Steven Furtick - Nervous? God's Still Working
This is an excerpt from: 50/50 Faith
Faith is being able to move on a "maybe". Do you know what that means? It's 50/50. It might not work, but God is always working. I'm confident in the second even when I'm not certain in the first. It takes the kind of faith, church, to say, "Maybe. Maybe if I do this… Maybe, and maybe it won't, and maybe God will use this thing I think I'm supposed to do to lead to something I was really supposed to do, so even if the first thing fails, at least I'm not sitting still in fear". But it takes faith to move on a "maybe". When Urim has gone dark and Saul is under a tree and you don't know what to do but to move toward it, God says, "Move toward it. It may work, and even if it doesn't, I will".
It is the power to move on a "maybe," to know that God is mystery, but he has revealed his character is trustworthy. I can move on a "maybe". "Father, I don't want to do this, but nevertheless, not my will but yours be done". So I'm going to go see about this, and maybe… I have a "maybe" faith, enough faith to do it and not know the conclusion but trust God in the process. It's a "maybe" faith. I'm confident. I'm not certain, but I'm confident. You will find yourself many times in your life in a "maybe" moment. Some of you are there right now. It's a "maybe" moment for you. Maybe. You are giving yourself to a marriage that you don't know if it can live like Ezekiel in the valley of bones. You don't even know if anything is going to happen, but you're prophesying and speaking forth and believing God to send the winds, and you're living in the "maybe" moment.
Maybe if we start a church… Maybe. I know who God is, and I know nothing can stop him, but it's 50/50. Do you want to do it anyway? Maybe. The miracle is in the "maybe". I wish I could preach this to every discouraged heart today. God lives in a place called maybe. Faith lives in a place called maybe. So if you are in a "maybe" moment today, that's where God lives. When you're in that "maybe" moment (if you are, you know it, and if you're not, you will need this message within the next six weeks, because life is full of "maybe" moments), you will feel in that moment the coexistence of uncertainty and confidence, and you'll feel like you're making it up as you go. I like that image. Jonathan said, "Climb up after me".
I was thinking about how they made it up as they went. But I had to go. I had to do it. I had to trust God in a "maybe" moment. "Maybe" moments are the moments where you could look stupid. "Maybe" moments are the moments where you could be rejected. Most of us aren't facing Philistines and thorny, slippery cliffs and geographical obstacles. Most of us are facing things that are on the inside of us that seem insurmountable. God is in the "maybe" moment of your life when you move forward anyway. When I stopped by my dad's house and gave him the letter on Father's Day after we had not spoken in months… I moved him to Charlotte with my mom when his health got bad because he asked me to. I told him, "Dad, I want to do this for you. You're my dad. I want to take care of you".
We didn't know he had ALS yet. We just knew he was very sick, and because he was a self-employed barber, I didn't know if he was just… Honestly, my dad at that point in his life was so illogical and irrational I didn't know if it was a good idea or not, but I knew my dad was asking me for help, and I knew something was wrong. When he asked me to do it, something inside of me knew, "This could turn out really badly". I told my dad, "You live three and a half hours away from me right now, and that works pretty well for us. If you come up and we're all up in each other's faces, it might not be good". He said, "I need you to do this for me". I'll never forget telling him, "I don't even think this is a good idea, but I'm going to do it. You asked me to, and I love you. But please, when you come up here, please, when you come live in Charlotte…"
I knew my mom would be fine. She's great. I was like, "Please don't do any of this crazy stuff". Honest to God, no sooner than I sent the moving company to give him an estimate, he chased the moving company out of the yard with his walking cane. I mean, he was a good dad for a lot of my life, but by this point his medications, as well as his physical condition… He was starting to really lose his mind, but I knew I needed to move him anyway. It didn't make sense at that point. In fact, when he got here, when he finally moved after running off the moving company, after he finally found a moving company that was fit to move him and I went to go see him and check on him in the house we had found for them, the first thing he did when I walked in the door was complain about the house.
When I tell you that I said some Hebrew words and some Greek words, some Moncks Corner words, some compound cusswords… It was like over the next few months, every bad thing I thought was going to happen if I tried to do the right thing started happening. What was the weird contrast was my ministry was going so great and the church was growing, and my dad and the way he treated my mom… Eventually he left. He went to go live by himself. It culminated in this horrible, worst Thanksgiving ever where we went to see him. The only place he would live was in this nursing home, and they had him calling bingo in the nursing home. Yeah, it's okay; you can laugh about it. It was like, "How did we come to this? How can they not even live together? How did we spend all this money and all this time and he raised me all this time and coached my teams and all this, and then it's going to end like this"?
When we would try to talk on the phone, he would end up yelling, I would end up yelling, and then I'd end up preaching, and then I'd go back and talk to my dad, and I'd end up yelling and he would end up yelling. But when I went by his house on Father's Day, I thought, "Well, maybe if I write down…" I took a notebook… I told Holly, "Can you drive for me for a minute"? We were coming back from a family trip, and I said, "I need to do something real quick. Can you drive for me, and can we stop by my dad's house"? He was living all alone at that time by his own choice. I sat there while Holly drove, and I wrote down a memory for every year I had been alive of him being my dad. I knew we couldn't talk, but I thought, "Well, maybe if we could just communicate in writing…"
When we showed up at the house and he opened the door, I kind of threw the list at him, like, "Happy Father's Day! I made a list for you. Maybe this is a dumb idea, but maybe it could open a door for us to have a relationship". It's the "maybe" moments. If I'm going to tell you about my "maybe" moments that result in starting a church that reaches the world, I think I owe it to you to tell you about my "maybe" moments that were messy too. It's not always so clear. It's not always so perfect. It's not always so brilliant. It's not always so strategic. Life is lived in those "maybe" moments. So I got to sit beside him as he breathed his last breath after three days that hospice had been in much later, after a progression where my mom graciously let him back in the house and cared for him until he died.
I got to be there reading to him from Charles Spurgeon's sermon The Peculiar Sleep of the Beloved after I sang to him "The Old Rugged Cross". I thought he was going to pass quickly, but he stayed around like three days, and I ran out of hymns and started having to sing James Taylor and Hootie & the Blowfish. I was there for all of it in that moment because of moving forward with a "maybe". I believe God sent me with this message today. Listen to me. You're in a "maybe" moment. It's slippery on one side, thorny on the other. You don't have everybody with you you thought you'd have with you; you just have an armor-bearer.
Father, I pray today for the faith for your people to move forward on a "maybe" in this moment. You are the God of all wisdom. You are the God who sees all, knows all, and can do anything. I thank you, Lord, that there are miracles emerging even now as I speak…in bodies, in relationships, in careers, in families. God, I thank you that ministry is birthed out of "maybe". We thank you, God, for giving us the Holy Spirit inside of us. We thank you for giving us the finished work of your Son to let us know you are good and you do good and all things work together for the good of them who love you. I speak over every "maybe" situation. Give your people now by your grace the kind of faith it takes to move forth in a "maybe," for we believe that nothing can hinder you from saving, whether by many or by few.