Faith in Good Times and Bad Times
Scripture: Job 1:7-12; Luke 10:1-3; 17-20
In the traditional marriage vows, we make the commitment that we will stay with our spouse in good times and bad, sickness and health and for richer or poorer. In other words we are to remain with the person that we choose for the rest of our lives. What a commitment, what a testament of our faith in the relationship and the person we have chosen as a life long partner. Now we all know that there are times when some lose faith in the relationship and decide to leave it, but the words we say in the original ceremony says we will stay “until death do us part”. That is a commitment not based on circumstances, but on the knowledge that you have chosen this person and you will honor your vow to them.
In our relationship with God, we sometimes go through the same circles of life as we do in our natural life. It is easy to serve God when things are going your way and you are on top of the world. When you have no troubles, when you have you issues that you are dealing with, it is easy to serve God. When others are having trials and tribulations, it is easy to say to them “just have faith – God will bring you through”, but when it is you, sometimes those words that you speak for others do not bring comfort to you. All of us go through times when we wonder, when our faith may falter and that is to be expected. But, it is also the expectation that you will rise up, or get up if you have truly fallen down. This morning I want to encourage you to remain faithful in good times and bad. Do not let the circumstances of life dictate your faith in God. Turn with me to Luke 10th chapter. Here we see Jesus is getting ready to send out the seventy in pairs. Look at what He tells them in verses 2 and 3, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go, behold I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” When Jesus sent them out, he gave them authority to do the work that He had called them to do. They were excited about going out at His command. Can you imagine walking into a place or city and telling the inhabitants that you were there because the Lord sent you? This group of seventy had this opportunity – they stepped out on the word that Jesus had given them. Now notice their attitudes when they return. Luke 1:17 says, “The seventy returned with joy, saying ‘Lord even the demons are subject to us in your name.” Imagine what the room was like – there was excitement. Each pair had a testimony about what they were able to do in Jesus name. One thing that you should remember is that these were everyday men with no great position in society. This could have been the first time that most of them walked with this type of authority so it would be natural for them to be happy – and they were happy. Can you remember what it was like when you first started learning the Bible, how it opened up your eyes, how you begin to see things that you never saw before? Remember the hunger and excitement that you had for the next time you would get the opportunity to look up something else and apply it to your life. You found yourself feeling more confident, knowing that you had the resources within you to handle yourself and what came up in your life. You knew that you knew and that was the starting point of a change in your life. That is what these individuals were feeling – they were excited at learning the Word and stepping out on the Word. This was easy for them because Jesus was with them – He was alive, He taught them, He held them up when they felt they were falling – He was their anchor. So during this part of their ministry – there was much joy and faith in Jesus and therefore in God. In the good times your faith is high – you feel like you can do all things. Everything is clicking like a well-oiled machine and you are operating in the spirit. All is well until you personally come under an attack from every angle possible. For these Disciples of Christ it was when they took Him. Remember