Summary: #5 in the series from Tony Evan’s book, Dry Bones Dancing.
ARE YOU ENDURING?
You’ve heard the words and have probably even said them yourself: “God will never give us more than we can bear.” But have you ever sensed that this statement just wasn’t true?
-Now, it is true in a certain way. I Corinthians 10:13
-When you fall into sin, it’s never because the temptation was unbearable, but because you chose not to take the way of escape God provided.
-But, when it comes to life’s difficulties and burdens, the occasions will indeed come when God puts more on you than you can bear. He wants to bring you to brokenness, to bring you to the end of your own resources, so you’ll say “I can’t.”
-Then God has you where He wants you. He breaks us and this is good.
-Philippians 3:10, Paul said he wanted to share in the sufferings of Christ. It’s through the pain in your life that God takes you deeper in your relationship with Him.
-I Peter 4:12-13. If you want to see and enjoy His glory, you must first share in His sufferings. Those sufferings will help us recognize our weakness and our insufficiency so we can learn to endure them with His strength instead of our own.
-By His strength, we can endure.
-So my next question is this: Are you doing it? Are you enduring, even when you face more than you can bear?
Let’s look at our text. Psalm 42. (All verses)
First of all, there’s dryness there. V.1-2. This man recognizes his dryness and seeks the refreshment only God provides. Look at v. 10 “the breaking of my bones.” His dryness is deep and it hurts.
-V. 5 His soul is cast down and disquieted within. He feels abandoned by God. V.9
-This man finds himself in trouble and despair. If you’ve been saved for any length of time, you’ve had the experience of feeling real close to God and you’ve also had the experience of wondering if God was on vacation in your time of need.
-What do you do when God is nowhere to be found?
-The psalmist relates his desperate search for God to a deer’s desperate search for water.
-Life has done a number on this man and he is in hot pursuit of God.
-He is suffering emotionally. V.3 he’s crying and can’t eat. He’s in a state of despair.
-He is struggling spiritually because he feels that God is nowhere to be found. (V.2b)
-It’s really tough to be emotionally and spiritually in despair and not know where God is.
Look at v.4. It wasn’t always like this. He remembers better days. Back then, he came to God joyfully. Now he comes with tears. Others notice this about him as well. V.3
-He is also struggling physically. We noticed earlier v.10. When you struggle emotionally and spiritually, it can bring you down physically.
-He is also struggling relationally because he is surrounded by those who are adding to his grief. v.10
--We learn a lot from this text. Life is not always sweet. The Christian life on this earth is not all joy and bliss. That’s heaven.
-This man is struggling with real questions, primarily, :Where is God?”
A Higher Reality
-But the man in Psalm 42 is doing more than recognizing honestly the reality around him. He’s also persevering in the honest pursuit of true spiritually, which is the higher reality.
-Look at verse 1 again. What is it that he is panting for? It’s not blessings or gifts.
-He is seeking after God Himself.
-Could it be that God wants you to be hungering and thirsting more for Him and less for a solution to your problems.
-Unwanted circumstances bring us despair, and we want a change right now, when maybe all God is offering us is Himself.
-If God isn’t answering your prayer about your situation, maybe you should change the focus of your prayer. Focus on pursuing God only.
Choosing to Remember
-Look at verse 6. In the middle of his desperation, by perseverance and endurance, he chooses to remember God.
-That’s why it’s important to have a history with God in the good times so you don’t forget Him in the bad times.
-Living in the past isn’t always good, but when it comes to remembering God’s blessings when you’re going through hard times, it is good.
-Verse 11 tells us this deliberately directs his mind toward what God has done for him.
-It’s been said that the value of your Christian faith are like a tea bag. You only see how strong it is when it’s placed in hot water. It’s easy to love God when all is well, but the proof of your love is when all is not well.