Sunday, January 31, 2010
Final part of the Rough Water sermon
I do not have all of the answers to give anyone about why God would allow something like an earthquake in Haiti to happen. I don’t believe Pat Robertson does either, even if he says he has the answer. I don’t know all the big reasons why earthquakes have to happen, but I know that even in the midst of tremendous pain and suffering, the Lord that created the heavens and the earth is the Lord still. I know the Jesus that sees this pain and suffering endured the pain and suffering on the cross in our stead, and stands with us in our pain and suffers with us still.
I know that God has given us all sorts of opportunities to be witnesses to be his hands and feet and show what our faith is all about through giving to relief in Haiti. And you can do that at any point through our missions giving. Just write a check to the church and put Haiti relief in the memo. We will pass it on through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and it will get directly to those who need it most.
I don’t have all the answers about why there are hurricanes in New Orleans, tsunamis in Southeast Asia, earthquakes in Haiti, and famines in Africa. God has not hired me as his consultant. I doubt he will. I do know that God is loving and God is good, and that some questions are not answerable, and some answers I could not comprehend. And I do know that the one that hovered over creation on that first day and the Jesus that stood on the water on the Sea of Galilee is Lord still. I can trust my life to him. I can trust my soul with Him.
Our final hymn was written by Horatio Spafford. Spafford was a businessman in Chicago. When the Great Fire of 1871 burned Chicago, the fire destroyed all he had. He lost his business and his home. The fire also killed his only son. Two years later he was going to travel with his family to Europe. He got delayed working on rebuilding after the fire in Chicago, and sent his wife and daughters ahead. The ship hit rough waters and sank. He later received a telegram from his wife. It said, “Saved Alone”. All their children were now dead. As he travelled by boat to meet his wife in England and bring her home, he stood on the boat over the waters where the boat sank and penned these words to the hymn, “It is Well with My Soul”. The first verse reads, “When peace like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
And I know if a woman trapped under a building with no food or water for over a week can be drug out and as soon as she has breathe can cry. “Praise God. God is Good.” I can say it too. And if a man who lost everything he ever loved can sing “It is well with my soul” I can sing it to. Not because I am supposed to. Not because I am that faithful. Because in the middle of my fears and the things in the world I can’t control, Jesus comes to me and you and says to each of us like he did to those disciples, “It is I, do not be afraid.” And then he gets in the boat with us in the middle of the storm. And the fact that he is with me, and with us makes all the difference.