The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What's the point in worrying?

Sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to head back home I couldn't help but take in the sights as passengers walked to and from the gates. Besides the fact that many people were very unusually dressed for travel I couldn't help but wonder if there were still concerns of safety as we boarded our respective air carriers; passengers come from a mixture of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, with social and economic differences? Does the effect of 9/11 still concern you as you travel?

This past Sunday we read the Gospel of Matthew 4:12-23 where Jesus gathers the first of his disciples; Peter, Andrew, James and John. Jesus tells them to come and follow Him and He will make them fishers of men. If you think that statement was strange enough, the actions of the four fishermen were even more strange. They dropped their nets and followed Jesus. There was no hesitation from either men, they didn't ask Jesus if they could go home and make sure it was alright with their families, in order to get confirmation. Actually they did what many wouldn't do today, step out of their comfort zone.

The disciples of Jesus, then just regular fishermen, had responsibilities and obligations just like anyone today. They probably had families who looked up to them, cattle to tend to, even household chores around the home. So what made them drop what they were doing and just go out on Jesus' Word. They must have always had strong faith to let go of everything they were doing and follow behind Jesus. They didn't know where they would sleep, they didn't know how they would eat, they didn't know how their loved ones would continue to live without them, but what they did have made up for all of those fears many of us face today.

As a husband, a father and a family man I can honestly say that I've had my share of worries about many things throughout the course of my marriage. Sometimes I think back to being a child and wonder why I didn't see this all before, my parents made it look so effortless. Little did I know that they went through very similar adversities and trials as do many couples, but they held on to the one source that is above all. I keep having to tell myself that trials are good for the soul as it strengthens our faith in God. Without God we are nothing, we can do nothing and we can accomplish nothing.

Husbands, father, even you wives out there, whoever is the bread winner of the family, haven't there been moments in your life where you feel disappointing to your family, even though they don't see you like that? Don't you ever stop and ask yourself if you are at the place in your life where God wants you to be? You pause on that question for a moment then think about the wife, the kids, the grandparents who rely on your best judgment calls as the provider, because without you the ship is bound to sink. So what do you think you do when all of these thoughts play out in your head? You remember the mortgage that needs to be paid, the school fees, the nursing home fees and many other expenses. We believe at that point that this is where God wants us so we decide not to take that leap of faith, there is too much at stake and too many counting on us.

Like the four fisherman who took that leap of faith and said "yes Jesus, we will follow you" I am reminded of the story of Elijah and the raven. Do you remember that story. I had totally forgotten about it and then it sank so deep within my soul. Here's a prophet who did as The Lord had instructed him. He declared a drought in the city of Samaria and was then told by God to leave and go hide out at Cherith. Elijah drank from the brook and was fed food twice a day by ravens. Then God told him to leave there and go to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. As a prophet of God he probably was anxious to return to the city to face Ahab, but instead he obeyed God and went on his journey.

While at a home in Zarephath he is fed the last bit of food that the widow had for herself and her son. He assured her that the jar of flour would not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, for The Lord God will provide. She did as she was asked and was given as promised. In addition her son passed away from an illness so Elijah begged to God to save him and not let his mother suffer such a fate. Once again Elijah's prayers were answered and the boy lived. From this place God then instructs Elijah to leave there and return to Ahab. He reveals to Ahab and the prophets of Baal who the one and only God is, the God of Israel by praying to a God to show them a sign with fire. The people prostrate themselves after having witnessed the sign.

So why did I share this story you may ask, well for one thing it was probably one of those stories you may have forgotten, but on a serious note it sheds light on two facts: everything in God's time and having faith and trust in God is what we should all be striving to attain. I'm sure Elijah wanted to leave the valley of Cherith and return back to settle with Ahab, but that is not how God wanted this to play out. God's plans were different from Elijah's and he followed them exactly as God had requested.

How many times do we believe that we have all of the answers. We want God's help, but feel at times that we got things under control. When God said to Elijah "go to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there" he must have wondered why. Why am I going there Lord, what's the point? If we claim to be "believing" Christians then we need to put that belief, faith and trust to action, thus eliminating the nagging desire to worry. There are so many authors out there today writing on a topic that many struggle with today. It begins to make us depressed and worrisome because we just don't know what it is we're suppose to be doing with our lives. The book can be called "Why am I here".

Who haven't raised that very similar question throughout this journey of life that we are on. If you said "not I" then I'm going to say that you're not being very truthful. As Christians we all have a purpose for being here on this earth. God said that He knew us before He even formed us in the womb. Well if only God could have sent us that map and journal log when we were born so that as He knows us, then we can follow that path He cut for us. Unfortunately it just doesn't work that way. We've all stumbled along the way along that path. I'm convinced my path is made of bricks because I've nicked my toes one too many times on this journey.

The older we get and the more responsibilities that are given to us can either make us or break us. Some decisions we make can be such a bad one that it takes you completely off your path until that pasture you were in now looks like a derelict city, with smog and grime. If only we can snap our fingers to place us back on that course, but trials and moments of doubt can be used to give us that needed strength to pick ourselves back up and find that path again.

I'll share a true story with you that has always been an inspiration to me, one that tells of someone on that path that was cut for him, however everything changed very quickly and he found himself trying to find his way through the smog. Growing up, this young man was liked by everyone who came in contact with him. Coming in contact with the right person at the very right time he was offered a job as a floor manager at a retail store. All of the customers loved him, he was a very hard worker. The potential to grow there was good, but somewhat limited. He thought of becoming CEO one day and so he pressed on.

A few years went by and nothing much changed, he was still popular with the customers and rewarded handsomely by his bosses. They praised him for all of his hard work, however that gratification would soon turn to criticism and doubt. Unfortunatelty something happened at work that caused his bosses to take issue with him, so he decided that he would leave as not to dishonor his name, but rather to keep peace between he and his coworkers. It became the moment of truth at this point, a truth that many face when they are without a job instantly. With no notice and no warning, what was he to do now he asked himself.

As he searched deep within himself he realized that he always enjoyed the seas having being a boat owner for many years. As the passion rekindled within his heart he figured he might as well use his passion to get him started back on track so he decided to spread the word around that he was getting into boat charters. Several months passed and business was going exceptionally well. He was not only making money abundantly, but he was also doing the thing he enjoyed most of all. So many of us struggle with questions as to why they still feel as though something is missing. That missing link for many can be characterized as one word: passion.

Are there ever times that you feel comfortable with the status quo or are you willing to one day step out of that comfort zone. I wonder if Elijah may have become a bit comfortable at Cherith, he had water and food that was delivered to him twice a day. Now why can't I find good service like that today; I find myself having to pay for delivery service, even give the driver a tip at times. So here we have Elijah, eating, drinking and hidden with no worries of being found. Then God decided to shake things up a bit, by adding a new line to the story. With God we can be assured that there is always work to be done. If we sit around too comfortably we can become complacent and afraid of change.

Why do we pray to God for something then when He presents it to us (whether directly or indirectly) we question whether this is the path that God wants us on or whether this is something that we can truly do. Do we ask because we have been taught to pray and ask God for help or do we ask with confidence and believe that God will answer our prayers? When the rug is yanked from under our feet it can seem difficult to get up. Many of us wait for support from others as reassurance that all will be well, but it must start from within first. Believing in ourselves and the God given talents that He has blessed us with is the first step to success. Be a Peter, a Andrew and a James and John and step out of that comfort zone and watch magnificent things begin to happen.

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