Vicky is a shy 10th grader who recently told me that she’d been sensing a call to full time vocational ministry. Over the years, she’s shared some pieces she’d written – poetry about faith, essays and such – and I’ve always been touched by her depth of faith and expression. Lately, she’s started writing sermons “for fun”… not too many people, and far fewer teenagers, have that hobby. I asked if I could read the sermons, and was pleasantly astonished at their simplicity, their boldness, and their orthodox clarity. I invited her to preach at our upcoming youth sunday, and when she sent me the draft sermon, I said “don’t change a word.” I sat in my living room in tears.
When I was too ill to even sit up on the day before “youth sunday” I told our pastor with confidence that with a simple introduction, Vicky could handle it. He was skeptical, so I read him the sermon… she preached with only this intro: Here is a sermon from a disciple who clearly understands her material… she gets it.
Here is the sermon, original formatting and all:
Romans 4:18 says “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be.” But to have hope against hope can be a difficult task. And it can be especially difficult if your heart is in bondage. Hate, pain, and distrust can bring your heart down. You fill your heart with burdens and say that God is not there. But did you invite him to come in? We so often blame God when things go wrong. But we must ask ourselves if we had asked God to help us out. For that is what happens when we try to do things by ourselves. We tend to mess up. Everyone asks someone for help, you just have to ask yourself if you are asking the right person. For nothing can keep God from entering your heart except yourself. God has a key to your heart; he is just waiting for an invitation. Blockades of hate can not stop Him John 15:18 says ”If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” so Jesus really does know what it feels like to be hated by the world; but He always loves you no matter what. Your pain can not slow Him Job 3:14-16 says “But the Lord will be a refuge for his people” so the only way to get past your pain is to put your hope in God. Your guilt can not throw Him off track as Romans 4:23 says “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” you see all have sinned and God forgives all. If you ask Him to enter he will come running. Not stopping for doubt, not slowing for shame, He comes running key in hand ready to enter. He breaks ordinary blockades, He overcomes any obstacle, and He comes ready. He will use His key to enter if you are too weak to answer the door. He is just sitting by the phone waiting for your call. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” And once He enters He will not leave until you ask. But once He enters you will not want Him to leave. So what is holding Him back? You are. His love is so great it can overcome anything. But His love is so great that He let’s you choose. How many of us do that? We tend to want it our own way. If you look through history you will see that most rulers love control, they love power, and they try to make things their own way. But God is not a ruler He is a Father. He doesn’t love control or power, He loves you. And it breaks His heart to see His children leave Him. It hurts Him to see a child lost to sin. He doesn’t love it when people leave Him; He loves to see people receive Him. And you can not receive someone if you can not choose them. What kind of love could you possibly have that is forced? Our God loves us and loves to be with us. And He loves when we love to be with Him as well. So receive Him into your heart and ask Him to break the bonds. Let me just finish off with a poem by Mary E. Herrington called God Knows and Understands.
God Knows and Understands
Sometimes we feel so weary
As we go from day to day,
We wonder if we’ll make it,
Will we ever find our way.
But yet we keep on trudging
Down, what seems an endless road
And soon we hear God whisper,
“Take my hand I’ll share thy load.”
And then all the many things
That we thought we could not do
Are soon so far behind us
As God helped to see us through.
It really is amazing
How the Lord doth understand
When we are weak and weary
And we reach to take His hand.
For He, too, knew of temptation,
Loneliness and deep despair,
Remember?…in the garden
When he knelt alone in prayer.
He is God of mercy
Thus filled with unending love,
Waiting to help His children,
Watching from heaven above.
— Mary E. Herrington
Yeah, she gets it. Just when I needed to know anew that this was all worth it, that it wasn’t futile… she gets it. Thanks, Abba… thanks.