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March 3, 2017

God Is Enough

God is Enough

Today, at this moment, I am in a season that almost a season of mourning. My dad, who is 77 years old (he will be 78 in June, if he lives that long), is sick, tired, and most likely near death. In the past week or so, he had a bad fall and two trips to the hospital courtesy of the local EMS crews. As I am writing this now, he is in a hospital bed, confused and in pain. I praise God that my mom and one of my brothers are there for him, as I live and work approximately 1,304 miles away from where he is in the hospital. And it hurts to know that there is a chance my father will probably die before I get a chance to see him again. Before my children, his grandchildren, will get to see him again. My youngest two (2-year-old and 5 months old) will never remember him, except through a few photographs that we will have and the many stories we have accumulated over the years to tell them about him.

But God is enough. He must be.

My situation brings Luke 9:59-16 to my mind:

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:59–60, ESV)

Right now, where I am at, while not working for a ministry per se, what I do is ministry. 100%. It’s something that I, my wife, and my children literally live at and spend our lives here doing (we are house parents, Google it). So, while the thought of not being there when my dad passes is difficult, I must remember: God is enough.

One commentary reads, regarding Luke 9:60:

“He will not accept second place to anyone or anything. Even a good thing, such as honoring one’s parents by seeing that they receive proper burial, cannot usurp the place of the best thing, which is to love Jesus with all one’s heart, strength, and mind.”[1]

Now, I have no idea when my dad will die. It might be tonight, it might be in 2 years, it might be sometime in between or far beyond. Only God is sure of that date and time. However, I know that I need to focus on Christ, for we are called to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38, ESV). God demands that He is first. He made it clear in the prologue of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2) and in the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3).

So, God is enough.

In my lifetime, in 2002 and again in 2010, two of my older sisters have passed away. Kristen was 25, and Kelly was 30. I was 20 and 27, I think, when they died, respectively. As I look back upon their deaths, I have come to realize that I made it through those events in my life because of one reason: God is enough. When Kristen first had her car accident in November of 1996, that is when I was first introduced to God. To make a long story short, I have been attending Sunday School with a friend of mine at a local church. Her accident was on a Sunday morning, and being that I couldn’t go to see my sister (it happened out of state), I went to Sunday School. Two days later, the teacher and two youths visited me and told me about Jesus. When Kristen died, I ran from God and made some pretty bad choices. I was mad at God. I wanted to run as far as I could. And I sure tried. But, even as I was unfaithful to God, He remained faithful to me, one of His elect. Why? Because God is enough.

When my sister Katie died, God had provided me with a wonderful help-mate, my wife, and many friends. And despite its difficulty, losing another sister, God was enough. Even for my parents, who had to bury their second child, God was enough. God is enough.

In one fateful speaking engagement years ago, John Piper was speaking about the “Prosperity Gospel.” Well, it was more of a full-fledged attack on such a false gospel. In the midst of his extemporaneous diatribe against this false teaching, he raised a great point of the poignant power of the Gospel. He said, “I’ll tell you what makes Jesus look beautiful. It’s when you smash your car, and your little girl goes flying through the windshield, and lands dead on the street . . . and you say through the deepest possible pain, ‘God is enough.’”[2]

Is God enough for you?

I know God is enough for a friend of mine whose 5-year-old son was struck by a car and killed right in front of their home. Is He enough for you?

God was enough for the Apostles.

Paul considered all things as rubbish as compared to knowing and gaining Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8).

God is enough for the thousands of persecuted Christians all over the world that face imprisonment and death as you read this very sentence.

Is He enough for you?

I keep asking you this because it’s a reality that needs to be thought of and addressed in your life. It is something that I have had to deal with in my life (it’s much easier said than done).

Answering “Yes” to this question truly is much easier said than done. Also, it will cost you, as unbelieving family members will not understand this.

But if at any point the answer is “no,” I call you to repent of your idolatry. For if God is not enough for you, then you are not worshipping the one true God of the Bible, the Creator and King of, well, everything.

In the end, all that we do must be done in such a way as to bring Glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and anything done outside of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Our focus must be Christward, and no other direction will do.

So, when my dad dies, if I am there or if I am not, doesn’t matter. Lord willing, I would like to be able to see him again before he dies and bring my children, his grandchildren to see him. However, regardless of what happens, I will rejoice, I will pray, and I will praise God (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Why?

Because God is enough.

 

[1] Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

[2] Adapted from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/story-behind-john-pipers-most-famous-attack-on-the-prosperity-gospel

 

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