In 1999, the company I worked for was acquired by the world’s largest insurance broker, which was based in Manhattan. I was appointed the chief information officer of one of the subsidiaries and began a 10-year period of commuting from Seattle to my office on the 50th floor in the south tower in the World Trade Center.
I was one of more than 1,700 employees from four subsidiaries that were housed in the north and south towers. We lost 376 staff and contractors the morning of 9/11. Many were my friends and colleagues.
Is it enough to plant seeds, or does the church’s mission go beyond that? Mercy Ministries founder Nancy Alcorn says the church has a responsibility to not only share a message of mercy with the hurting, but also to demonstrate mercy through action.
“When adversity comes, you praise God.”
That was what my friend Terry had always been taught. When those tough times come, you just stand there, stare down the storm, and praise God.
However, on January 8, 2012, praising God was not very high on Terry’s priority list. After experiencing some problems, and noticing a lump that had developed only over a couple of days, and that ran from his chest up toward his shoulder, Terry decided to visit his doctor. His doctor was pretty blunt with the assessment:
“You have extensive small cell carcinoma (a very fast growing and aggressive form of cancer). You probably only have 6 to 12 months to live.”
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The LORD protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.” (Ps. 27:1, GNT)
The fear of rejection is based on two things. First, we all need to be loved. That’s a fact. We all desperately need massive doses of love in our life to be healthy individuals. God says, “I want to love you.” God is love, and he knows you need to be loved.
But, second, we develop the false idea that our need to be loved is solely dependent upon one person or a group of people. When you expect someone else to meet 100 percent of your need for love, you’re asking for trouble. You’re setting yourself up for hurt and opening the door for the fear of rejection. When you look to any other person besides God to meet all your love needs, he or she can’t. There is no human being alive who can love you as completely and as fully as you need to be loved, and there never will be. Only God can do that.
We all know the enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10). He will continually throw temptations onto our paths in an attempt to bring down everything God has allowed us to build—our ministries, our families and our relationships. It would be wise for each of us to continue to heed the words from 1 Peter 5:1-11. Keep them near you at all times, especially when dangerous situations arise:
Shepherd the Flock
“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (vv. 1-4).
Submit to God, Resist the Devil
“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (v. 5).
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (v. 6)
“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (v. 8).
“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (v. 9).
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (v. 10).
“To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (v. 11).
A former senior editorial adviser of Ministry Today, Jack Hayford is the founding pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, Calif., and founder of The King’s University.