Thursday, May 1, 2014

How Do You Find Peace In Troubled Times? Remember.

We must be a huge source of frustration for Jesus. No wonder we need a Shepherd; we are spiritually dull, as sheep are dumb. We get ourselves into a panic over the least little thing. It is like we have no memory of anything beyond today. Either that or we think Yahweh is a constantly changing God. Why can't we remember who he is and what he has done?

How many times has Jesus either rescued you from situations or provided you with what you needed to get through it? Probably countless times. But do we remember these things when we find ourselves in trouble? Hardly. Is he the first one we run to? Not very often. Normally we turn to family, friends, banks, credit cards and only after everything else fails do we consider prayer.

We pray but it is not with boldness and confidence, it is more a desperate hope. We so quickly forget how he gave us the wisdom and strength to deal with that big thing just last week. And remember last year when we felt the world was falling in on us and he stepped in with that big miracle? But we don't remember; we panic. Even if we don't panic we do allow fear to disturb our sleep and we allow worry to dominate our day. Are we ever going to grow up?

Let's take a second and see what we look like. Jesus just finished a huge ministry to a great multitude and was also walking away from another confrontation with the spiritual leaders. He was trying to teach his disciples while they traveled by boat but the disciples couldn't understand because they were too concerned that they had forgotten to bring food. If I was Jesus I would have been frustrated with the lot of them. But Jesus took the opportunity to point out the obvious because they could not see the obvious:

He said to them, “Why are you discussing that you do not have any bread? Don’t you understand or comprehend? Is your heart hardened? (Mark 8:17)

Now understand the context here. Jesus has just fed a multitude of four thousand (more when you add in the women and children) with a bit of bread and a bit of fish. The fact he did this is awesome in itself but the fact that they had left overs, and a lot of left overs, just adds to the wonder of this thing. The disciples were not observers in the event either; they were participants. They were the ones who distributed the food so it isn't like they could forget. Yet, they saw Jesus do this and they still allowed the fact they had forgotten food to interfere with what Jesus was trying to teach.

Jesus referred to a hard heart here due to their inability to shift from what they had known to the new reality of the Kingdom. What they had known before had to be let go of because they were now with the one who walked on water, quieted storms, gave sight to the blind, cast out demons, made the lame walk, brought life to the dead and fed multitudes with scraps. We seem to be able to accept the reality of the Kingdom when we are told our sins are forgiven but we have a struggle accepting all the rest of it. Our hearts are hardened into the old reality.

Jesus said to them:

Do you have eyes, and not see, and do you have ears, and not hear? And do you not remember? (v. 18)

Look in the mirror and ask yourself those three questions. Examine your own recent history: Do you have eyes, and not see? Examine your journals for the many lessons the Spirit taught you as you sat in loneliness and despair, a broken person: Do you have ears, and not hear? And the worse question of them all: Do you not remember? How easily we forget what Jesus has done for us. How easily we forget our own testimony. How easily we forget what he has brought us through to get us to today. Do we really think he is going to change his mind and abandon us now?

Jesus asked them how many baskets of left overs there were after he feed the five thousand with five loaves of bread. Twelve. Jesus asked them how many baskets of left overs there were after he feed the four thousand with seven loaves of bread? Seven. Then he asks them one simple question:

"Do you not understand yet?"

My friends, do we not understand yet? After all the things he has helped us through and rescued us from, do we not understand? He loves us. He has promised that if we obey him and concern ourselves with the matters of the Kingdom, he will look after all our needs. He has promised to rescue us. He has promised to lead us through the difficult places. He has promised and he has been faithful to these promises. Why is today any different? Remember your testimony. Remember his promises. Remember his love. Remember his power.

Remember and rejoice because Father is good all the time. You, remain faithful and obedient. Stay the course. Hold his hand. Sing his praises. Speak of his wonderful love. Trust. Lean. Abide in him because he abides in you. Remember.

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