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Rule #4: Laugh at Life!


Have you ever had those moments in your life where God has spoken, and you struggle to believe it or to listen to Him fully? I know I have. The best example when this happened was when God called me to become a pastor during my freshman year at the University of Florida. Out of the nearly 8 billion people on this planet, I thought there was no way God chose me to be a pastor. He must have mistaken me for somebody else. I mean, how could I ever become a pastor? Pastors are extroverted and outgoing. I am introverted and shy. Pastors are comfortable doing lots of public speaking and preaching. I am far from comfortable speaking in front of large groups and at that point in my life, I had never preached a single sermon. Pastors talk and talk and talk. I am much more of a listener rather than a talker. Pastors deal with lots of conflict. I am a conflict-avoider. And the excuses went on and on and on. So, long story short, I doubted God and decided to go down my own path, which did not consist of pursuing full-time ordained ministry. Rather, I spent three years believing I was going to go to Physician Assistant school and boy did I put myself through some unnecessary struggles and heartache. Eventually, God spoke to me again at the end of my college career and I turned down PA school to go to seminary instead. I look back on those years I spent taking matters into my own hands and I chuckle at my stubbornness, my doubt, and my poor decisions.

All of us, to some extent, have struggled with doubting God. God has called us to do something that is severely out of our comfort zones, and we think it just seems too impossible or too hard. We start to make excuses and take matters into our own hands. Even some of the greatest people of faith in the Bible struggled with trusting God fully, such as Abraham. The reality is that sometimes God brings things into our lives that we just cannot believe for whatever reason. Maybe we think we are not equipped or that we are too old or too young or not smart enough, or literally that God’s call just seems too impossible for us to achieve. His call may seem so far-fetched that we laugh from a place of disbelief, just like Abraham when God promised him a son at age 99 or like me when God first called me to become a pastor. But God always fulfills His promises, and He always equips us to do seemingly impossible things. And when we finally realize this, when we finally start trusting in the God that gave Abraham a son when he was 100 years old and the God who brought His people through the parted Red Sea and the God who released Jonah from the great fish and the God who turned water into wine and the God who raised Lazarus from the dead and yes, even the God who resurrected Jesus Christ from the grave, when we finally trust that God is who He says He is and He always fulfills His promises, the only reaction we are left with is pure joy. Our only reaction is to look back at the times in our lives where we trusted our own circumstances and laugh at all of the dumb stuff we did and the moments we doubted God and just be filled with pure joy knowing that God never gave up on us, even when we gave up on Him.

So, St. Pete First, may we be filled with hope and joy, for God has not given up on us. My prayer is that you would learn from Abraham's story and that you would learn from my story as well. My prayer is that you would laugh at life, not from a place of disbelief but from a place of pure joy, for we know that God is who He says He is, and nothing is impossible with Him.

— Pastor Marge


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