Prayer is one of my biggest battles. My flesh often fights against a spiritual desire to pray. And I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because my prayers make a difference.
I recently spoke with two individuals going through tremendous difficulty. And they convinced me of something. Both of them are much older than me. More experienced in this thing called life. And here I am, a young preacher, learning to grapple with empathy.
How am I supposed to speak into that level of pain? I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to be in their shoes. But I’m called to be present in their situations.
A few weeks ago, I found myself peddling the Walmart aisles for a graduation card. Honestly, I didn’t give it much effort. I knew my friend didn’t care about the type of card. Hallmark? A piece of paper folded hamburger style with stick people? He didn’t care. And neither did I. Until I found the perfect one: a card based on the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.
I’m not so sure if he likes Dr. Seuss. But I do. The creative illustrations, catchy wordplay, and rhythmic flow awaken my inner-child. But there’s something special about “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” Consider a couple of quotes.
I find myself in a season of waiting. And it’s frustrating. There are so many things I just can’t understand. Why is this happening? Why is it taking so long? And how am I supposed to handle the uncertainty? Because it’s getting really hard to keep my head up. Maybe you feel the same way.
But here’s what God has to say: worship in the waiting.
Allow me to share with you a story about two individuals in the Bible who worship while they wait. Their names are Simeon and Anna. Let’s look at Simeon first.
I’ve been the one surrounded by encouraging people after preaching a sermon. But I’ve also been the one ignored and seemingly rejected. And I’m learning to be okay with both.
I often find myself deceived by the applause of man. Every time I publish a message, I find myself discouraged. I hardly ever get the response that I expect. Each week, I pour my heart into the Bible. Sometimes, to the point of mental exhaustion. Only to receive a handful of likes on Facebook. And it’s quite discouraging.
But I shouldn’t even think those thoughts. Let alone write them. But I doubt I’m the only one who tries to please people over God. And so, here’s a message to people pleasers like me.
It’s a well-known idiom. But to me, it means something more.
One of my favorite people in the Bible is John the Baptist. I preach about him quite a bit. And today is no different. After all, John the Baptist ranks among the most humble of any human in Scripture.
John is noted for saying, “‘He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease’” (John 3:30 ESV).
Preparing the way for Christ, John the Baptist was not liked by many. This landed him a spot in prison. He did nothing wrong. But John was unwilling to compromise his commitment to the Gospel.