Scripture: Mark 9: 2-5
We are five months into the year 2023. We have experienced four months of His grace, His love, His forgiveness, His healing, His comfort, His mercy, His peace that “passeth all understanding,” His blessings “seen and unseen,” acknowledged and ignored; blessings we know about and blessings we never saw coming, nor going.
Blessings of trouble that did not come our way! Blessings of pain and hurt that did not come our way!
It could have been me: killed by the rock dropped on an unsuspecting woman’s car windshield!
It could have been us caught in a flood!
It could be us without clean drinking water, food on our stomachs, and clothes on our backs!
It could be us sleeping under tents or bus stops, (un) housed in the rain, scared to sleep at night knowing someone will knock us in the head, take our shoes and clothing and leave us worse than we were before!
For that, we give God praise; we give Him honor; we give God glory!
We have family members we can be thankful for! We have finances we can be thankful for!
We have a church we can be thankful for! “If it had not been for the Lord on my side…where…where…where would I be?”
I thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness; thank you for your love; for picking us up when we fall; lifting us up when we’re down; hearing our prayers when we call! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you! Thank you!
When we have been under pressure, He unpressurized us; when we have been under a cloud of fear, He comforted us; when we have been confused, He delivered us! Somebody ought to give God praise!
Yet, despite His blessings, and miracles, we find ourselves battling, fighting over who should own the rights to a woman’s reproductive parts! Battling, fighting over who should be able to own a gun and who should not? Battling, fighting over: What type of restroom facility should a transgender use?
Fighting and battling while children are shot from knocking on the wrong door; for getting in the wrong car, attending the wrong “sweet 16,” or pursuing a ball that accidentally rolled into the wrong yard!
We want safety going back and forth to work; want children safe while in school or on the playground; want peace and quiet when home and at night! Some of us just want a safe place to worship God!
Don’t want to worry about the environment! Don’t want to worry about the president’s age!
Don’t want to worry about Medicare, money, or health. Just want to worship God! Lord, let us just worship you!
But we are not allowed to have it like that – lest we forget, “we are on the battlefield for our Lord, and we promised Him” that we would serve, not run away!
Peter, James, and John were taken to the mountaintop with Jesus. They were in awe once they arrived there. It was just a mountain top, but on this one, three men of Jesus’ inner circle saw a transfigured “Son of Almighty God!”
The Bible doesn’t describe the face of Jesus but tells of the whiteness of His clothing in Mark 9:3. It was there, on the mountain top, this select threesome got a glimpse of heaven that Peter did not want to leave!
Moses and Elijah having a conversation with Jesus and Peter, James and John blessed to watch?
Three witnesses to Jesus in His transfigured glory, and they get to watch? (Mark 9:4).
On the mountaintop with Jesus, away from stuff down here, and they get to see the difference and watch? Watch Jesus in His glory? They were on the mountaintop with a transfigured Jesus!
Peter, not knowing what else to say or do, out of fear, said, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here.” Out of fear, Peter said, “Let us build a shelter for each of you.”
But a voice came down from the cloud and said, “No, Peter.” (Mark 9:7). “You can’t stay on the mountaintop – you got to come down. The work is down here!”
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) You can’t stay where it’s comfortable and heavenly. You have to go through some stuff, be in some stuff, work through some stuff, smell like stuff and sometimes even feel like stuff! You’re on a battlefield – not a playground!
We’re “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl. Instead, he puts it on its stand so that those who come in may see the light” (Luke 11:33).
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). We’re “the salt of the earth. That is not to lose its saltiness” (Matthew 5:13) and not allowed to stay in comfort zones!
So, we learn to deal with tomorrow: knowing who holds tomorrow! We deal with tomorrow knowing the following: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
We deal with tomorrow proclaiming that we’re “on the battlefield for our Lord and promised Him that we would serve Him until we die. We are on the battlefield for our Lord.”
We deal with tomorrow knowing the following: He’ll never leave us nor forsake us!”
We deal with tomorrow knowing God “sits high and looks low” and knows what we are in need of before we even do.
We deal with tomorrow knowing that our God knows every hair on our heads and just how much we can bear!
We deal with tomorrow singing the words of the song “Have a little talk with Jesus and tell Him all about your troubles; He’ll hear our faintest cry and answer by and by.”
We deal with tomorrow knowing our “God can make a way out of no way!” We deal with tomorrow with enough faith to believe that “everything is going to be alright!”
We deal with tomorrow proclaiming the words of the song, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
- We’re dealing with tomorrow.
The Rev. Dr. Michael W. Eagle, Sr. is the senior pastor of Grant AME Church in Long Beach.