6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: When going through turbulent times and adversity we need to hear the words of the Lord, “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Be An Overcomer in Uncertain Times

Isaiah 43:1-3

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, The Holy One of Israel, Your Savior…” Isaiah 43:2-3

All of us have faced uncertain and turbulent times in our lives.

When flying from New York to Wichita, Kansas I experienced a time of uncertainty. I flew out on Saturday and was scheduled to arrive in Wichita that evening. I was going to speak in the McPherson FMC Sunday morning in both services.

My flight was radically interrupted when all at once I heard a loud bang and the plane slowed down with jerky motions. After a few second the pilot announced that one of the four engines had quit, but the good news was we still had three good engines. That brought on a sigh of relief for all on board the plane.

We continued to fly for a few minutes and then another big bang. Again the plane shuttered and after a few minutes the pilot came on again and announced, “We lost another engine so we’re going to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh.” I was happy I was flying in a wide body airplane with 4 engines.

When we landed in Pittsburgh the runway was lined with emergency vehicles and all went well.

My problem was that there were no connecting flights to Wichita, KS from Pittsburgh that day. I did book on an early flight that would get me to Wichita Sunday morning. I called the pastor and told him of my predicament and he arranged to take the first service and had one of the members fly his plane to Wichita to meet me at the airport ant I made it to the church in McPherson at 11:15 just in time to walk on and preach to the congregation and on the radio.

The uncertain times we face are not nearly as critical as people in others parts of the world.

Several years ago a story came out of Africa about a 56 year-old woman who faced adversity that most of us could barely imagine. Her nation was going through a severe famine. She managed to get a coupon from World Vision for a bag of rice. She could walk from her village to the city and trade the coupon for a bag of rice that would help her stay alive for 30 days until she cold get another coupon.

The woman made it to the city and stood in life for most of the day and finally got her bag of rice. On her way back home she laid down her bag of rice at the edge of the city for just a moment and looked away for only a moment. When she turned back her bag of rice was gone, stolen. At that instant she realized that for the net thirty days she would face stomach-gnawing hunger and potential starvation. The woman was all-alone. She had lost her husband and children in a previous famine.

When going through turbulent times and adversity we need to hear the words of the Lord, “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:2) Jesus also has encouraging words: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus wants to give us His power to be overcomers in times of uncertainty and adversity.

In times of uncertainty

I. Remember the Power and Provision of God

When we reflect on the economic condition of America we know this for certain, we don’t know anything for certain. One person’s guess about the future is about a good as the next persons. We need Godly men of wisdom like the men of Issachar mentioned in I Chronicles 12:32, “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do – 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.”

The story is told about Indians on a remote reservation in the autumn time asking their chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. He was a new Indian chief and had not been taught the old secrets of forecasting the weather. He looked at the sky, but didn’t have a clue as to what kind of winter they were going to have so to be on the safe side he gave a forecast that a cold winter was coming. They should collect wood and be prepared. But also being a practical leader, after several days he went to a phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, “is the coming winter going to be cold?” “It looks like the winter is going to be quite cold,” the meteorologist at the weather service responded. The new chief told his people to collect even more wood.

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