Heading over Tim Couch Pass deep in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, I was apprehensive. I was making the three-hour-plus journey from my home to a church that is part of New Hope’s church planting partnership. The church struggled greatly in the beginning, but had experienced solid growth in the last year. Regular church goers were growing in the faith and a number of people in the community had experienced the Lord’s saving grace. A new couple had started working with the youth and the numbers were growing. Things were going well, and the future looked bright.
Then a disturbing phone call came to me from the pastor. An argument had erupted in the church. Two church members had a heated exchange that could be heard in the sanctuary. Both of the men entered the sanctuary, took their family members, and left the church. It was a heartbreaking event. The pastor had to be away on the following Sunday, and he asked me to preach for him. With great apprehension, I was on my way.
A flashback came to me of a time earlier in life when I had experienced dread and trepidation about an upcoming meeting. My grandmother said to me, “Don’t borrow trouble. Pray! Things are seldom as bad as we imagine”. A comforting verse also emerged from that earlier conversation, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
As I traveled to minister to a church in crisis, I was once again ‘borrowing trouble’. Heeding my grandmother’s advice, I prayed. I could sense a calm in my spirit. The final miles of my journey were spent in prayer and thanksgiving. As always, I found God’s word to be true! How I’ve proved it over and over! The trouble I had anticipated did not materialize.
While it was tense in the beginning, I invited the congregation to come and gather around the altar. We repeated together Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” After a time of prayer, I delivered the message I believed God had given me. There were six people that humbly came to the altar when the invitation was given. There was a sweet spirit in the sanctuary. Although there remained apologies that needed to be made and forgiveness that needed to be offered in the days ahead, the church now had a chance to moving forward.
Conclusion: Don’t borrow trouble! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
~ Brother Roy