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The Pastor’s Piece – May 7, 2023

The Pastor’s Piece


May 7, 2023

We live in a world of instant everything. Russian immigrant and comedian Yakov Smirnoff said the first time he went grocery shopping in America he saw powdered milkpowdered eggs, powdered potatoes and even powdered cheddar cheese. As he took all this in he was just amazed. His translator said: “All you have to do is add water.” Then they went down the baby aisle and he picked up a container of baby powder – all he could say was: “Wow! What a country!”

We’re used to instant. We don’t like waiting for anything. Some of us are worse than others when it comes to that. We also don’t like waiting for our troubles to work out. We want instant solutions to all our problems. Being a Christian requires a lot of prayer, and a lot of faith and a lot of patience all the time. We live by faith, not by sight and while we are anticipating great and mighty things from God, we have to be able to identify truth from error. 

When it comes to your faith – how do you know if what you believe is right or wrong? As born again Christians, we hold fast to the claim that our way of belief is the only way of belief.  Those are not our words – they are Jesus’ words. John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”

C S. Lewis, in his book Screwtape Letters, describes a man who goes into a library to read and meditate. His mind is suddenly opened to deep thoughts of God. Confronted with his own standing before God, he starts thinking in terms of his eternal welfare. Then, Lewis says, the demons that are assigned to keep him from discovering truth call his attention to the sounds on the street, to the newsboy (back when they had newsboys) calling out the latest news, and to the fact that he is hungry, ready for lunch. And that is all it takes. All thoughts of God disappear, and he is involved in the mundane activity of life. And, from the point of view of the satanic emissaries, he is delivered from this danger of thinking about God. That is what happens to the callous mind and heart.

We are surrounded by the devil and his army of destruction, pain, death and sorrow. We are surrounded just like Elisha and his servant were in the Old Testament, in Second Kings, the sixth chapter, were surrounded. In that passage, it tells us that Elisha irritated the king so he decided to eliminate him – never a good thing. And so he sends out the military and they entirely surround Elisha during the night. And the servant of Elisha gets up in the morning and goes outside (on the deck I presume with a cup of coffee), and he looks around and sees that they are surrounded by the enemy’s army. You can be sure of one thing, he is alarmed! He goes back inside and says to Elisha: “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” 

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And his servant thought Elisha had lost his mind. But Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.                         

Do you know why Elisha was not afraid? It is because he had years of experience of God working through him to accomplish His will. He had a foundation of faith that could not be shaken. He knew God would not fail. He knew the promises of God would all be carried out to the very end. He knew God who, as Isaiah 40:22 says: “Sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”

And so Elisha was not afraid and he offered a message of eternal hope to his servant when his servant said. The New Testament equivalent to that is found in 1 John 4:4:  “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” God has not gone anywhere. God is consistent throughout history. It is rather shallow thinking to expect that God is going to intercede every time calamity approaches. I know that’s what we want. But need I remind you? God never promised that He would keep us from danger. He promised that He would take us through whatever danger we are experiencing. Jesus said in John 16:33: “Let not your heart be troubled, in this world you will have trouble, but I have overcome the world.” God’s promise is peace in the human heart to those who whole-heartedly seek after Him. 

Hope all you mom’s out there have a Happy Mother’s Day!

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).