continues to be faithful to His ministry. We are encouraged though, because we see Him working in this building and at the Shelter daily. We see Him working through the Jail Ministry, through the Food Pantry, through our Bible studies, through the Worship Services, through our noon meals here and through our evening meals at the Shelter. We see Him working through the new website that we will be given on Thursday of this week! We see Him at work in every area in this ministry! So we are encouraged…and we will trust Him as we walk this storm out with Him.
This is also a stormy time for our country. But Jesus is saying the same thing to us as He did to His disciples in the boat, “Courage, it’s Me. Don’t be afraid.” He’s in the storms of our country too.
So where is Jesus? He’s praying for us. He’s next to God standing up for us. And in His time, He’s going to come to us and rescue us in our storms of life. Jesus met the disciples on the lake in their storm. Let’s ask Him to come into the middle of ours.
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