Summary: The Lord Almighty is present with His children in the midst of the darkest nights.
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
1. You never know for sure when troubles will arise, or where they come from.
2. This AP story broke this past week:
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A fire that did $20,000 in damages to a northeast Arkansas home wasn't caused by an electrical problem or burning food or arson, an insurance investigator concluded. Instead, the dead plants did it, according to a report summary provided to the homeowner, Brian Duncan. "The fire was caused by self-heating through decomposition of organic materials contained within a plastic flowerpot," the Aug. 25 letter… said. Or, in layman's terms, spontaneous combustion.
He said it was clear where the July 25 fire had begun, because the burning flowerpot and plants charred a hole in the porch and they fell to the ground several feet below…
Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze and Duncan's father-in-law was able to put it out with a garden hose even before firefighters from a nearby volunteer fire department arrived.
3. Life can be moving along nicely when it is ruined by a phone call, a visit, a letter, or an accident. For such times, we have God.
4. This past week, Steve Hawking's new book came out, claiming that God did not create the universe. Marx said religion was the opiate of the people, so now his followers have forsaken religion and take real opium or other drugs.
5. Both the Christian and the atheist have to face the uncertainties of life; one trusts in the Lord, the other in himself. Ultimately, we must all make that choice. And most of us here have probably decided that it is better to trust in the Lord than in man.
Main Idea: The Lord Almighty is present with His children in the midst of the darkest nights.
I. We Are Braced to Handle FEARS Because We Have God (1-3)
A. He helps us in our DESPERATION (1)
1. As a REFUGE
• Somewhere where we can run and hide.
• Deuteronomy 32:37a, "The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms…"
• We sing: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms"
• Ruth 2:12, "May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
• In the Psalms, the word "refuge" appears 44 times using 6 Hebrew synonyms. And that's just in Psalms, where the concept used most.
• All types of refuge, depending upon situation (rain, sun, raging sea, pursuing armies, emotional despair)
• How good are you at making God your refuge? Is he your first resort, or your last? Do you live life with him in mind, or is he in a box that says, "In case of emergency, break glass?"
2. As our STRENGTH
• Hebrews 4:16, " Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
• For most English-speaking people, the acronym ASAP means “As Soon As Possible” or immediately. But for the Christian it can also mean, “Always Say A Prayer.” [Daily Bread]
3. As a God At HAND
• He is not a pagan god who is limited in location or power.
B. In CHAOS, we have hope (2-3)
1. Mountains into the sea (2)
2. Roaring waters (3a)
3. Quaking mountains (3b)
4. These things seem immovable and immutable…
This doesn't mean that we do not feel the brunt of bad news, trials, or miseries. It means he helps us gain our composure. Judy Ackerman Link wrote:
After my doctor announced that I had cancer, I tried to listen to what he said, but I couldn’t. I went home, pulled a blanket over my head, and fell asleep on the couch, as if sleeping could change the diagnosis.
When I finally gained enough strength to tell my loved ones, my friend Judy Schreur said something especially memorable. After expressing her sympathy, she said, “This is what will happen. You will feel really bad for 3 days. Then you will get up, figure out what you have to do, and get on with your life.” Then she added, “I think it has to do with death, burial, and resurrection.”
At the time, I didn’t believe it. I was sure that life as I knew it was over. Nothing would ever be the same. I couldn’t imagine feeling normal again. But she was right. Three days later I woke up and realized I didn’t feel quite so bad. And little by little, despite the physical misery of chemotherapy treatments, my emotional and spiritual condition improved significantly. I “died” to my old reality and was “raised” to a new normal.