First off, Happy Mother's Day! :)
Second, the sermon was really great. It was from 1st Peter 5:6-11 (For the most part).
"6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
Things can definitely be said about the first verse, but that's not where the focus was. The main idea was around 'casting all your anxieties on Him' in verse 7. The thing is that we can be plagued and attacked by many kinds of 'anxieties': burdens, trials, fears, etc. But they all come in several different categories:
1. Ongoing...these kinds of troubles center around the same thing over a period of time, such as several months to years to even all of life. (Physical Illness, Depression, and more). It is definitely true that trials and burdens DO go on all throughout our lives.
2. The next category was defined as 'Acute'. These sorts of trials happen in an instant...such as a car accident or the event of a life passing away into Heaven's arms. They're here, and then they're gone. In the case of the latter, you could say that it's an ongoing thing for awhile, but that's really the Depression involving it, not necessarily 'it' itself.
3. Another one may be things that are imagined, or in future scenarios about the next day or upcoming years: The pursuit of marriage for a teen growing into the adult stage (such as me [not that I'm actually headed for 'marriage' this moment]), or the bearing of kids for a couple, or even fears such as the future collapse of our country and world. There's a verse in Matthew that I absolutely love, and it's in chapter six, verse thirty-four.
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble."
In itself, that verse may seem a little bit confusing. What Jesus is really getting at though, is that God will take care of your needs, which then leads in to the next category.
4. This one is certainly not the most danger filled one, but it's very sad: When we are Doubting His Care. Verse 34 from chapter six of Matthew also sort of brings some things into this one as well. Read on through verse 8 and 9 of chapter five in 1 Peter again. Peter gives us a warning.
And then this is where some people start asking these questions: Why? Why do we have these Trials? Why are some of them so devastating as to almost rob you of your life?
The answers to these questions are not always easily understood, until you look back on something and realize that God was there all along. There are several reasons why we have these Trials:
- They produce tested, Genuine Faith. James says it well in the first chapter of his letter: "Count it All Joy, my Brothers, when you meet Trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let Steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
- Following the 'Genuine Faith' idea, it also grows you to be more dependent upon Him. Beside your growing 'Genuine Faith', your Trust will grow as well. You may be tempted to blame Him for what you're going through, but when you're at the end, you can almost see all that He did for you in that time. He leads you through the Storm, the emphasis being on 'leads'. He has his arm around you, and you're in the shelter of His wings. Don't fret, my brothers and sisters. When it all comes to pass, you shall Praise God for His enduring Faithfulness toward you.
- There are more things that could be said, such as our own Sin (and again God teaching us to be more like Him through it) and many more that you could list off.
Pure and simple though, behind everything, the answer is: He CARES for you! :) Well, that's all good and known, you may say. A typical conversation would've just asked the question that I already answered. Then the proceeding question would go like this: Well, since you say He CARES for me, HOW does He care about it?
Well, front and center, He knows your suffering. As Jesus, God walked through the human life of trials, and ended up taking on the Greatest Sacrifice of All...His own life. My dear brothers and sisters, He knows pain.
Psalm 56:8: "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?"
You should read through to the end of the section at verse 11. It ends with something encouraging: "In God I trust, what can man do to me?"
It's almost a boast: Hey, yeah, sure, men can hurt me bodily, make me depressed, make me flee...but I don't really have to be scared, because I know what's coming and where I'm going, and man can't change that.
Beyond that, every moment you've been down, every tear you've cried, every event of your earthly pain He has counted, and every other event besides.
Even beyond that, He WILL NEVER forget you. Luke puts it this way: "6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."
If God forgets not the sparrows, or the grass upon we tread, shall He forget us? By no means, my friends: We are 'of more value than many sparrows'.
He Protects you and Provides for you. The Father sent His One and Only Son to us. Jesus gave to us to the point of giving His Very LIFE...if He gave us His Eternal Life, why would He not give us all our very needs?
Now, of course some aspects of our trials will remain with us until we see Him face to face. But we have a hope in this text that never fails. His love never fails. When the storms rage, we don't have to be afraid. We have a friend that the wind and storms obey...and He's interceding for us at the Right Hand Of God. Because HE cares for YOU, cast all of your ANXIETIES on Him, and He'll take care of you. :)