Isn’t it amazing how the Lord mysteriously and graciously confronts us? Last week I poured myself into preparing a sermon on Pontius Pilate who was nothing if he wasn’t complacent. Pilate’s complacency led him to make the decision to crucify Jesus. He was, from a Roman perspective, the principle reason for Jesus’ crucifixion. Because of his complacency, he lacked courage. He wouldn’t stand for the righteous one in the face of unrighteous, even evil, opposition. We have a lot to learn from him because complacency characterizes our lives as well. And, it takes courage to live as committed Christians today.
A.W Tozer wrote, “One of the greatest foes of the Christian is religious complacency…Orthodox Christianity has fallen to its present low estate from lack of spiritual desire. Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God.” So, we ended our worship time with a call to faith and repentance. As I left worship, I was convicted, but also satisfied because I thought I had preached what God had called me to preach. And, I still think that. But, I am not sure I understood the depth to which God would go to confront the sin of complacency in my life. Enter Mrs. S.
Mrs. S. came into my office on Monday morning. She was confused, broken, perplexed. She truly fit Paul’s description of himself in 2 Corinthians 4 — “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair…struck down, but not destroyed.” Her daughter had given birth to a still born child and then fell off the delivery table and suffered a life-altering brain trauma. Now, her daughter had been moved to the hospice house to await her untimely death. Mrs. S. was confused, but her faith remained strong. As we talked, I discerned that she was a member of another church, but her church wouldn’t assist her, her husband, nor their daughter. We prayed. We shared in the hope of Christ. And then the Lord burdened me for this woman and her daughter — a burden that I knew was coming — “Go to pray with the family and care for this young lady as I have cared for you.”
My mind is full of uncertainty and even fear — “I have never met Mrs. S. before. I don’t know her, and I surely don’t know her daughter. They are members of another church. Is the daughter a believer in Christ? What will the scene be when I get to the hospice house?How will an African-American family respond to me?” But, the Lord’s call is sure. “Go.” I need courage. My complacency seeks to find an excuse, but the Lord says, “Go. I will give you the strength.” And so, I go. I’m afraid and uncertain, but he supplies the strength I need to be courageous. “God, supply my every need.”
I often tell people, “Be careful what you pray for because you might just get it.” I guess I should learn, “Be careful what you preach for the Lord might just confront you with it.”