Steven Furtick - How To Keep Your Faith In A Desperate Situation
This is an excerpt from: The Facts Aren’t Final
I have personal issues. I have a personal God. I have personal fears. I have personal phobias. I have a personal God. I love the phrase we used in the Baptist church: to make Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior. It's something we used in the Baptist church to mean he is Lord and Savior whether you say he is or not, but when it gets personal to you, that means you go to him to save you, not a pill bottle. That means you go to him to save you, not a plastic card where you spend money you don't have to buy stuff you don't need to impress people who aren't even paying attention to you because they're doing the same thing. You go to Jesus to save you. You go to Jesus to deliver you. You go to Jesus to speak to you, not potato chips. You go to Jesus to speak to you, not Pornhub. You go to Jesus… I thought y'all wanted it real.
This is a personal word that Jesus spoke to Jairus. Go back to verse 35. While he was still speaking, some people from Jairus' house came to him and gave him a bad report. Don't shy away from relating to this story just because you cannot sympathize with the specific situation. The principles that are in this passage of Scripture apply to any situation in your life that requires faith where fear is present. I used to shy away from these heavy passages because I thought, "Man, I've never lost a child". This passage isn't so much about losing a child as it is keeping faith. Keeping faith means sometimes believing God in the face of a bad report. So, this word, first of all, is about somebody who has received a report this week in your life that has caused you to fear, dread, or to fall into a place of despondency.
As Jesus is speaking, some people come from Jairus' house and say, "It got worse. The whole time you've been standing here at the feet of Jesus…" I didn't read this part, because I can't read the whole Bible to you every time we get together. I just have to choose a frame and start there. I would love to, actually. I would love to talk to you about what was in Mark 3, Mark 4, Mark 7, Mark 8, Mark 9, Mark 10, because it's all good, but just for this frame today, I didn't tell you that Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus. That means he had to come down from his high position as a synagogue leader and put himself in a low place at the feet of a rabbi who wasn't even a part of his religion. Church didn't exist yet. Jairus was Jewish, leading a synagogue, and he came to Jesus who was outside the system of what he even knew to be true religion.
Here's what I learned about desperate situations in your life. Desperate situations will cause you to do things differently than you did them when you thought you had all of the answers and everything you needed and had it all figured out. Now the leader is at the feet of a teacher, and he hopes he can do something for his daughter. Every dad of a daughter, stand up. Wouldn't you do the same thing? Wouldn't you fall at his feet? Your daughter is dying. Wouldn't you fall at his feet? Wouldn't you do the same thing for your daughter? Now, I have three kids, two boys, one girl. I'm not sure I would do it for them, the boys, but for Abbey… I'm just kidding. I'd do it for any of my kids.
Holly and I were talking about this the other night. This is the conversation I want to bring you in on. This is just our conversation. We were talking about how, really, in the end, you have to give your kids to God. You really do. I mean, you can put them on a sleep schedule when they're 2, but when they're 32… When they're transitioning through life… There's a point where God calls you to participate in parenting your children. But there's a fine line between participating and manipulating. This is not a parenting sermon, but that's what the text is talking about. So, as I relate to this text, I relate as a dad who would do anything… I'm almost making my kids soft, because I would almost do anything so they never have to go through anything hard.
I know I shouldn't do that, but I'm almost like Dwight Schrute in The Office when he was going ahead of Michael and making sure he didn't starve. Remember when Michael wanted to go out in the woods? Y'all don't watch The Office? I'm going to give an altar call for everybody who hasn't seen The Office at least twice, the whole series. I'll admit that I coddle them because I care about them, and you would do the same. It looks strange to see somebody down in the dirt, like Jairus was when he came to Jesus, until you have felt that kind of desperation in yourself. We were talking how… You have a baby. Right? Like, I didn't personally. I participated, and then I thought, "Oh, that's wonderful. They were born healthy". And that is the end of worrying about your kids. We had the baby.
"Okay, God. We're good now. We don't need you anymore. From here on out, this kid is going to go in the way they should go, do the things they should do, say the things they should say. It's all good, God. Thank you for bringing this baby into the world. We had the baby, and now we have the baby, and now that we have it, we're good, God". Right? It's ridiculous…as ridiculous as it is for you to think that trusting Jesus is something you do one time when you give him your life. Even the language… Watch the language. To place your faith in Jesus is not an event; it is a practice, just like raising your kids. "Should I step in here? Should I step back there? Should I let them bust their butt on this one so they don't end up busting their whole head wide open on the next one? What do I do right here"?
Following Jesus is exactly the same way, because you will find yourself in moments of weakness and moments of strength, in moments of knowledge and in moments of ignorance, in moments of highs and moments of lows. You will find yourself every step of this journey like Jairus, saying, "In one area of my life I'm a leader. In one area of my life I'm the top man on the food chain. In one area of my life I have the answers. I am Jairus, the synagogue leader". But on the day we meet Jairus, he is not standing at the front of the synagogue issuing the sacraments for the people or checking the roll at the back of the room. He is a desperate dad at the feet of Jesus. Jesus, the teacher. That's what the men who came from his house said to him. He comes. He says, "My daughter is dying. Will you come with me to my house and heal her"? Jesus is like, "Yeah, I'll go. Sure. Because you came here and asked me…"
I love Jairus, because he didn't just assume that it was all God's job. Do you understand? He didn't just assume that if God wants it to happen, it will just naturally happen. He didn't just assume God is like an automatic faucet where you put your hands under it and wait. Some of you all are going to be waiting a long time under a faucet that God has given you the faith to turn on by your actions, because faith without works is dead. So he did something. He went to Jesus. He did something risky. He did something dangerous. He had to cut through a crowd to do it, and it worked…until the interruption.
Now I want to speak to you about the interruption…the interruption you're going through in your life, the interruption that happened to you from the outside, the interruption that happened to you that kept you from your goal. We all had goals, and we all had dreams, and we all had things in between the idea and the dream. Call them roadblocks. Just call it a roadblock. In this particular instance, the crowd is pressing around Jesus so tightly… One gospel writer (it's not in Mark) says it almost crushed the crowd. In Mark's gospel, the crowd is never seen as a good thing. Like, when we go out to Elevation Nights, I want the crowds to be big so we can have church. When Mark mentions the crowd, a lot of times that's something that's standing in the way of what God really wants to do.
So, a lot of what we celebrate in life is a lot of what God tries to strip away to perform his agenda. You know how you think it would be so cool to be famous? Most famous people wish they could be anonymous even for five minutes. Trust me. I've talked to them. They talk about it. "The thing I went after actually proved to be a great distraction". In this passage, there is a woman, and if God so leads, I'm going to preach about her on tour over the next two weeks, because she comes to Jesus through the crowd and gets a miracle for her situation, which has been going on for 12 years, as long as the little girl has been alive. As she is being healed by touching the dirty hem of Jesus' garment in the Palestinian streets, Jairus' daughter is home dying. So her healing, from a human perspective, cost Jairus' daughter her life.
Now this is the part of the teaching that I want to become flesh in your life, because this is where we find ourselves in moments of interruption, in moments of disruption, in moments where something we couldn't control affected something we were moving toward. The people came from Jairus' house. While Jesus was still speaking (I know I've only dealt with one verse, but it's a good one…verse 35), some people came from the house of Jairus, the leader, who was at the feet of Jesus, the one with a lot of prestige in the community who had a problem at home that all the prestige in the world couldn't buy him out of. Some stuff, it doesn't matter how much of that you have that people celebrate. Something could happen in your life right now that would make everything else seem worthless in comparison. I often do an exercise where it's like a reverse gratitude, where I start thinking about everything I don't have, everything I want, everything I could do, everything I should do, and the Lord will slow me down.
Here's a question he gave me. If it helps you this week, good. I hope it helps you this week. It really helps me. The Lord will bring to my mind all of the people I love the most. For me, I have a wife, and I have children, and I have a mom who's living, and other people I love too, in case they watch this. You come into the picture as well. Then I put them in my mind. You know, you feel sometimes all of life is just a focus around what you need next. All of life is just a focus on going to the next level, hustle and grind. All of life can feel that way.
So, what I'll do often… I'll put all of those people in my mind, and then I'll ask myself the question, "If you lost them… If you could never, ever sing Hamilton with Abbey again, if you could never, ever again throw that ball across the room with Graham…" He and I play fetch like he is the dog. "If you could never bench-press with Elijah again, if you could never see him squat 225 for reps again (like he did this week), if you could never walk around with Holly and yell at the cars that are driving too fast and say, 'Slow down. What's wrong with you? We live here…' If you could never have it again, what would you give to have it back"? I'll say, "Everything". Then the Holy Spirit will say, "So what do you already have"? "Everything".
Sometimes I think we need a perspective like Mark, chapter 5, where we realize somebody as important as Jairus, with as much to do, is losing his little daughter and nothing else matters. We lift our hands not only in moments of loss but even in moments where we are stressed about stuff that isn't as significant as the Devil wants us to think it is, stuff that doesn't matter as much. You know your dirty countertops do not matter as much as your OCD brain makes them matter to you in the moments where you are screaming around the house. Sometimes I just have to stop and go, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you (if you can get here) for these messy countertops that these annoying kids who I would do anything for messed up". "Oh, what if I don't have kids, Pastor Steven? What if I want kids? What if I'm in a situation where I'm not married and I want to be married"?
I guarantee you there is something in your life right now that you are taking for granted that if you lost it, you would do anything and everything to have it back. So, what do you already have? Everything. What do you already have if you have salvation? If you know that neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation shall be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, what do you have? I have it all. If I have Jesus, I have it all! If I have his blood covering me and washing the shame off my life and the filth off my faith, I have it all…not all I want, but all I need! The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall not want. I have it all. High-five five people and tell them, "I've got it all. I have more than it looks like on the outside". I'm grateful. I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad to be in that number. I'm glad! He holds me up! I'm sitting next to something right now that, if I lost it, I'd do anything to get it back. Don't wait for God to take it away to give him praise for it.