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The title of the sermon: “Not Abandoned”.

Occasion sermon: This sermon was on Sunday morning 4th, November, 2018 in Garf Sarhan congregation. It was following ISIS attack on Egyptians Christian’s bus near Saint Samuel monastery in Minya which far away 60 km from my congregation. It was a difficult time for all Christians and Egyptians, many people were depressed and wondered where God from this?

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7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you…16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 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. 2 Corinthians 4: 7-12, 16-18 (NIV Version)

The past days have been very difficult for all of us, because of our brothers who have lost their lives. I know we have a lot of questions about what happened? And how does God allow this? Sometimes we feel depressed and sad, no one can ignore these negative emotions that we feel right now. Do the believers become depressed? Sometimes we consider depression to be a lack of faith, but in the scripture, we have read, the Apostle Paul tells us that the believers also sometimes feel depressed, distressed, and despair. Yes, it is possible to get through in all these feelings, but we have confidence that we are not abandoned from God, and even if we have doubts about what happening, we do not lose our trust and hope in God.

Why sometimes we feel depressed? We are sometimes depressed because the stresses and difficulties of life are many. We feel depressed when fear and sorrows control our live and shake our trust in God. Sometimes we give up to failure, and to the negative emotions. But did you know that you are not alone who felt these feelings?

The Bible teaches us even men of God faced such these feelings and circumstances. Moses felt a great burden on him during his leadership of the people of Israel when they complained to him. Moses asked God to take Himself “If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me” Numbers 11: 15. Elijah asked the same request from God, when he was afraid from Jezebel and ran for his life “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19: 4. Even the Apostle Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:8 that he experienced troubles in Asia which he described it that they were under great pressure, far beyond their ability to endure, so that they despaired of life itself, and with all these, God did not abandon them. Yes, they felt they had lost their strength. Yes, they felt that God didn’t care about them. Yes, they felt depressed. Yes, they felt knocked down. But in the end God did not abandon them, God treated with their feelings and their human weakness. He made them experienced His power in their clay jars. Their negative feelings turned to more trust in God. So, we are not afraid, because we have the confidence that we are in God’s hands not abandoned.

What more encouraged that our lord Jesus Christ himself experienced such these feelings, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” Isaiah 53:3. Jesus Christ experienced all the feelings of sadness and depression where we also get through, Jesus in Gethsemane felt sorrow and troubled, he said to his disciples that “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. Jesus experienced the worst feelings of sadness and depression for what he was about to pass. God himself experienced the same feelings of distress and depression which we feel right now. But we find him subject to the will of the Father, patiently bear the passion and the death of the cross, because he had confidence on the Father, despite the existence of depression and of sadness.

My Brothers, all we need is to make sure we have faith and trust in God, even if evil and darkness are around us. Yes, we acknowledge our negative feelings in front of God, we admit that we are depressed and confused, but we know that we are not abandoned. Because who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us, this is his promise, he will not give up on us, we hold on this hope. So, no matter circumstances surrounding us, we do not lose heart, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Yes, Lord, we trust you, our hope in you and our faith in you, Amen.

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