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Trust the Process

Matthew 16:21-28

By Stuart Mains

May 14, 2023

Gracias por leer este sermón. Si lo que escucha lo conmueve y se encuentra en el área de Boston, ¡considere visitarlo en persona!

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It is great to be with you guys. Happy Mother's Day. I know it's been said like 17 times, but we love our mothers here and we're so grateful to be able to honor you and we are just so grateful for all that you do for our families. And my name is Stewart and along with my wife Ashley, you met earlier in the service. We help lead this congregation. If this is your first time with us, we are so grateful that you're joining us and you have found it. You have found what you've been looking for, you found the community that you've been looking for and we are so grateful that you are joining us on Mother's Day. I do want to make just a special mention that hasn't been talked about yet. We have our children in service with us for the first portion of service. And there are a couple of the children in our worship service that have special needs, and you may have heard them during communion or some of those kinds of things, but I just want to lift up the parents that have special needs children right now.

And mothers in general work extremely hard but it's an added challenge to have children with special needs. And as I was listening to one of the children scream during communion I was thinking man, Jesus was always saying bring the children to me. And how much more fitting on Mother's Day to hear a little background of children screaming while we're talking about the Lord's supper. And if you found yourself going now get out of here. That's not the heart of Jesus. The heart of Jesus is to bring the little children to me. Amen. But we are grateful to celebrate mothers because mothers have so many qualities of Jesus. They love and bring safety to their children, don't they? They're kind, they want to take care of their needs. For me, when we go on a plane ride as a family, my wife always makes sure that I'm with the two youngest because they are the most needy on the plane ride. And I have this really powerful word, it's called no. I'll make sure all their needs are taken care of. They got their sips of water and their snacks, whatever, and then they'll ask for I want this or I want that or I want a different snack and I just say no.

And then after about five minutes of them asking and hearing the word no, then they're fine for the next 3 hours on this plane ride. They know that they're not going to get much from me unless it's an absolute need. Mothers, not so much. Mothers are in tune with the needs of their kids and they're always looking for ways to be able to look after them and help them out. They are so much like Jesus in so many ways. And as we honor the expectant mothers. It's an interesting time because as an expectant mother, there's so much excitement that goes into being a mother. But you are experiencing pain in places and things that you never thought you'd experience pain. Your back's hurting, your hips hurting, you're not sleeping so well, and you're peeing all through the night. I mean there are all kinds of things that are taking place as an expected mother. And in fact, as you think about even what's to come, labor is not painless. When you think about the idea of having this little child after labor, there's a lot less sleep that goes into being a mother after the baby is born.

This little kid is pooping and peeing everywhere. They're not giving a whole lot back to you emotionally. And yet when you ask a mother what they feel about their child oh man, I love this little baby and I love this bundle of joy. I love my kids. And so in a special way, they are like Jesus in the ways that they love and give despite the suffering that they have to go through. The title of today's message is to "Trust The Process". Trust the process. Despite the difficulty of being a mom, they trust the process that if they continue to persevere through the pain, through the suffering, this will be worth it. And they're unique in the way that they look at suffering. Jesus is talking about suffering in Matthew 16 as we read in verse 21. It says from that time on, Jesus began to explain to the disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priest, and the teachers of the law and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

Never lord, he said. This shall never happen to you. Jesus turned and said to Peter, get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me. You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely the human concerns. Then Jesus said to his disciples whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their very soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Truly, I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming into his kingdom. Jesus is describing this concept of the suffering and the pain that he has to go through. And truly we recognize that suffering is involved in anything that we want to see happen great in our life is going to take some suffering along the way.

We recognize that whether it's getting a degree, there are quite a few graduates in the room, right, that took some suffering to get through all the years of studying, the long nights, the papers, the early mornings, the projects, to get to the other side of getting that degree. We recognize that anything worth doing takes a process, and it takes a process of suffering. The first point is to trust the process of pain. Matthew 16, verse 21, starts off explaining to the disciples, I must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed on the third day to be raised to life. You know, suffering is a necessary part of life. Jesus said I have to suffer, I must go and be killed. And we ourselves are going to face the suffering of many different kinds. Now, there's some suffering that is self-induced suffering. There's suffering that comes from stupidity and foolishness, and that's a different kind of suffering than we're going to talk about this morning, although that would be a great lesson as well.

Don't be foolish and suffer because of it. But nonetheless, the suffering that we're describing is a suffering that we're all going to have to experience in our lives. There's a process of pain that's required. There's no way to get through life without facing suffering. You don't have glory without suffering, and mothers don't become mothers without suffering and going through many challenges. My wife loves Mario Brothers. And playing Super Mario Brothers on the Switch. There is a way to leapfrog the levels by going and doing these secret passageways where you don't have to go from one level to the next. You get to jump ahead certain levels. There's no cheat code when it comes to life. There's no bypassing the suffering that we have in our lives. We must experience suffering, but suffering shapes us. It changes us. If you've ever gone through suffering or something challenging in your life, you recognize that you never look at your life the same way. If you lose a loved one, it changes the ways that you look at the loved ones that are still there. If you face health challenges and then you receive healing, it is that much sweeter.

The ways that you're able to move. One of the sisters in our congregation had hip replacement surgery, and she's like, oh, goodness, I can already tell a difference the way that she can move versus where she was at in her pain or if you have any kind of ailment that you overcome. It's that much sweeter. When you finally receive healing. Suffering gives us an entirely different perspective. It changes our context when we face suffering, it causes us to grow in different ways than we are used to. While working out one of the techniques that you can employ is you go until failure. What that means is, I am going to do this exercise until I can't do it anymore. Actually, one of the most effective techniques to grow your strength when you think about the concept, though, it's a kind of daunting thing. I'm going to go as much and as hard as I can until I can't do it anymore. And in the spiritual life, it's very much the same way that we grow when we suffer. The Apostle Paul in Romans 5 verse 3, he describes this concept of suffering and what takes place. He says we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings. Knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. He's describing this idea of rejoicing in your sufferings, rejoicing in the challenges. You think about the idea of the beefcake, the buff guy that loves going until failure because he knows what's going to happen. It's kind of that weird, sick, twisted workout guy that just keeps going and just loves the workout. It's the same concept that he's describing that we rejoice in our sufferings. Well, why do we rejoice in our sufferings? Because if you trust the process of pain, it produces something in you. Suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. Do you need any endurance in the things that you're going through? You just need to suffer. You need to suffer through these things. You need character. Then you need to have endurance in the suffering that you're experiencing. In the same way, our souls, through suffering, they push the limits to the point of failure.

The apostle Paul describes this experience in kind of a different context. He says in 2 Corinthians 1 verse 8, as he's describing himself, he says, we were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. Look at the descriptive words that he uses. We were suffering greatly under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life that we thought we were definitely going to die. But why did this happen? This happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again on Him, we set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. As you help us by your prayers, then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. As Paul is describing what's taking place in the previous passage before, he's saying there's growth that takes place beyond that. He says it causes you to rely on God and not yourself.

We, as a culture, do not like pain at all. And yet God, time and time again, preaches the gospel of trust the process of pain. Trust the things that you're facing, the suffering that you're going through, because it will help you grow. It will help you to become something different than you are right now. As we suffer, we see our need for God. And isn't that true that when we go through challenges in life, we despair of feeling like, can I even do this? I need something more. Many of you are sitting in this room, and the reason you came to church is because you're experiencing suffering in your life that you do not know what to do with it. You're experiencing challenges and you don't know what to do with it. Maybe you're a mom here going, yeah, you're celebrating me that I'm a mom, but my kids are a mess and I don't know what to do with them. And you go, there's got to be more than this. I don't know how to parent these kids. Maybe it's our marriages and the marriages that are experiencing challenges. And so you turn to God and go, there's got to be more than this.

Maybe it's your finances, maybe it's a relationship, maybe it's loneliness or depression. But when you face suffering, it causes you to turn to God and rely on Him in a different way than you would otherwise. And the third and final thing that we see that suffering does in this process is we suffer to be able to see future glory. Jesus talked time and time again about the idea of the eternal perspective and what's to come through the suffering that you're going through right now, the things that you're experiencing, it doesn't have to be for no reason. One of the most depressing things is to see someone that goes through suffering without any purpose behind it. The idea that you could suffer, and there's just needless suffering going on. That's not what we read in God's word. If you are going through suffering right now, just know God has a plan for that suffering. But, Moms, they are no strangers to the necessity of suffering. When we first moved to this congregation, this was an absolute answered prayer for Ashley and I to come to downtown Boston. We had prayed many times over, and over the previous six years prior to coming here, this was just a beacon of hope, a thought of maybe at some point we can end up in Boston and be a part of what God is doing here in the church. And for years and years, we would pray about, where is God leading us and what God wants us to feel and experience, what's going on in our lives. We don't see how it's all going to work out, but we desire to be somewhere else than where we were in those previous times. And so for six years, there were challenges and there were issues that were going on, and it felt like it never ended. My dad passed away, surprisingly to us. He had no health challenges, and he died of a heart attack playing pickleball, of all things, and he died. Then my father-in-law had a stroke a year later. Then my daughter, that is battling some different special needs right now, was diagnosed with meningitis after like, three weeks of life, and we didn't know if she was going to make it. And then there was church strife that was going on. And I know I've shared this with the church before, but I don't know if you realize when we were going through all that, Boston was a prayer in our minds, and we're thinking, man, God, I just wouldn't it be amazing if we could do something like that?

An so we prayed and we prayed, and God arranged, during 2020, for us to move out here. But, you know, the ironic thing of all that was going on in our lives and all the challenges that happened and all the suffering that was taking place was when we interviewed for Boston. What people kept saying over and over and over again in our interview process is, wow, you have experienced so much pain and you've experienced so many challenges. I think you're uniquely qualified, being so young, to be able to do something like this because of the amount of suffering that you've gone through time and time again. Then I get it to somebody else and they go, man, you've been through a lot. Man, I could see this working. I could see you leading this congregation because you've been through so much suffering. And then another person, I mean, wow, the suffering that you've been through. And the very thing that I was trying to run away from the entire time, god was saying all along the way, I am preparing you for the next stage of life. Won't you just sit in the suffering I have in store for your life?

It's going to prepare you for your dream life of what you want to do. The suffering that I was experiencing was something that I couldn't see past at the moment. And for some of us right now, we have suffering and challenges in our lives that we can't see past. But what if in the middle of all of that, I just said, well, then I'm going to quit, then I'm going to stop, then I'm going to give up? Then I'm no longer going to interview. That's no longer a dream. I'm going to give up. I'm no longer going to move forward with this. I would have never been able to see the miracle of the next stage of life that God had been preparing me for all along the way. There is so much that God is doing in your life, in suffering, in challenge. But are you running away from it? Are you running away from the challenges? Mothers uniquely recognize that suffering is going to produce something. But do you recognize in the same way the suffering that you're experiencing in your life is producing a miracle in the next stage just around the corner of your life?

The things that you're going through, the grief that you're experiencing, the battles that you're going through, they have a purpose. I want to show you a clip here from Kevin Durant. I don't know if you know who Kevin Durant is, but he's a basketball player. I don't care what you feel about Kevin Durant. This clip is awesome, okay? And he became the MVP quite a couple of years back. And he's sharing in his acceptance speech about his mother and about what she did for him to get him to this point. Here's Kevin Durant.

We moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture, and we just all sat in the living room and we just hugged each other, because we thought we made it. When something good happens to you, I don't know about you guys, but I tend to look back to what brought me here. They would start waking me up in the middle of the night in summer times, making me around the hill, making me do push-ups. they would scream at me from the sidelines of my games at 8 or 9 years old. We weren't supposed to be here. You made us believe, you kept us off the streets and put clothes on our backs, and food on the table. When you didn't eat you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry, you sacrificed for us. You're the real MVP.

He's sharing and he's talking and reminiscing about what she did to help get him to this place. How many times along the way did she have to overcome her own self-talk, her own self-doubt of, is this even worth it, what I'm doing? She was mom and dad. And we have many in this room that serves both as mom and dad to your children and are incredible women. But as he's recounting that story, you can think about your own life, of just the sufferings that you go through. And as you have these mountaintop experiences as MVP of the NBA, it's clear and obvious to be able to go, It was worth it. Oh, it was all worth it. But in the quiet moments of your heart when the suffering seems insurmountable, that is when we must trust the process. Jesus trusted the process. He said I must go. I must die. This has to happen. As you think about the suffering, what suffering must you go through? What suffering has to happen in your life? How do you need to trust the process that God set up for your life? The suffering that you have to experience, maybe the suffering that you're experiencing right now is you're studying the Bible and you're being confronted by Scripture after Scripture that does not reflect your life.

And you see what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and the suffering is clear that I'm going to have to die to myself. I can't be the Lord of my life any longer. Last week we talked about Jesus has to be the Lord of your life and maybe the suffering is I don't know if I want to let him be Lord of my life. You've got to trust the process. Maybe the suffering is repentance and there are certain addictions and sins that are continually in your face that you're trying to combat and deal with and you feel like you cannot do it. You don't know how to overcome it. You feel like this is just not going away. Trust the process, it's going to be painful, but it's worth it. The miracle is just on the other side. The suffering may feel like, you know, what the mental health battle that I'm in my life or the challenges in my family, these things, they're too much. Trust the process. Wherever you need to hear in your life this morning, trust the process of pain. Don't stop the process moments before the miracle.

But every person that faces challenges and faces suffering has the opposing voice to pain, don't we? Whether the opposing voice the pain is internal or the opposing voice the pain is external. There's always opposition to suffering. No, I don't know if I should suffer. I don't want to suffer. And Jesus was no different. Peter was that voice in verse 22 it says Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. Never Lord, he said. This shall never happen to you. Look at Jesus's response, get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me. You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns. Our world understands that we must suffer. And I don't think Peter was any fool to not think that there's going to be suffering. In fact, he had gone through suffering with Jesus, right? He had been persecuted, he had gone and had long days of healing or preaching, right? Long days of experiencing all the miracles that Jesus did. He had seen the ups and the downs of miracles and in the same way our world understands that there's going to be suffering, right? The old adage, crawl before you ball, right? What's "crawl before you ball"? You got to suffer.

Hustle culture is all about, I'm going to grind my life into a pulp right now for work. I'm not going to do anything but work really, really hard in order for me to have a better life later on. Everyone has their idea of what's worth suffering for and what's worthwhile suffering for. Peter had a version in his mind of what was an acceptable version of suffering in his mind. Jesus should suffer in sacrifice, but He shouldn't have to die. That's not what the Messiah is supposed to do. That's not my version of suffering. He can be these other things He can be homeless or He can face persecution, but I don't want Him to die. And the irony is that every person has their version of what's an acceptable amount of suffering or version of suffering. There's no true north in the world of what's an acceptable amount of suffering, but everyone draws their line of, this is where I'll go up until I'll suffer, until this point, but not any further. For some people, I'm going to work so hard that I'll never see my family, and it's acceptable for me not to be around my family because I'm going to make a lot of money.

Therefore, in my suffering of not seeing my family, I'm still taking care of my family. And that they're going to know my love even though I'm not around. For some people, that's their line. I'm going to work super hard, and I'm going to make a lot of money, and that's how I'm going to show them I love them. For other people, it's this idea of I'm going to suffer in ways with my convictions or what I believe in, or my core beliefs about relationships, or name it. Anything that we have, we have a lot of different viewpoints in the world of how I'm going to suffer. Maybe it's, you know what, I'm willing to marry or date those people that don't have the same convictions as me, that don't have the same ideology as me, that don't have the same kind of concept of who God is. I'm going to go that far, but I'm still going to take my kids to church or I'm still going to be around Godly people. We all have our different versions of where the line is and what we're going to say, this is too much suffering, or this is the right amount of suffering, and the water gets murky really, really quick.

Jesus was confronting Peter, his close friend, because he said, you do not have in mind the things of God. Your version, the voice that you're listening to is a humanistic voice on suffering. And yet God's voice, god's version is the only one that we can trust. I was looking up statistics and studies on babies and the ways that they connect with their moms. They said that a baby can know their mom's voice before they even leave the womb. They say that it's about 50% volume in the womb from what the mom is saying, so they can hear the mom's voice even before they're born, they know their mom's voice. They did all these studies of random women's voices versus the mom's voice on this speaker, and the baby would hear the mom's voice and immediately start looking around. Even at a couple of days old, the child would know that that's my mom, that that's Mommy right there. Listening to a mother's voice can improve outcomes among hospitalized or NICU babies, right? So what they'll do is they try to get the moms around these babies as often as possible and talking, I'm here, I love you, I'm around you. Just talk, just say words. They don't even understand or comprehend what you're saying, but they hear the tone of your voice and it helps them heal. Isn't that amazing how God has made us? It can have a special effect on language development that you can learn from many other voices. But when your mom speaks to you, you start wanting to talk, and the baby starts learning how to talk the way the mom talks. And so the parts of the brain start lighting up for language development. When the mother's talking at a heightened level versus anybody else talking, they can zone out these other people. But Mom talks, and it starts firing right away. God is a voice that we can trust. God is a voice that we can hear through all the muck in the mire about suffering and how you should view suffering and what's suffering enough and what's the right way to suffer. God has a perspective on how you should suffer and view suffering, how you should view the pain that you're going through. He's a comforting voice that wants to connect with you. But some of us have never heard His voice before.

We can and have the opportunity to, and yet we just never have. This is a little baby that has hearing aids in a very, very young baby. And this is the first time she's ever heard her mother's voice. And look at her face as she's trying to process what is happening right now. This is a trigger warning that you may cry. Okay, there you go.

That's the first time that little baby has ever heard her mom say, I love you. When you hear God's voice, even if you've never heard it before, there's something in your soul that says, that's it, that's god's voice, that's what I need to feel. And there's all the noise of all the different teachings and versions and ideologies. And then you hear His voice, and you go, oh, that's what my soul longs for. That's what I've been wanting. That's true, that's right, that's holy, that's the way I need to think about the suffering, that's the way I need to feel about what I'm going through in my life. Read with me in Isaiah 43 as God, through the prophet Isaiah, tells His people what He feels, and they're able to hear His voice for the first time in a long time. In the book of Isaiah, there is a lot of challenging things going on in God's people. And yet Isaiah 43, reads, do not fear God says, do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. He doesn't say, I'll take you away from the waters that you've got to go through. He says when you go through suffering when you pass through the waters, where am I going to be? I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze, for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. When you hear the voice of God in the midst of suffering and challenge, it is your true north compass. There is a part of what he's describing that's concerning. As I walk through the fire, as I go through the blaze, as I go through the rivers, as I go through the challenges, as I go through all the suffering that I have to experience in my life, I don't want to go through those things. But He says, as you go through those things, I'm going to be with you. I will protect you. I will steer you through these things.

Will you trust my process? Will you trust the pain and the suffering, that it has a purpose? Will you listen to my voice? God is saying, Listen to me. Listen to what I am trying to tell you and express to you. Hear what I'm saying to you right now. Keep going. I'm with you. Don't stop. Just as that little baby heard for the first time, I love you from their mother, god wants you to hear and know I love you. I love you. I love that these sisters are walking back there to change because there's going to be a baptism at the end of the service. And what does God want to say to her? I love you. I love you. I am here. Despite what you're going through. What Jesus says to Peter, though, is, get behind me, Satan. Do not tell me that I don't have to experience the suffering. Don't tell me that I don't have to go through this suffering. I want you instead, though, to have the mind, the concerns of God, not man. We've got to put our suffering through the Jesus test. We've got to put the things that we're experiencing through the Jesus test.

Are these voices, are these things that we're perceiving as our viewpoints towards suffering and pain? Is that God's viewpoint toward the suffering you're experiencing? Or is that man-made? Is that not what God wants you to feel or think about the suffering you're experiencing? Jesus had a friend in front of him, a spiritual friend in front of him that was telling him how to process suffering, and he was dead wrong. Why? Because he was humanistic. The way that you look at suffering right now, determines a lot about your future. The way that you view the things that you're going through, determines a lot about what God can even do through you. The suffering that you're experiencing, the things that you're going through, they're developing a future glory, but we've got to put it through. The Jesus test is my processing of the suffering that I'm going through. God-centered or man-centered? The last and final thing that we see is the hope of the process. If you're going to trust the process, you've got to recognize there is a process to pain, and it's not the easiest to experience, but that God's voice can be a true north to you to walk you through the process all along the way.

And the beauty of his process is that you don't just stay suffering. You don't just stay suffering. You don't just stay in the challenge. In 24, as He continues on, it says, Jesus said to disciples, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of man is going to come in His Father's glory with his angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done. Jesus is describing here this concept. He's saying it's not all about suffering.

There's more to the story. There's hope He says, if you deny yourself if you become a disciple, you will find your life. And not just you'll find your life, but you will be able to hear, well done, good and faithful servant. When the Father comes back in His glory. There is an eternal perspective that Jesus has towards his suffering that gives us hope. It allows us to see the sufferings and the things that we're experiencing in our lives and recognize that you know what? This is not how it has to stay. Paul also recognized this and he describes in 2 Corinthians 4 verse 17, our Light and Momentary Troubles. Is that how you feel about your suffering? Not me, when I'm going through suffering, I don't view it like that. But He says, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So what do we do? 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. Paul describes this concept as it's just temporary suffering in comparison to the glory that's to come, the glory that you're about to receive.

It's just another just around the corner. You're going to see the miracle, just another miracle upon miracle that's going to be. Your life if you just wouldn't give up. I'm going to bring up right now Sabrina Davis and Rebecca Jerome if they would come up right now. And Sabrina is a mother and she's going to share a little bit about how god has called her to trust the process that god had in store for his life or for her life. And I want to give you Sabrina and Rebecca.

Hi. My name is Sabrina Davis. I've been a disciple for over 20 years. Many years ago, I got married. I was not with god at that time. In fact, I was deep into the world of sin. I conceived two children from this marriage. During this time, I suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of my former husband. This was not a healthy environment for my children. I gave my daughters up for adoption because I could not take care of them. It was the most painful decision I ever had to make. Fortunately, my daughters were adopted by their foster parents. I have always believed that my children would never want to meet me. They may have been thinking I threw them away. When I gave birth to my second daughter, she had to leave because my former husband was not mentally stable to be a parent. DSS took custody and eventually, she was adopted. When I see people looking happy with their kids, my heart ached. They had something I could not have. I wanted to search for my daughters, but I was afraid of rejection.

Their search for me went on for a number of years. Fortunately, they found me on Facebook. As you can imagine, I was in great shock. God, how can this be happening? I thought they were gone forever. God bless me. Even though I felt I did not deserve it, god gave me a second chance with my daughter.

Amen. What a great story. My name is Rebecca Jerome and I've been a disciple for 24 years. And I've known Sabrina for most of that time. And that's one thing she said to me once that she gave birth like she just shared with two kids that she gave up for adoption. And last year around July, I went to Zambia. I was serving with hope worldwide and it was great working. I mostly work with women and most of them were like single moms. And it was amazing to see their heart, how they sacrificed a lot of things for their kids because they don't want their kids to live the life they were living. They were hoping for a brighter future for their kids. And I really appreciate their hearts as mothers. But while I was there, someone kept reaching out to me on Facebook. They kept sending me messages and asking me if I know Sabrina Brown. And I remember replying and saying, I don't know any Sabrina Brown. And I don't know if you've been in that part of the world, but WiFi is not the best. Every time you get something you want to reach out to your family, want to make sure that they're okay, because I was there for two and a half weeks, and I replied to her, and I said, I don't know any Sabrina Brown.

And she would text me on messenger almost every day asking me, sorry, Brown was a married name. Her maiden name is Sabrina Davis. I'm like I know a Sabrina Davis. And she said to me, could you give her my number so that she can call me? I really want to connect with her. And while I was there, I told her, I'm out of the country right now, so when I get back to the states, I will give your message to Sabrina. So when I came back here, I called Sabrina and I told her, there's this woman who's been reaching out to me while I was in Zambia almost every day looking for you. She first had your name wrong because she knew you when you were married, but now she finally figured out that she needed your maiden name, Davis. And I gave her the number, and Sabrina decided to call her. And I found out later, Sabrina called me, and she said, actually, she's the woman who adopted my older daughter, and I had no idea. And when I look on Facebook, I'm sure I'm not the only connection that Sabrina has on Facebook that would be very lonely

for some reason, God put it on her heart to reach out to me, who happened to be the bible talk leader where Sabrina is, and we connected her to this woman and to see how God is really amazing and to see how God brought her daughter back to her life. And I remember conversations I had with Sabrina, how she would mention to me that, her kids are with good families. That says something about her heart as a mother, even though she didn't have the opportunity to be with them, to watch them grow, she was always comforted by the fact that they were with good families that would give them a loving environment and where they would feel supported and feel safe, it's amazing. Last time we had a bible talk outing and Sabrina brought pictures of her daughter, we all got to see her beautiful daughter and her grandkids and to see God is the God of second chances. And even though it was hard for Sabrina not to see her kids, but she trusted God's process. She didn't know what God was going to do with it.

She didn't know how she would be reunited with her kids. But god had a plan all along. And I feel so fortunate and so privileged to be part of that plan. And be able to be used by God so that she could be connected to her daughter. Thanks for letting me share.

Sabrina is a hero, and she almost didn't share. She was working on it and kind of going, I don't know if it's good, that was amazing. There's hope in the pain that we're experiencing. If you were to talk to her as she was making that decision, is there hope for reconnection? Is there hope for my kids? She'd be hard-pressed to believe what she's experiencing now and the ways that her daughters have ended up, the ways that she's able to connect with her grandchildren. There is hope in the process. No matter what you're going through, Jesus understood that you're going to experience suffering. It's going to mean that we're going to have to suffer. There's going to be pain, but we've got to get on the other side of it. Will you trust the process, Church? Will you trust the process that God has set before your life? Will you listen to his voice and rely on Him to be your true north of how to process your suffering versus all the other viewpoints in the world of how you should view the suffering that you're experiencing? But hear His voice, discern His voice of what He's saying to you, and allow you to experience this amazing hope, the hope that only comes through trusting the process. Amen.

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