2008-05-14 / Religion

'Words From the Wedding'

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

I have been involved in a lot of things over the years as a minister - some of them sad, many of them joyous. But I had the opportunity to do something the other day that was a brand new experience for me: I officiated a wedding. It certainly was not the first wedding that I have performed, but it was the only one of its kind. I had the honor of joining our youngest daughter and her fiancé together in Holy Matrimony.

During the ceremony I addressed Jessica's daughter. Among other things, I reminded Mallory that she was becoming part of a new family, but she did not need to be afraid, for she would be loved and cared for as she has been all her life. I guess it sounded good and added a special touch to the ceremony, but who knows how much a nearly five-year-old gets from such a statement. Apparently she got a lot from it! A few days later she told Jessica, "Papa told me not to be afraid."

She understood that she did not need to be afraid because someone in whom she had great confidence had told her that everything would be all right. She took me at my word without asking why or how things would work out for her good. As she gets older, she will findout that Papa has more faults and limitations than she first thought, but we won't hurry to get to that time in her life!

I understand fully that my words are fallible and cannot always be depended on because I am limited and imperfect. But there is One Who is perfect; we have a perfect and unlimited Heavenly Father in Whom we can trust to take care of us no matter what our circumstances. Consider these words from Psalm 27: "The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" (verse 1, NIV).

If we would be completely honest with ourselves, I expect all of us would have to admit that we have faced some things that we have been afraid of. When I was diagnosed with cancer almost three years ago, I had some fears to deal with. Shortly after that diagnosis someone told me that they thought preachers were supposed to be people of faith, but I seemed depressed when I learned that I had cancer. (Just what you need to hear in the middle of a trial!) And even though some time has passed, I still deal with some of those same fears every time I have to go in for follow-up visits with the doctor.

So what is the key to rising up above fear? A giant step in the right direction is to do as the psalmist did - take note of Who God is. It is true that there are a lot of things that have the ability to do us much harm, but the Lord is the safe sanctuary that we can confidently trust.

Mallory got what I said to her at the wedding. We need to get what God says to us: "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you" (Isaiah 41:13).

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