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FAITH: Learning to trust in the know

Rev. Brad McKenzie

(Editor’s note: In the headline, you may question the spelling. It is not in the now but in the know.)

It was actually a pretty simple fix, well at least it was for my friend Michael who can fix anything.

I am speaking of my 13-year-old truck.  The expense? It was actually a pretty cheap fix compared to the amount I assumed in my head, which kept me in fear and kept me driving an improperly operating vehicle for almost 18 months.  This turned out to be one of those experiences where I dreaded and put off fixing a problem because of the fear of the unknown, fear of my inexperience, and fear of failure.

Thankfully, my friends Michael does not live with this kind of fear, he dives right in and if he doesn’t have experience, he figures it out.  I admire his confidence and courage!  What an important lesson I learned from this mechanical roadblock, and even more from an amazing person who helped me get it fixed.

I cannot help but to think of how so many of us, myself included, live our lives similar to what I did in reference to my truck.  How often we stay stuck in unfortunate situations and mindsets, all because we are afraid to deal with the matter or believe the solution is more than we can handle.

If anything, this simple truck fix, and the example of the man who helped it happen, has caused me to address an even larger circumstance in life, well all of our lives, as we try to normalize our existence in a post and current pandemic world.  If I would have known just how simple the solution was, I definitely would not have waited so long to do something about it.

The Apostle Paul was one who knew of good times and bad times, success and struggles, highs and lows, all in the context of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, a mission given to him from the Lord Himself.

‘I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ‘ Philippians 4:10-13 ESV

He tells the church in Philippi and tells us today, “I, We, You; can do all things through Christ who is our strength!”  This is one of those Biblical passages we love to say, put on social media, and have on signs in our homes, but I wonder how often we allow our lives to live according to this truth.

To be transparent with you, I have been struggling with discouragement.  Oh, I acknowledge the incredible blessings of God in all He has allowed in my life, including some of my greatest pains, and I do not want to neglect to give Him praise for those blessings and opportunities as well as have my family, friends, and congregation know I do not take them for granted and know I do nothing or account for nothing to deserve all I have in this life.  Still yet, I have been struggling with discouragement when it comes to confidentiality, courageously, and successfully leading my congregation in and out of the COVID-19 season.

I find myself being defeated by inconsistent attendance in services and discipleship gatherings as well as inconsistent involvement and support for ongoing service and ministry.  I do find solace in many of my colleagues in ministry sharing the same concern and struggle.  Yet, I am thankful for how our church has rebounded and reset and has found ways to thrive in a new reality, I am thankful for a team of fellow ministers who loves the Lord and works hard to do whatever is necessary.  I have never loved a congregation and a place more than I love this congregation and this place and count it pure joy to be here and to be pastor.

My discouragement and feelings of defeat often focus on me, worrying about what I am doing wrong or what I have missed, but fixing my truck is helping me to see some things differently.  It has helped me to see I have put my eyes and focus too much on the concern and problem, and not enough on the one who holds all things together in His hands.

It is actually a pretty simple fix, well at least it can be!  If I can do all things through Him, Jesus, who gives me strength, then I need to just trust in Him, trust in His timing, trust in His power.  I also need to stop focusing on where I might or might not be failing, where I might be dropping the ball.  The simple fix, lies in not fearing the unknown, but trusting in the know, by knowing the one who can be Trusted!  His name is Jesus!

I want to thank my friend Michael for not only fixing my truck, but being used by the Lord to teach me, remind me of an all important lesson!  ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’  Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Here is hoping we can trust in His strength as we continue to face the present and future with confidence and courage!  You are Valued and Loved, Pastor Brad

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.