Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - To the Edge

I had a discussion with a friend who was going through some very tough times. She had been homeless for a period of time, but found a job and a place to stay for a while until she could take her next step. As she related her story to me, I couldn’t help but be amazed by her story and her faith. She admitted to me that there were times when her faith began to waiver and she wanted to give up. But, she would catch herself and return to her steadfast faith and continue her daily walk with the Lord. She never missed a Sunday of going to church although she would either have to walk or ask for a ride. She didn’t make much money as a waitress at a local diner, but she continued to save. She continued to remain faithful.

When it came to work, she would ask for rides back and forth to work and home. When she couldn’t find a way to and from home and work, she would walk a little over two hours to get home, sleep for a while and then walk back another two hours to work. When I could, I would give her a lift home to help out. She was very thankful for the lift.

From what I just described, you would say that her life was difficult to say the least and you would be right. It was. The really interesting part is that she continued in her faith. Some would just give up on God or turn to a life of alcohol or drugs to ease the pain. She didn’t give up nor did she turn to drugs or alcohol. She remained faithful and knew that God would change her life.

Several weeks ago, things began to change for her. She got a used car for a price she could afford. Her car isn’t the greatest to look at, but it runs very well and has been checked out by a mechanic. She moved out of a house she was living in and decided to live in her car in order to build up savings to find a cheap, but clean place to stay. Her living conditions were less than ideal and the environment proved to be a spiritual challenge for her. She was recommended for other jobs. She now works three jobs and is working to pay off her car early and find that little place she could call home. 

Most would say that her life didn’t change that much, but for her, God provided a way out of her old living environment and gave her a chance to, as she put it, live in a less toxic environment. If you asked her about these blessings, she would tell you the same thing she told me. God always provides a way and blessings.

As she related her new blessings to me, I heard a small voice deep inside my heart that told me this is the message and that same voice also provided the title to today’s message as well as the scriptural reference. In short, her story wrote my message by way of the Holy Spirit.

In the twenty-second chapter of Genesis, God tested Abraham's faith by telling him to take his one and only son to a foreign place and offer him as a burnt sacrifice to God. We all know the story, but there is an interesting part that I hadn’t really thought about. Anywhere along the way, God could have stopped Abraham and Isaac’s journey. Making the journey and agreeing to sacrifice his only son should have been proof enough to God. I think we would all agree to that. 

God, however, allowed him to continue the journey with his son, collect wood for the fire, build an altar and tie up his son. Just as he picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice, an angel of the Lord appeared and told him to stop.

The angel said, “Don’t lay a hand on the boy! Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.

Sometimes God will take us to the very edge, just like Abraham, in order to test our resolve and our mettle. It is so easy for us to say we believe and have faith, but when things are at their darkest, we may decide to give up. It would be just so easy to walk away from God and tell ourselves that God doesn’t care and won’t provide for our needs. But, that is where we would be wrong.

Each day God cares for us and provides for our needs. In time, He will give us the desires of our hearts and shower us with blessings. We just have to remain patient and faithful. These two words, “patient” and “faithful”, are very difficult for us to understand and put into practice.

In the third chapter of the Book of Lamentations, the author writes, “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

The lesson is that God may take us to the very edge in testing our faith, but, in the end, He will provide for our needs and give us the desires of our hearts. We just have to patiently wait on the Lord while remaining faithful. When we do those things, He will bless us beyond imagination. You just have to be patient and always remain dedicated to Him. By doing so, you will always stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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