Faith + Hope = Trust
Last night we attended church and heard the last sermon in a series about faith and hope – and how they lead to trust. The message was on the people of God during the exodus and how God showed up in a magnificent way to give His people a pillar of clouds during the day and a pillar of fire each night. These physical manifestations were to let the folks know that God was present and that He would be with them to guide them on their way. In other words, God increased their faith and hope in Him.
As you may recall, the Israelites were leaving Egypt and Pharaoh changed his mind about letting Moses and his people go. The Egyptian army with its chariots and horses pursued Moses and God’s people to the edge of the Red Sea. Then, at the command of God, Moses held out his staff and the sea parted, allowing the people to escape on dry land across the dry river bed. The water then collapsed on the enemy troops and the entire Egyptian force was annihilated. God delivered a victory.
So many of the miracles of God have to do with nature and how if we have faith and hope in God, He will come through. That’s much different from how we think we can solve issues in our human capacity. Because many times when we think we can get the job done, we fall flat and can’t deliver what we thought we could.
In any event, during the middle of the message, the weather changed drastically and massive winds downed power lines around the church. Sure enough, all the power in the auditorium went out and, suddenly, we were in total darkness. We had been warned that there was severe weather in the area, but nobody thought that we would actually lose power. In fact, in the twenty years or so that we have been attending Grace Church, we have never had a service interrupted by weather, much less a power outage.
Lights flickered on and off, the sound system on stage had to reboot and eventually, things returned to normal. But that’s not the interesting part of the story. Because the time that we were there, without the benefit of technology, was more intimate and interesting than most other services we have ever attended. Our pastor was talking about how, if we depend on God, things happen. And sure enough, at that moment as we listened intently, the power went off, the Pastor moved to the front of the stage and continued to speak to us as if we were having a cup of coffee at the local Starbuck’s.
Not only did we have the awesome display of the weather – in itself, a powerful example of divine intervention at its best, but it was clear that the Holy Spirit was present with us in that place. In this world of bigger and better, sound effects and light shows, here we were in a massive auditorium listening to our Pastor carry on in his regular voice, as if nothing had happened.
The message of faith and hope resonated through the congregation as we heard about the people of Moses trusting God to deliver them from the Egyptians. God had them covered – the same way that He takes care of us. We know this because God is consistent and the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Our verse for tonight gives us the words of Moses as he let the Israelites know that God would fight for them and protect them. In fact, God was about to bring them victory. We are told, in Exodus 14:13-14, “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
My encouragement this evening is that God is still fighting for us; and still demonstrating His awesome power in every way imaginable. My prayer is that these displays from the Father will work to increase our trust that God will take care of us as a result of the faith and hope that we are called to on a daily basis. After all, we are His people as well. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…