In 2008, my parents and sisters joined Union Hill Baptist Church in Holts Summit, MO. Three years later I had still never been to their church although I had the opportunity to meet some of the church members and I had met Brother Frank three times before (when mom was in the hospital, at a women's conference, and at my grandma's funeral) so I was excited to finally be able to come experience this church they love and to actually hear Brother Frank preach. I wasn't disappointed.
After Scotty shared his testimony and sang, I knew that God had brought me to Union Hill Baptist Church on this particular Sunday for a reason. I was actually supposed to come the week before but we had to postpone mom's surprise party due to grandma's death. God knew what he was doing sending me here this Sunday instead of last.
The sermon was over a group of passages that I have heard preached several different times. Often you hear the same message from the same passage but not this time. For the first time, I realized several of the verses that Brother Frank was lumping together into one sermon are often preached individually. How many times have you heard a sermon from 1 Peter 5:7, "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you"? or 1 Peter 5:8, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour"? It actually didn't dawn on me until we read them all together that they are actually back to back verses in the Bible (I have a bad problem of remembering the verse but not the reference)! When we read them all together they took on a whole new meaning for me.
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen." 1 Peter 5:6-11 NLT
Although these verses have great meaning individually, I think they are way different when you consider them all in relation to one another.
Brother Frank shared that Scotty was right. We all go through rough spots in our lives. We take some hits and we feel the sting of disappointment but you have to hold on to God. It all starts with being humble. God promises that if we humble ourselves before Him then at the RIGHT time HE WILL lift us up. But that requires us to first be humble and to submit ourselves to God.
Once we have humbled ourselves before God and submitted ourselves to the power of God and the will of God, then we are to cast all our cares on Him. Why? Because He cares for us. It's not that He doesn't want to hear our concerns and our worries if we aren't completely and perfectly humble, it's just that God gives us freewill and if we aren't submitting ourselves to God then we aren't allowing Him to handle our problems. We are instead choosing to try and handle them on our own which actually causes more disappointment and worry!
Brother Frank said that when he played baseball in high school he was a catcher but he was a small catcher compared to most of the other players. His coach told him that because he was smaller than the other players he was going to get run over. No and ifs or buts about it. They would see his size, assume he was no challenge, and they would charge the plate. The coach told him that his job was to stand firm, take the hit, and hold on to the ball for the win. If he didn't stand firm when taking the hit then he would get hurt. However, if he could stand firm while taking the hit and still hold onto the ball then he would survive the impact and they could win the game. Then he related it. As Christians, we are small against the world. We will take hits in our lives. It's our jobs to stand firm. We need to hold onto our faith and to God so that we too can win the game and defeat the enemy. Then there will be true joy and rejoicing in our lives. We won't be living in disappointment anymore. We will have victory over the enemy. We will have victory over the depression we have been fighting. All the hits will make sense and they will be worth it.
So join me today in standing firm. Hold on to God. Hold on to faith. Defeat the enemy!