You Won’t Be Burned

In the sermon-based Bible study from this past weekend, Melody included this question:

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “How did I get myself into this?” Share your experience.

The text was Luke 14:28-33, in which Jesus invites us to “count the cost.” As I pondered the question, a moment came to mind. I was sitting in a meeting room in Austin. With me were a few other people, all older than I. We were all beginning a Doctor of Ministry degree program. At the time, Ashley was pregnant with our first child, Caleb. This was August; he was due in September.

I thought to myself, “What am I doing here?” I didn’t really second-guess my decision to pursue the degree. I had weighed the options and felt that this was a good move for my professional growth. But still the feeling was there. I was about to become a new father, my wife was in another city, and I was embarked on a challenging new adventure.

Fast forward five years later. I graduated. Family was there with me, including our three children who were born at the time. It was one of the highlights of my life. And God provided all the way. Ashley was super supportive; we have great memories of meeting up halfway between San Antonio and Austin for dinner, or doing FaceTime with baby Caleb. This was when FaceTime was new (at least, to us).

God provided. In those “How did I get myself into this?” moments, I hope you’ll remember that truth. God will walk with you all the way.

God promises to preserve His people through all kinds of experiences. One such promise is found in Isaiah 43:1-3. This was Margaret Bryan’s favorite Bible passage. Margaret and I had a special relationship. I had the privilege of taking Communion to her as one of our homebound members. At each visit, she asked me to read the Bible to her, and she always requested Isaiah 43 as one of the readings.

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.'”

Despite my early trepidation, my experience pursing a doctorate turned out to be joyful. However, there are those times when we ask ourselves, “How did I get myself into this?” and it feels like we’re walking through fire. Be assured, the Lord walks with you, and you will not be burned.

Published by Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

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