OPINION: Faith for the times

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By Mark Bobo

Jackson Advocate Guest Writer

I was blessed to be raised around my grandparents. They were both TV aficionados. My grandmother, in particular, was really into a show called “Dragnet”. The show was a cop franchise that began on the radio in 1949 and spawned two hit television series from 1951–59 and 1967–70. “Dragnet” creator Jack Webb, who also portrayed the hero of the show, the stern Sgt. Joe Friday, is forever associated with the line, “Just the facts, ma’am.” That phrase always stood out, even to this day. When one is not interested in flattery or conjecture, we simply need to know the facts. 

Our world today forces us to face some unfortunate facts. We can pick our phones, and often be reminded of the truly sad state of affairs. 6% inflation. Gun violence in our communities, over 300 mass shootings in 2023 alone. COVID related deaths estimated in the millions worldwide. It has been a long season in this pre and post pandemic, instability in our society, government, and in our communities. A bit closer to home – we have lost loved ones, families going through financial crises, children living in fear at school. Just the facts. If we are honest, at times the facts have made us waver in our faith. The facts have made the times seem hopeless. Why have faith when I am faced with such discouraging facts?

Despite the facts, we must keep our faith in God. Each time we are faced with a challenge, circumstance, or situation – it is an opportunity to exercise our faith in God. As the writer of Hebrews intimates, faith is the substance (core, staple, force) that supplies our hope. And it (faith) is enough proof to sustain our belief in those things that we cannot see with our natural eye. 

Oswald Chambers, a Baptist evangelist of the early church, expressed, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” All the time, and during these particular times, faith in God is critical. Let me also offer – Faith is not faith UNTIL it is tested. Faith without works is dead (without power and manifestation). Faith must be active and tested. Faith does not sit on the sidelines, rather it is actively engaged with what God has said, and produces actions that align with what God has said. 

Even as we celebrated Women’s History Month, we were able to celebrate the several matriarchs that have persevered through faith for the times. Whether we think of women on the worldwide stage or like Oprah Winfrey or those who stand strong in our families like my mom, Marseena Bobo (or put your mother’s name in there), women of God worldwide have been beacons of faithfulness, despite what attempted to hinder the work of God in and through their lives. 

As Gugu Mona so eloquently states, “A woman of faith does not care about the naysayers. She understands that God has the final say.” It is that level of faith that allows each of us to persevere in these times. Our God has the final say!

In Matthew 24, Jesus makes a dire prediction about the destruction of the temple. Immediately after this, while seated on the Mount of Olives, Jesus responds to a question from the disciples. They ask when judgment will come. Christ describes a season of unimaginable world turmoil and persecution. He points to a specific moment of defilement of the temple, at which point people should run for their lives. Jesus confirms that he that endures (faith in action) shall be blessed (“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” –James 1:12). We are instructed to endure – suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently; remain in existence; last. Our endurance and steadfast commitment to God’s ways and plans is required today. This is not the time for us to compromise, carelessness or non-concern. We must keep our faith in God, and continue in the way. We are to be faithful unto death…

So I implore you, my sisters and brothers, be ever faithful in these times. Though we face chaos, contempt and confusion, our faith in God shall empower us to meet the challenges of today. I encourage you to keep your conversation full of the hope that is in Christ Jesus, who is yet the author and finisher of our faith. Keep your mind on the one that is yet able to keep you from falling. Let your actions align with the divine will of God, as detailed by his Word and be led by the Holy Spirit through faith. We are yet in God’s hands and He has never failed us! Just as Jesus said to Peter, He reassures us today – “I have prayed for thee that your faith fail thee not.”

God bless you!

Mark Bobo (Columbus, OH) is a minister, educator, motivational speaker, and organizational strategist whose focus is on helping leaders improve their capacity and efficacy, and demonstrating how leadership is cultured in a positive and constructive manner. He serves as principal/founder of D.R.E.A.M.M. Like Joseph, a non-profit organization focused on transformational leadership and cultural impact. 

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OPINION: Faith for the times

By Jackson Advocate News Service
April 10, 2023