Of all the things that we struggle with in the race of faith, we struggle the most through the hard moments of life. I think everybody does. We struggle with the length of the race; we’re running for a lifetime. We struggle with burnout and faith-fatigue because the race is so long. We struggle with distraction, i.e. we struggle to keep our eyes focused in the right place and on the right thing. We’re lured in all sorts of different directions after all sorts of the different things, some of them are even very good. We struggle with temptation and deceit. We struggle with all kinds of things in this race of faith, but perhaps, perhaps the hardest and most painful thing we face in the race of faith are the hardships and trials of following Jesus. We all deeply during trials because those hard moments seem to go so contrary against the good that God has promised. The hard moments and hard times of life lead us to question just about everything. The hard moments and the hard times of life lead us to doubt just about everything that God has said. Tonight as we unpack Genesis 22, we learn a lot about faith as he watch Abraham trust God no matter what he saw or felt.
These days we hear a lot about the power of faith that can move mountains, that can heal the sick, that can make us abundantly rich and wealthy. But is that really what God means when he talks about the power of faith? Does faith have an inherent power if only we believe strongly enough? Does my lack of healing or riches mean that my faith is weak? In this section, Paul helps us understand us understand the true nature of faith’s power and in so doing takes us outside of our faith to the God who alone is able to do what he promised. Romans 4:18-25
Sin is such a powerful thing. Temptation tugs at us every step of the way. Our fall into sin and a denial of Jesus isn’t a matter of if, but when. Through it all, however, Jesus is right with us. He warned Peter before his denial. He called him back during his denial. He forgave Peter and received him back after Peter’s denial and repentance. He will not leave us. We will not be ashamed. Mark 14:26-31, 66-72
Everyone has their price. That was the contention of Ted Dibiase, aka the “Million Dollar Man.” He went out and proved it. He’s right. We’re all chasing something and will pay almost any price to get it and keep it. Jesus had something on his mind and he was willing to do whatever it took to get it. Whenever everyone else fled away from the fight, Jesus rose up to meet it and embraced it because embracing it meant he could embrace you. Mark 14:42-52.