Sermon shared by Jeremy Houck
Summary: Our hope grows in times of distress
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Audience: General adults
5. VALLEYS ARE PURPOSEFUL
God has a reason for taking you through the valleys. Whether itís doubt, depression, despair, discouragement, defeat -- Heís got a reason behind it.
There are financial valleys, relational valleys, emotional valleys, and all kinds of different trials. This is no accident -- it happens to prove your faith
The valleys are not just a freak of nature. God wants to build your faith in the valleys of life. We love to enjoy the mountain tops, but you donít build faith on the mountain tops. You build faith in the valleys of life. When everything is going fine and great you donít really need God. But when you come face to face with a dark valley, you get on your knees. Faith is strengthened in the valleys. When you donít feel like serving and trusting God, praising God... thatís where your faith is tested. Not in the good times of life, but in the valleys.
Every problem has a purpose. Even the little tiny ones, the inconsequential ones, the things that seem like mere irritations. They have a purpose. God can teach you character. He wants to change you, mature you.
I want you to Listen to these old words from a book whose very title sounds relevant for our times. The book is Lamentations we will be reading the 3:18 Ė 20
"Gone is my glory, all that I had hoped for in the Lord. I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me."
It sure sounds like Jeremiah is going through a valley, But where is his hope? If the book of Lamentations ended at 3:20, all we could say is that at least someone, somewhere knew what it was like to live in a world unhinged. But the raw honesty of verses 18 - 20 is followed by these words of hope in verses 21 - 26
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lordís great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, íThe Lord is my portion; therefore I will hope in him.í The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
How can someone who so eloquently describes his struggle, pen words so equally full of confidence? The difference between unrecoverable despair and un-intimidated confidence in the future is hope. Before we talk about how he manages to find hope in his desperate situation, Let be absolutely sure that we know what hope is. And what it isnít.
First Hope, the kind the Bible talks about, is not optimism.
Donít get me wrong. I love optimists. They tend to live longer than pessimists, accomplish more and are just a lot more fun to be around. A pessimist can hardly wait for the future so he can look back with regret. Optimists can hardly wait for the future because they just know itís going to be better than today.
A student was seen pedaling a bicycle around his college campus. He was wearing a tee-shirt that read, "Studying to be a doctor." On the back of his bicycle was a tag that read, "Studying to be a Mercedes."
Optimists handle failure and frustration better than
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