We prefer to talk about the abundant life that God has for us. We enjoy the many blessings that we receive.
How do we respond when things don’t go as we would hope?
What do we do in the face of tragedy?
A. Do What is Right: Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
This is a good model for us. We should fear God and shun evil. We should seek to be blameless and upright. We know that we cannot be perfect, but we should seek to live as God wants us to live.
Just because we are serving God doesn’t mean that we are exempt from hardship. In a single day Job suffered the loss of all his great wealth and the tragic death of all ten of his children. It just doesn’t get any worse than that.
His response has become a classic line.
B. Response to Loss: Job 1:20-22
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
He mourned the loss and worshiped God. These words were uttered long ago, but they have been repeated by countless other believers who have suffered loss. If we turn to God, He is able to bring us comfort in times of tragedy.
Some might say, at least he still had his health. That was the next to go. He was stricken with painful boils that made him physically miserable.
C. Hold Fast: Job 2:9-10
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
In times of hardship. Hold fast to your integrity. Actually, hold fast to your faith in God which is the true source of integrity.
If we are facing the loss of material things or the deterioration of our health we can still trust that God is with us. He will help us through the difficult times. A better day is coming. If not in this life, then in the life to come.
II. Endure Hardship: II Timothy 2:3
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
I served in the United States Marine Corps. I have often said that that experience prepared me better for ministry than my years at Bible college.
A marine is not allowed to quit when the mission becomes difficult. It doesn’t matter if you are tired, hot, cold, hurt, or whatever.
Accomplish the mission!
Our devotion to God should be even more of a commitment than a marine’s commitment to his/her duty. After all, a marine is serving an earthly kingdom, while we serve a heavenly kingdom.
There have been many times when I have been tempted to leave the ministry. There are far easier ways to make a living. However, it is the desire of my heart to be faithful to my calling, to accomplish the mission that God has given to me.
It is appropriate to ask ourselves some questions when hardship comes our way.
Is this hardship the consequence of a bad decision, or mistake on my part? If that is the case, then learn from your mistakes.
Is God trying to get my attention? Have I been following the direction of God? God sometimes allows things to go badly for us so that we will get back on track.
If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, if we are serving God to the best of our ability, then we can recognize hardships as a test or trial of our faith. We should hold fast and press on.
III. Count it all Joy: James 1:2-4
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
God uses the tests and trials of this life to mold us into the people that we are called to be in Christ. We can rejoice in the knowledge that God is working in us. The difficulties that we face actually can strengthen our faith and help in our development as Christians.
In addition to the work that God is doing in us, God can use difficult experiences for His glory. How we handle bad experiences can sometimes be the very best testimony that we give to unbelievers.
We can also rejoice in the knowledge that even in bad times, God is with us. We can rejoice in the Lord. He loves us and will help us. His grace is sufficient for us. (II Corinthians 12:9)
So, when we are called upon to suffer hardship; hold fast to your faith, endure hardship, and count it all joy that God is working both in you and through you.
These are the sermon notes from 7/9/16. Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.