Just the facts, mam!
It's hard to argue with the facts.
It is what it is.
So it seems.
But, sometimes the facts don't tell the whole story.
Fact - The Joseph had been sold off by his brothers, wrongly accused of a crime he didn't commit, forgotten to rot away in jail.
Fact - The Jews were defeated, the temple had been destroyed, and most were taken captive to Babylon.
Fact - Jesus was tried and crucified, his band of 12 followers had disbanded, all seemed lost.
But that's not the end of the story.
God had taken what was meant for evil and saved an entire generation of people through Joseph's leadership.
While Daniel and his friends were captives in Babylon, God used Daniel and his friends to demonstrate His glory.
Jesus rose again from the grave and the band of 12 within one generation became thousands upon thousands of faithful followers whom God used to establish His church.
The facts of our lives tell of similar hardship.
- we are facing one of the greatest financial meltdowns the world has ever seen
- our church has plateaued and has been struggling to find its way out of the malaise of difficulties
- we've had to make some tough and difficult decisions.
The facts all seem to be pointing in the wrong direction.
But sometimes the facts don't tell the entire story. Because when you add the ingredient of faith into the equation of life, God can take a band of 200-250 faithful followers of Jesus Christ to transform the world as we know it just as God has done countless times throughout the biblical narrative.
The last three to four years, and particularly the last year of our life together, has been the most difficult year of my life.
But I am confident that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion. God is not done with us yet. There is more to be written. And as we step out on faith, I am confident that the God who has acted in history to turn terrible situations for His glory will do that once again in our life time, in our church.
And that is the reason for my hope, our hope. Jesus is faithful. And that is worth praising!