Good afternoon to all.
First, let me remind everyone of the Churchwide meeting tonight at 7:00 p.m. Please sign in using the same link used for Sunday Worship. Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/ 85678643512?pwd= Z0t4ZzdiOHdkRnFMbFJEUWt5QnBydz 09
See today’s message below:
October 20, 2021
Over the years I have learned to brace myself for those early morning telephone calls. Those who know me, I mean really know me, understand that I am a very early riser and I can be reached at almost any hour of the day or night. It still alarms me when I get that very early morning telephone call, for my first reaction is that it is not someone calling me with good news. Before I answer the telephone, I usually say a little quick prayer and then ask God to guide my thoughts and my response.
I usually say to myself before answering, “Please Lord have mercy!” “Please Lord, let this not be bad news.” “Please Lord give me the strength and courage to accept and deal with whatever news that has been brought to my attention.” It is amazing how much our minds can surmise in just a few seconds.
I have heard persons make the statement or ask the question, “Why do people call at 3:00 a.m. if there is death or trouble? Can’t they wait until a reasonable hour?” My response is usually, “People who are hurting or suffering could care less about what time it is, for 3:00 a.m. in the morning is just as good of a time to be an encouragement or offer a prayer for someone.” It has been my experience to have persons even ask me to come over at 3:00 a.m., and guess what, I go. I go because the person would not ask me to come if they did not need some assistance or just a word of support and expressions of love. No one should have to be alone after losing a love one regardless of the time of day. When someone is hurting, they want to share that hurt, hoping it will help get them through the pain. If someone calls you to report bad news, consider it an honor, for they either see you as a confidant or a friend. What I try to remember is that we die only once, so whatever inconvenience it may cause is not worth mentioning.
If we have children or grandchildren, it causes even more anxiety when their numbers pop up on the caller ID early in the morning or late at night. Even other family members whose numbers we recognize can create some tension and unsettling thoughts.
I thought about the death of Jesus and how his disciples responded. I have read that they were confused, devastated, frightened and sad to the point that they went into hiding. Just imagine spending three years with Jesus and everything is looking up and life is good. Then one Thursday night Jesus gets arrested by a mob while the disciples are asleep. They wake up and find themselves afraid and begin to run from the mob. Think about it, your best friend, the man you have been hanging out with and loved is now dead. It was painful and frightening for the disciples of Jesus, for they feared for their own lives. They did not know what to do with themselves. What we do know is that they went from hiding behind locked doors to going out and sharing the good news. It took them a while to get themselves together, but they knew they could not continue to live in fear and carry out the work Jesus had for them to do.
The one take away from the above paragraph is the fact that they reacted and became fearful. When we receive that early morning telephone call, we don’t know how we are going to react, but we do know that we want God to give us strength to navigate through the moment of sadness and be strength to loved ones.
Regardless of who we are, we will all receive that early morning telephone call about a loved one sooner or later. What we must do is prepare ourselves to receive the call not knowing how we will respond, but I offer the scriptures below to you for strength:
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
“If you make the Lord our refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot.” Psalm 91: 9-12
Be ready to offer support and strength if you ever receive an early morning alarming telephone call.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor