Desperate Love

Speaker: M.Noorhoff


In our last couple sermons we have been looking at our faith and trying to wake it up from the slumber that has come upon so many of us. It is something that can happen to any of us and most donft even realize that they drifted off. But even if we are able to wake up how are we to stay awake in order to get the job done. We need something powerful enough to prevent us from becoming drowsy again. We need something to keep our hope high, we need something to keep us focused. Nothing keeps us up better at night then an obsession. Something that we canft get off our mind. Now I em not telling you that you need to get less physical sleep but it is the spiritual sleep that is undermining your faith. Even though we close our eyes it does not mean that our spirit also shuts down. Samuel is a great example of this as he hears God calling him as he slept.  But I do not want to get of track.

Spiritual is a good obsession it means that God and godliness is always on our mind but even more so we remain focused on our goal  to be with our Father and to spend eternity with Him in heaven. We may remain focused on Loving Him with all our heart mind and body. Listen to that again gLove God with all your Heart, mind and bodyh does that not sound like an obsession to you. But it does not end there the scripture then reminds us to love of neighbours. Love God and love your neighbour. Love Him though faith knowing how He has brought you out of slavery to yourself and to sin and forgave you of your past and know that through Him you may enter eternity and never die but have everlasting life.@We have a compelling motivation for something we do not yet have.

We do this because God was first obsessed with us. Just as we love Him because as the hymns says he loved us first. We also should obsess for Him because He obsessed for us first.

Well that takes us to the end of the last sermon. Today I hope to add to this idea and give you some further insights that came crashing in on me. After writing the sermon two weeks ago I was hit with some news that really shook me. Some of you heard it when I gave testimony in the morning service that Sunday. I will tell you the story again but also some other things that were revealed to me about this tragedy and the conversations about it I have had with family since.

Two weeks ago I received and e-mail from my mother

 Right away I knew something bad had happened because the e-mail was tittled Nightmare!!!

 "I puttered around, cleaning the house, making bread, etc., until mid-afternoon when David arrived at the door.  And boy, did he have a story to tell.  I can't possibly tell the whole story but will try to tell you what happened on his holiday to the Dominican Republic.  They flew there last Thursday and arrived in pouring rain and couldn't get to their hotel because all the roads had been washed out.  They were finally taken to another close by hotel for one night but couldn't get to the hotel they were booked at until about midnight the next day.  It rained very hard off and on for the next 2 days and finally on the 4th day they managed to get to the beach.  David and Vic went snorkeling and suddenly high waves started rolling in and after the 3rd one they decided to swim for shore.  But by then there was a big undertow and they found themselves struggling.  Vic said he couldn't breathe and was panicking, so David grabbed him and tried to swim back to shore, but the undertow was so great that soon David was struggling too and finally lost his grip on his friend.  David then saw a boat nearby and waved his arms like mad.  Someone pulled him into the boat and then he lost consciousness.  Another boat went to look for Vic and found him and brought him to shore as well.  David then found himself coughing and spluttering on the sand and some people were doing CPR on his friend.  Vic didn't make it - he died that day.  The two wives were on the beach going through the horror of this event.  After many hours of questioning by the police, the hotel managers, etc., all David, Sylvia and Angie wanted to do was to come home. 

 David's eyes kept filling with tears as he was telling his story and he said he hasn't slept for 3 nights.  This will likely be a nightmare that will haunt him for the rest of his life."

 The story hit me hard straight in the heart. All I could focus on was that me brother had just about lost his life. I was stunned for a few moments the entire scene coming to life in my imagination. I could see the waves crashing over them both of them gasping for air. I could see the fear in their eyes. I could see me brother reaching out for his friend I could se the look on his face. I could see the desperation, I could see the love. But suddenly I saw the Sistine chapel in italy. In particular I saw the central figure of God reach out for man and man lazily reaching out for God. Suddenly I could see the waves again. I could see God in the sea reaching out for drowning man. I could see the desperation I could see the love. God desperate to save us. God willing to do anything to save us. This revelation really helped me to clearly see the obsession that I had just written about. God is desperate to save you. God is desperate to save each of us. My brother could not save his friends life and will live with that forever God is able to save you for now and for ever.

 The vision didn't end there but it continued a few days later. I was thinking about what I had envisioned before and then suddenly I saw Jesus on the Cross not in pain or agony but with the same look of desperate love that I had seen in my Brothers eyes and in Godfs eyes. The he reached from the cross toward those below and said grab my hand and believe.

 It was at this point I knew for certain that God wanted me to know what he was trying to show me and to share it with all of you. I only hope that I can. I believe that there are lessons to be learned in everything that happens. I believe that every life experience we have can be used for His Kingdom. I believe in taking the opportunity in crisis instead of the danger. I believe that this tragedy will in someway be used for good if we take up the opportunity and open ourselves to seeing it.  I think the message of the visions is quite simple in itself that God desperately loves us and is willing to do anything, anything to save us and bring us home. He is so obsessed with this purpose that he is even willing to die to prove to us His love and redeem us. 

 Before I go on I want to stop and remember that Victor lost his life though my brother desperately tried to help him he couldnft. I think it is only appropriate that we offer prayer and intercession for Victor and his wife. We pray that she may be able to find peace and comfort and move beyond the tragic loss. She has many difficult days ahead. We also pray for my brother and his wife, that this will not be something that holds them back but something that pushes them forward. May the Lord answer their questions and comfort them.

 The bible, in particular the new testament. Tells the stories of several sudden storms. Storms that seem to come out of nowhere and the panic they bring on. In life as well sudden storms can come suddenly, wefll call them life storms. The storms can come up any time and can cause people that you never would of thought would panic to do just that. Davidfs friend Victor had been in the Navy for 10 year but when the storm wave started pounding when he felt himself being pulled down even the stongest swimmer and the bravest man will panic.

 From the age of  15 I held a summer and part-time job as a lifeguard. To do this in Canada there is fairly rigorous training and testing. Finally if you pass you are given a 2 year license that you must renew every two years. I continued to lifeguard though university. It was an excellent part time job that helped ay for my education and living expenses. Over the years I pulled quite a few people out of the water All we safe but I still remember each one. It wasnft that all of them were in such danger, one time I merely had to tell them to stand up, their feet could actually touch the bottom, but I can still remember the look of panic on their faces. Some we young some were older. Some couldnft swim and some could swim quite well.

 Life Storms can hit any of us, even the faithful, even those Jesus himself called the rock.

 Matthew

24  Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.

25  The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

26  He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27  The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

Matthew 14: 24

the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25  During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.

26  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27  But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28  "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29  "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

30  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

32  And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

33  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

In both these passages even the disciples fear and their disbelief over comes their faith or rather panic overcomes their faith

So what are we to do to keep our faith stronger to be secure no matter how high the waves are, no matter how many storms roll in.

Keep our focus on him. Just keep your eyes upon Jesus.

But what of those that do not have faith or whose faith is easily overcome. What do we do when the storm comes upon those weaker swimmers? Of course the first thing we must do is reach out.

But my life guarding training has taught me that it is not so easy. The greatest fear is that the panicking individual grabs hold of you. The will then begin climbing you like a ladder and before you know it you are also panicking. Both of you trying to climb the other.  So, you must never just rush in there you approach prepared. Now the best way to rescue someone is to actually swim below them stay underwater, grab them by the waist and place them on your hip lifting them up out of the water. As soon as you lift them up the panic recedes. Is this not what the Bible has always taught us. That to lift someone we must be willing to go below them, to serve them.

As I said I have pull many out of the water but I rarely remember exactly what I did I I remember is seeing the victim and pulling the out the middle is always a blank. You see the training just took over. I had trained myself over and over in almost every situation and when that skill was needed it just came out,. It took control.

And I think this is the lesson for us today. We are extension of Christfs love. We are His arms that reach out from the cross. We reach out in the same desperate love. We love our neighbour because He loves our neighbour. And when those storms come suddenly whatever the storm may be. Failure, depression, a rocky marriage, a broken heart, hopelessness and the list goes on. Are we ready to help our neighbour? Do we have the skills and techniques necessary to raise them up out of the waves. Do we have the endurance , have we practiced enough. Have we read scripture enough. Will it take control of us so that we let the lord speak through us. That we let the holy spirit, the comforter speak through us

It is time for us to built up our faith so we remain calm and focused though the waves crash around us

But more so it is time for us to start building our rescue skill so that we may be there for other and that we may reach out and grab hold, lifting them out of their sea of troubles. You can not do this unprepared.

We see an example of this unprepared rescuer in the book of Job as Jobs three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come to try to sympathize with Job. At the lowest point in his life, Job had to suffer the advice of three armchair theologians.They'd been watching his plight from a distance and were certain they had his problems figured out. They weighed his situation, put their heads together, and approached Job with their solution to his quandary but instead of sympathizing the criticize. Instead of lifting up, they push down. It's not as if they didn't mean well. Their concern was genuine. But somehow their advice missed the mark. And God wasn't too impressed with what they had to say, even though most of their advice was true\at least technically

They werenft prepared. They didnft reach out in love.

Do you feel his desperate love? Are you willing to be his Hand?