PRESENTED AT CURWENSVILLE ALLIANCE ON 5/15/2016 BY PASTOR STEVE SHIELDS
You’ve heard people say it, right? “I have trust issues.“ Sure you have. And if you’re like me, you sympathize, but a part of you wants to reply, “And… you think that makes you different than…who?” Struggling to trust is not unique to the few.
Almost everyone I know has trust issues. We’d like to think it’s because of the day in which we live. How can we not struggle to trust when we see so much evil around us. But it’s no more unique to our era than the concept is unique to you or me.
It’s said that the most often repeated command in Scripture is Fear not. Do you ever wonder why? Sure, there are the everyday reasons. Fear leads us backwards. Fear doesn’t accomplish anything extraordinary. Fear stifles. But perhaps there is a more basic reason. Maybe fear is the opposite of trust. Maybe the commonness of the command, Fear not, serves to remind us of the commonness of trust issues.
Part of Jesus’ mission was to show us the glory of God — filled with grace and truth. And in His statement, I am the good shepherd, Jesus gives us good reason to trust God. He helps us with our trust issues.
This podcast addresses this in ways I hope you find helpful.
Whether I live or die, I’m ready.
Today is the fourteenth anniversary of my father’s death.
It seems like yesterday.
As a pastor, I have heard people say, “I’m afraid to die” numerous times. I’ve felt it myself, when I was younger. But I never heard my dad say those words. He was not afraid to die.
Years before his death when he had his very first heart attack, I arrived at the hospital moments before they took him in for surgery. They stopped long enough for me to tell him I was praying for him. His face, taped with a tube coming from his nose, was marked with a relaxed expression of calm.
And his words brought peace to my anxious mind: “Whatever is before me, I am ready. Whether I live or die, it’s okay.”
I miss him every day, but I’d never wish him back. I wonder if they serve cake in heaven on the anniversary of your arrival.
How can we all face death like dad did? This podcast gives some answers.
At the southernmost point of the African continent is a place called Cape Agulhas. It lies south and east of The Cape of Good Hope and is less well-known. But it’s not unknown to sailors. The sea off Cape Agulhas is notorious for winter storms and mammoth rogue waves, which can range up to 100 feet high, having sunken even large ships. Why?
Why is this area of the worlds seawater marked by such turmoil? There are a number of reasons. Three oceans meet here: The Atlantic, the Indian, and the South Polar Ocean. The naturally strong winds, which blow unencumbered from west to east, and the cold Antarctic Current flowing in the same direction, meet the warmer Agulhas Current in the region of the cape. These conflicting currents of water of different densities, and other factors can create extremely hazardous wave conditions.
Conflicting currents. They can cause turmoil. There are a lot of places besides Cape Agulhas where conflicting currents cause turmoil. What about when sending kids to school? I remember when we put Tim on the school bus to go to kindergarten. My friend, John, said, “Steve – be ready to see your wife cry.” I thought, “Why would you cry at that?” The answer: Conflicting currents. In one sense, a mother is glad to see her child growing and heading to school. In another sense, she is grieving the loss. As an aside, I would say it was the same with Esther. And in both cases, both Laurel and I cried.
The audio file here helps us learn to deal with conflicting currents in our lives.