All is Well

by Eric Ryan, Pastor of Leadership Development
Hey Wildwood Family!
     
I hope everyone had a special Mother’s Day this past weekend. We know Mother’s Day can also be very difficult for those struggling with infertility or those who may have lost their mothers. Please know we see you, and we were praying for you last week. We trust God, the great comforter of the hurting, met and sustained you last week. To all the mothers at Wildwood, thank you doesn’t seem to be nearly enough, but we mean it with all our hearts. Our church would not minister half as well without your love and ministry among us and our community.

In the first devotional that went out, I mentioned that looking over the sermons I preached this year is a way to review what all the Lord has been saying and working on in my own life, as pastors often have to wrestle with the passage personally in order to preach it. I want to get back to talking through a few of those. This morning I reviewed the sermon I gave on 8/11 called “All is Well” on 2 Kings 4:18-37.

This sermon wasn’t part of an ongoing series, so it allowed me to preach something that the Lord had been working in my heart for the 6 months prior. Honestly, it felt more personal than most sermons. I had wrestled hard with this passage, and the Lord had shown me some fairly personal things that I had to repent of, but also some sweet truths that provided a new sense of hope and rest.

“There’s this idea that to live out of conformity with how I feel is hypocrisy; but that’s a wrong definition of hypocrisy. To live out of conformity to what I believe is hypocrisy. To live in conformity with what I believe, in spite of what I feel, isn’t hypocrisy; it’s integrity.” -Erik Theonnes 

Here are three major points from that sermon:

  • I opened with a story about my son Josiah. One that, until this morning, I had actually forgotten about. In short, one night, I passively threw the blanket over his head, and he freaked out. I found him screaming and sweating, not able to calm down. Rather than pull it off his head, he panicked because the fear of the dark is a reality for him.

This pandemic connects well to that story. It really did feel like a proverbial blanket was tossed, covered over all our previous plans for the spring, and caused us to have to adjust to a new normal. For many of us, that stirred up immense anxiety and fear, and in times like these, we have to remember to cling to what we believe. Living out of our current feelings is sometimes not helpful, and can even be hurtful. Talking about your feelings is different than clinging to them and if you do talk about them, don’t leave the conversation before you also talk about what you believe despite them. The Shunamite woman lost her only son, but her belief drove her to “The Mountain of God” and Elisha (“God is my salvation”). On her way, she says to her husband and Gahazi, “All is well.”

  • In Christ, we no longer have to take our burdens to the “prophet of God” so they can speak the word of God to us, but rather, Christ is the Word, and we can simply hit our knees and seek the Lord through prayer. 

The woman’s feelings drove her to ride the donkey hard and fast. Allow your fears to drive you to God, and seek His help. Matt. 11 reminds us that he wants them. He wants to hear them, and he wants to hear how you’re processing all of the mess around us. Go to Him friend, and you won’t be disappointed.

  • For the Christian, “all is well” is always an authentic statement because Jesus is our SalvationIt’s ok to have moments when you don’t feel like, “All is well”, but you say it anyway- trusting that we are upheld by a powerful and loving Father. Our circumstances don’t dictate our status. 

You may remember, the Shunamite woman had built a place on top of their house for Elisha to stay on his way to and from the capital. We have strong evidence from earlier in the chapter that they knew each other well. She was allowing “the Word of God” to dwell among her family.

Friends, saturate your mind in the Word. That is how your heart is strengthened when your emotions grow too strong. How in the world did she have the strength to say, “All is well” when her only son had died in her lap a few moments earlier? I believe the passage gives us enough evidence to conclude; her faith was built and strengthened through previous times with Elisha (represented the Word of God to the people). Only then was she prepared to do what was necessary in the midst of great tragedy. 

I pray everyone has a great week! We look forward to worshiping together online this Sunday!  
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