A Message From Elder Dave Mabry

Hello Faith Bible Church,

My name is Dave Mabry and I’m the current chairman of the elder board of Faith Bible. My wife Betsy and I have been members of our church since moving to The Woodlands in 1984 when I began working as a Family Practice Doctor in our community. All three of our now grown children were raised at Faith Bible.

I miss you greatly and am eagerly anticipating the time when we can be together in person again. I pray that during this season you are drawing closer to God, who is our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliverer. As we continue through this most difficult season of fear, illness, and economic difficulty, I would like to offer some thoughts for your consideration. At first glance, these thoughts may seem a little difficult, but I hope they are helpful to you.

During a hard time, during catastrophe or crisis, our first response to God is often "make it stop" or "make it go away." These are appropriate responses for God is our Comforter, our Rescuer, and our Redeemer. As we pray sometimes our situation will improve. Unfortunately, though, sometimes God does not "make it stop" or "make it go away" and we still find ourselves in the middle of a difficult situation.  

I think of the words of Joni Eareckson Tada who, upon realizing she was going to be a quadriplegic permanently and not going to die or be healed, said, “God, if I can’t die, show me how to live." From reading current reports it seems likely that the physical and economic difficulties from COVID may go on much longer than we would like. So, since our situation may not change, how do we live well in the face of prolonged difficulty?

I would offer these two ideas.

First – ask God to increase our faith, to increase our belief that He is good and He is able. One of the unfortunate truths about our human existence is that we rarely grow spiritually during times of peace and prosperity. We seem to need suffering, adversity, and pain to mature; these great teachers are active in times like these as they weave hard truths into the fabric of our hearts.

This was true for me in 2001 when I was diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer (I am fine). This was a journey I would never have chosen, but it is a journey I would do again because, during it, I learned things about God that I do not think that I could have learned any other way. I was a slow learner who needed special instruction. With this great difficulty came great progress in my faith.  As we walk through these difficulties let us ask God to increase our faith, to allow us to believe more and more that He is good and He is able. As we see the suffering around us, it is hard to see these truths so we need God to show us Himself.

Stop here and pray that God would increase your faith.
 
Second – suffer well. Suffer well. I know that this does not sound very friendly. The adversity around us is real and constant and appears to be ours for a prolonged season. This requires us to decide how we will respond in the midst of struggle. How will we speak?  How will we think?  How will we live? Will our thoughts be focused on hope or despair?  Will our speech and deeds direct those around us to God or to the apparent hopelessness of our situation?  Will our words be words of grumbling and disputing or words of life and faith?  Paul describes a similar situation in 2 Corinthians 4 where he offers the following contrasts.

Paul states that we are
  • Afflicted in every way but not crushed
  • Perplexed but not despairing
  • Persecuted but not forsaken
  • Struck down but not destroyed

How can this be?  Read through 2 Corinthians 4:8-18 to see the rationale behind Paul’s seemingly outlandish statements.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Stop here and ask God to help you suffer well.

I am praying with you that we would suffer well and that God would increase our faith.

Dave Mabry
Elder Chair  
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