Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Revisiting The Strawberry Patch

Often the challenges of life that lie ahead are too overwhelming to spend much time thinking about. We would drown in despair if we allowed ourselves to ponder the future on a regular basis. 

For some it may be the doctor's diagnosis. 

For others it is the word you received from your employer or the uncertainty of the direction of your own business. 

For some it is the unbelievable hurt you are enduring as your marriage spirals out of control.

For others it is the darkness that has settled over your mind and you have trouble even remembering the brighter days in your past and can not believe there will be brighter days in the future.

For some it is the crushing weight of a wayward child that is hooked on substances that you can barely even name, much less understand.

You do not know how all of this came to be. You have questions that need answers but you are finding no answers.

Why me?

What next?

Where is God?

Why isn't God moving?

When is God going step in?

Does God care?

Is God paying attention?

Will the pain ever end?

Am I serving God for nothing?

If God is touched with the feelings of my infirmities, what in the world is He waiting on?

I am about to suffocate and I need some help Now!

There may be a million other problems I have not named and a million other questions that I have not mentioned. The point is that life can spin out of our control in a New York minute and fear can engulf us before we know what is happening.

Fear is controlling. Fear is paralyzing. And the Bible says fear hath torment.

I can feel the witness of that reverberating from people who will read this. Amen, Davy, Fear is controlling. Fear is paralyzing. And the Bible says fear hath torment.

You are in a real place and you need real help real soon. You need relief today if not sooner.

I must admit that most of the things that torment me are not life and death as they are for some of you. I will survive one way or the other but in the thick of things they feel like life and death even if they are not.

I am nearly paralyzed right now by some of the challenges of life but I must remember my own preaching. I have been preaching this year, "What God Has Done Before, He Can Do Again!"

He has proven that over and over and over again! He has proven it in His Word. He has proven it in the lives of saints that have testified to me. And God has proven that in my own life!

Two plus years ago when we were in our last months of preparation leading up to City Reach, I was overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility of the known obstacles, trembling in fear of the unknown obstacles and wondering aloud to my closest friends and family if I was getting in way over my head.

Yet through the fear, foreboding and intimidation I could not help but hear myself preaching about the scarecrow. I saw Frank W. Boreham's scarecrows every where I looked. (Most of you have not heard me preach the message about the "Secret of the Scarecrow" but stay with me, you will catch on.) The scarecrow looms over the strawberry patch keeping the birds from feasting on the tasty ripe strawberries. 

Thousands of birds are perched on tree limbs, fence posts and fence rails looking at those luscious strawberries. They would swoop down and eat to their hearts content if not for the ferocious looking man with a straw hat standing in the midst of the patch.

Yet, notice two birds sitting on the shoulders of the scarecrow. They are covered in strawberry juice. They have learned the secret of the scarecrow. 

The scarecrow may be intimidating. He may strike fear in your heart. But the scarecrow can not prevent you from what God has provided for you. While all the other birds perched on trees and fence posts longed for even one juicy strawberry, two birds had conquered their fears and now enjoyed unrestricted access to the whole patch.

Boreham said if he were a bird and if he had discovered the secret of the scarecrow, that he would no longer avoid scarecrows. He would now seek them out. He would actively look for every field that was guarded by a giant scarecrow. 

Once you know the secret of the scarecrow, he is like a giant billboard advertising there is something good and tasty for you in this field. If there were nothing good for you in the field then there would be no scarecrow to try and keep you out.

You get it? That obstacle, difficulty, sickness, heartache screaming in your face to turn around and go the other way, is trying to keep you from good things God has promised you!

Every where I looked before City Reach, I saw giants in the land. Giants of despair, disappointment and defeat. The city is too big. You are small. The logistics are too daunting. You are inadequate. The complications are too many. You are insufficient. The obstacles are too high. You are feeble.

I saw giants and scarecrows every where. After I had cowered in fear for a while I heard my mind rehearsing what I had preached to others through the last years. All those scarecrows have a secret. The scarecrow can not prevent me from what God has promised me. 

I took my own preaching to heart and I ran headlong into City Reach with almost reckless abandon. The facts were foreboding but my faith saw strawberries. There were times of doubt and confusion and fear but I never lost sight of the strawberries.

Now, here we are months past the last 2016 City Reach campaign and I can still taste strawberry juice! I am still rejoicing at the souls saved, the saints encouraged, the relationships restored, God's provision for me and my family and for Bro. Jimmy Radcliffe!

God Did That!

And God will do it again!

He will do it for me. He will do it for my family! He will work miracles in current difficulties.

And God will do it for you, my friend!

Will it be easy for you? Probably not.

Will your load get suddenly lighter because you read my words and believed my report? Maybe not.

But hang on to God, friend. Dare to climb over that fence and discover the blessings God has placed at the feet of that scarecrow. That luscious fruit, the blessings of God, were there before the scarecrow showed up. He is there to scare you away.

Please remember! The enemy can not prevent you from what God has provided for you. However, you and I must believe the promise and get on the other side of that fence. Climb over it. Slide under it. Break through it. But get to the other side.

I think I see strawberry juice on some of your faces in the near future!

God bless you all. Thank you for reading.


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