A church member asked for prayers for the hurricane that was hitting Florida this past weekend. In follow-up to that, I mentioned that we need to be praying not only for the victims of Hurricane Irma, but also the victims recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Then there’s the people of Mexico recovering from an earthquake and Hurricane Katia. Then, we should also be praying that Hurricane Jose harmlessly blows out to the Atlantic Ocean. One storm after another has hit the news over the past several weeks. Meanwhile, there has been repeated calls for relief efforts. Electrical grid workers are flooding Florida to rebuild what Irma destroyed. As the news continues, it makes me wonder, doesn’t this hurricane season feel like certain seasons in our lives?
In Psalm 13, the Psalmist wonders if the Lord has forgotten him. He wonders how long the Lord will hide his face from him. Then verses 5-6 say, “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” The storms of life may leave you feeling alone and forgotten. Yet the Psalmist shows that on the other side of a continual season of turmoil, we will recognize God’s provision and love throughout. We see that the Lord has heard our prayers, just as the Lord heard the Psalmist’s prayers. If this is you, I would encourage you to listen and follow the words verse five. Trust in his mercy and rejoice in the salvation he has provided you.
Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up.” I’ve heard similar quotes about ministry. The truth is that we live in a success driven, yet discouragement filled world. A world of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram where we see the amazing lives of everyone around us. Yet, our lives typically don’t feel the same. In a way, social media is a highlight reel of everyone’s lives, and we compare our normal lives to everyone’s highlights.
Jesus called out disciples to follow him. There were many more that listened to him and followed him for a time, but he chose twelve to truly be present with. Within the twelve, he chose three, Peter, James, and John, as his inner circle. Jesus didn’t try to do everything, try to be all to all, or to match the worldly success of the greats of his day like Herod and Caesar.
John Maxwell has defined success as being respected by those who are closest to you. That’s a success that we can all achieve. That’s a success that builds community and relationships, instead of driving us away from people. Worldly success tends to drive us to work long hours and to use or manipulate people for our own ends. Jesus taught a different success, a deeper form of success. His form of success is focused. His form of success builds relationships and community. His form of success ultimately helps us be more successful. Not by what we do, but by what we don’t do. We don’t overstretch ourselves. We simply show up. We stick with it. We seek trust and to be trusted.