March Madness, otherwise known as the NCAA Basketball tournament has begun. I am watching along with millions of others as I pull for my favorite team. As I am watching another close game of my favorite team, I am reminded of this simple truth. “I have no power over the outcome of this game.” I suppose I could pray, but like praying on the golf course, it does not seem to bring me the desired results. God does not always answer with a yes.
We are coming off a year of Ministry Madness. We have all dealt with the reality of life events beyond our control. It seems that all we can do is watch and observe the events that take place around us. What can we do in the midst of Ministry Madness?
*We can pray.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
John Owen said, “We will either abide in temptation, or abide in prayer.” We will face our share of trials and temptations. We may not be able to control the outside, but we can choose to pray. Prayer may not change our circumstances, but in prayer we can change for the better. We can exchange our worries for His word as we in prayer give thanks and present our requests to God. Ministry madness calls us to choose prayer over panic. We do not control tomorrow, but our prayers are lifted up to the One who is in control.
*We can learn.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:37-41
In the midst of Ministry Madness, it feels like God does not care. If God cared, why is this happening? Where is God and what is He doing? We feel like we are in the dark with no clue. The disciples began with the question of whether the Lord cared. They ended this experiencing in awe of His awesome power over the wind and the waves.
The word ‘disciple’ means learner. We are on a mission to learn each day. I learn my most important lessons in the fire of difficulty and uncertainty.
*We can love.
Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, I Thess. 4:9-10
Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonian church as they were going through their own madness of trials and tough times. Life was anything but easy. Paul praised these believers for their love for each other. We can love in the midst of our own times of madness. This love for God and others can be a key way God heals our wounded hearts.
We may not know or understand the madness around us. Why Lord did you allow this? What are you doing? How will also this work out? Perhaps, more than having all of our questions answered, God will give us what we need through our love for one another.