Summary: This sermon will help the people in your congregation who might be going through difficult times.

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Jeremiah 18:1-10

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2"Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words."

3Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.

4And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

5Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

6"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

7The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,

8if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

9And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,

10if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

When bad things happen to us, it's easy to get discouraged!

I've told this little story before, but it was a long time ago.

So I'll tell it again today.

It's about Chirpie the canary.

Chippie was a happy little bird.

He sat on his perch singing to his little heart's content.

One day Chirpie's owner started to clean out his cage.

She took the floor attachment off the vacuum cleaner

and stuck the hose in the cage to clean the bottom.

Just then the phone rang.

She turned to pick it up

and Chirpie got sucked up the hose!

The lady dropped the phone and turned off the vacuum cleaner.

She ripped open the bag and found Chirpie.

He was still alive, but totally in a daze.

The owner picked him up and ran to the bathroom sink.

She turned on the water full blast

and stuck Chirpie under the water.

Then she started to scrub the dirt off him.

Poor little Chirpie was soaking wet and shivering.

The lady grabbed her hair dryer

and blasted Chirpie with hot air.

A couple of days later,

the person who had originally called back

to find out why this lady had quickly hung up on her.

She was told what had happened to Chirpie.

So this caller asked how the bird was doing.

The owner said, "Well, instead of singing like he used to.

He just sits there on his perch."

There have been times in our lives when we felt like little Chippie.

Things seemed to be going well in our lives.

Then suddenly we are hit hard with something unexpected.

There are times when our lives seem broken and need to be fixed.

So where do we get them fixed?

Sometimes, we try our best to figure out how to fix it ourselves.

Most of the time, we are unable to fix it.

We ask questions like,

"If God is a good God, why am I going through such a hard time?"

It's hard to understand why pain, problems and suffering comes.

It can leave us bitter and cynical.

It is better to pray about things we don't understand

and then just turn them over to God.

If He wants us to understand them,

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