Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the comfort of faith. And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Comfort of Faith
Jesus said, ““I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." John, Chapter 14, Verses 17 and 18.
After he had done all that he could,
And could do no more,
He sat down by disappointment’’s door.
And as the tears streamed down
The furrows of sorrow in his soul
An angel whispered into his ear:
"Sometimes your greatest disappointments
Have become your greatest blessings." Hear!
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we examine the truth of the comfort of faith. Many times in our lives, we find ourselves sitting by disappointment’’s door, and our hearts become heavy as we anticipate the greater sorrow of actually walking through the door that spells the end of our hopes and dreams. We need the comfort of faith. Jesus says ““Let not your heart be troubled, Neither let it be afraid. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world."
We walk through the lonely barren forest of betrayal and fragments of broken promises. Instead "of walking by the stream that dances in the sun with blue birds calling so loud and sweet from every green wood tree," we hear the mocking bird of ridicule calling to us with disconsonant screeches of discouragement and despair. We surely need the comfort of faith. We turn inward to our heavenly Father, and he says ““trust me, for I will give you the desires of your heart. Nothing of spiritual value is ever lost.””
An acorn is planted in fertile ground. For a long time, nothing appears to be happening, but under the surface of the ground, the acorn begins to unfold, growing in two directions. As the upward growth proceeds with it trunk, branches and leaves, the downward growth proceeds with its tentacles of root, spreading deep, far and wide, preparing for not only the weight of its mighty superstructure, the trunk, branches and leaves, but also for the adverse weather conditions that will assault it. The root system has a firm anchorage, and though the tree may sway in the furnace of turbulent winds, it will not be moved unless the force is able to overcome the root system (which it usually is not). As the soul begins its growth process into the spiritual realm, its root system of faith also grows deeper, spreading far and wide. And the higher the soul grows, the deeper the root system of faith grows. This root system will maintain the soul as it moves through the ups and downs of temporal life. Nothing can overcome this root system of faith as long as the soul adheres to it. And the soul will adhere to its root system of faith unless the axe of self will chops it down. As Jesus said, ““My Father is greater than all, and he gave them to me, and no one can pluck them out of my hand.””
When the grey light of the storm clouds of depression seep in through the windows of the soul at dawn, instead of the bright sunlight of the cloudless day of happiness, we need the comfort of faith. Faith instructs us that our "transient and ever-changing emotions of joy and sorrow are in the main purely human and material reactions to our internal psychic climate and to our external material environment." These emotions are purely passing and are a necessary byproduct of the self consciousness of the projected immature value assessment made by the temporal mind that reacts to what it perceives it is experiencing. And with our faith, we hear Jesus say: "I would speak words of comfort. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I make these gifts not as the world gives--by measure. I give each of you all you will receive. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. I have overcome the world, and in me you shall all triumph through faith."
And when the realization of expected resolution is less than that which was anticipated, and the unruly and stormy sea of anxiety replaces the smooth sea of temporal peace, and we are buffeted about like a piece of cork floating haplessly on this stormy sea, be not dismayed, for Jesus says: ““When you pass through the waters of affliction, I will be with you, and when the rivers of adversity overflow you, I will not forsake you.”” The Comforter remains with you forever. And because Jesus is going through each and every experience with us, that is our certainty that we can go through each and every one without fear or danger to our souls.
The comfort of faith declares that the soul is traveling through the temporal world of vale and tears, gaining valuable experience. As the soul manifests itself through the mind and the body, these instruments of expression are subject to the environment in which they exist. They suffer the wear and tear of the erosion of temporal existence. And though the soul experiences the shadow of the impact of these experiences, the experiences have absolutely no power whatsoever to cause the soul any danger of harm. The soul extracts the divine values and meanings that are concealed within these experiences.
In some way there is a divine plan working its unfoldment through this life. We don’’t understand the technique, but because of it the plan must operate the way it does. To understand the necessity of this plan as it unfolds, consider this analogy. A mighty ocean lies at the foot of a great mountain. A small stream bubbles up from the top of the mountain, and as it travels it confronts obstacles to its flow. Because of the nature of water, it continues to increase in size until it overcomes the obstacle, and as it travels down the mountain encountering greater and greater obstacles, it grows in size so that by the time it reaches the bottom of the mountain, it has become a mighty river. Now we can clearly see that if the stream had immediately merged with the ocean at the bottom, it would be far from the mighty river that eventually merged with it. It was by following the path of its destiny that not only allowed for it to merge with the ocean at the bottom of the mountain but to acquire that growth that would allow it to make a worthy contribution to the mighty ocean at the bottom of the mountain.
And finally the comfort of faith admonishes us to use the tools of prayer and worship. Prayer will cement faith into the fibers of the soul, providing an endless supply of truth, beauty, and goodness and encircles this whole ensemble with divine love. We should rededicate and reconsecrate our will to doing the Father’’s will and reaffirm our faith in trust in the Father and His divine plan for our lives. Prayer will sustain us as we travel up the mountainside of growth; worship will show us the beautiful values and meanings of the Father who resides at the very top of the mountain of growth. So we must get up from beside the door of disappointment and walk boldly through it, knowing fully well and without reservation that nothing of spiritual value is lost. And while it may take some time, we will discover the truth of the saying: "Sometimes your greatest disappointments have become your greatest blessings."
This concludes today's message on understanding the comfort of faith. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.