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SERMON SUMMARY. Upon hearing of the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, I went into deep reflection on what the Lord might have me preach in the morning. Our theme for the month is having a mature faith. I was led to the narratives of David and Job, both of who lost their children – as did the parents of Trayvon Martin. Several themes emerged. First, although it was profoundly painful, we as people of mature faith also know the nature of the world. We are born into a world of sin and suffering. Second was to ask how do we, as people of faith, respond to tragedy and injustice. We look at the David and Job (and Trayvon’s parents) and see how people of God respond. We first go to the Lord, we seek his face in prayer. Then, once we have sought the Lord in prayer, we push . . . we look to see what the Lord has placed in our hands that we can do about the situation or trial. Finally, after we have sought the Lord, and having done all we can do, we go back to the Lord in praise. We will see in the lives of these people of God that they met their tragedy’s on their knees, in their actions and in their praise. We must do the same.
Please read and reflect on the following texts: 2 Samuel 13-23; Job 1:13-22, Romans 8:28
Mature Faith Recognizes the Reality of a Harsh World. The death of Trayvon Martin, a child, and the lack of accountability in the verdict was/is a tragedy for black America, white America . . . for humanity. Some are grieving. Some are angry. Others are despondent. As people of God, however, we are pained but not surprised by the reality of the world.
— What tragedy do we see in the lives of David and Job? How do we expect the to respond?
— What does Romans 8:28 tell us about this?
Look at the following quotes from the mother and the father of Trayvon Martin: “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered . . . Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have”.
— What did they express about their faith in these quotes?
— How is the response of faith our different from the response of the world?
Prayer. Our first step must be to seek God in prayer. Often, we seek other means like asking others or trying to figure things out on our own. But going to God – whether it be in anger, confusion, etc. – is where we start.
— What do we see that David did upon finding out that his son would likely die?
— How do we respond to tragedy and trial? Do we seek God first?
Push. We don’t, however, stop with prayer. In situations there is often something more we can do. This does not speak to the sufficiency of prayer – prayer is our source of power – but it does speak to the opportunity for us to apply our efforts.
— What else does David do to pursue his situation?
If you pay attention to the Martin family, you will see they’ve done the same. They recognize God and left things in God’s hands but that does not absolve them from acting. They continue to aggressively pursue justice for their son both before the case and after the case.
— What does this mean for us? Upon moments of hurt and despair are we to pray and then curl up in our couches and on our beds and do nothing?
Now we pray and then leave all that is God’s in the hands of God but we push where the Lord has provided us opportunity and ability to push. Consider even this case. Mr. Zimmerman was not going to be arrested or tried but the parents pushed for justice and made the system move.
Praise. After we have prayed to God and sought him for our peace and we have pushed and done all that we can humanly do we must then pursue praise and worship of the Lord. It’s in this praise and worship that we recognize the sovereignty of God, that he is in control and know that Romans 8:28 is real.
— Do we see any place where the grieving fathers, David and Job were able to come to a place of worshiping God in the midst of tragedy? Where do we see that in the Biblical text?
As we reflect on our own life’s situations, do we remember or are we drawn to praise and worship in the midst of trial and adversity?
This is one reason the Bible implores us in Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake coming to church and worshipping with our brothers and sisters in Christ. On some days we may not feel like worship but when we get to the church house and the body of Christ begins to worship we are drawn to it… It brings us into the spirit and presence of worship.
After we have prayed and pushed we have to go back to God with our praise. Praise reminds us of who God is, what he does and that he is control. Both David and Job worshipped in the midst of adversity. Trayvon’s parents made sure to be in church immediately after the verdict. We must do the same. We know victory is in Christ. We must pray to God, push where we can push and praise God in the midst of our trials.