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Summary: How do we deal with struggle and suffering? What is the Biblical perspective on knowing if God cares as we walk through life?

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Struggle:

a biblical perspective to Maturity in Christ

Matthew 8: 23 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" 26 He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

Mark 1: 32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" 38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Life is full of struggle… suffering…

It is simply a part of life. But struggle is not always a bad thing… in fact it is the pressure of life that shows the true nature of what is inside each of us…

When the pressure of life comes… what comes out?

Anger? Frustration? Choice words? And in that moment where do you turn? Food… release… escape…

In the area of suffering our world doesn’t make sense… it does when the person playing with fire gets burned… or the terrorist is killed from his own bomb, or the wreckless driver gets in an accident… but what about the innocent ones… the young man hit by the drunk driver who now has brain damage, the innocent killed from the terrorists bomb… the 2 year old with lukemia… how do we deal with these inconsistencies…

This morning I wanted to talk about our ability to correctly view struggle, suffering… for without that focus we will be unable to remain driven by eternity. We will be sidetracked with pain, hurt, and confusion because we think God is indifferent.

Things to remember when dealing with struggle:

1. God is not indifferent: God is concerned about what is happening TO us, but He is more concerned what is happening IN us.

24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" 26 He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?"

It’s like Jesus is asking… guys common – where is your faith? Why are you reacting this way… and in that moment maybe the guys think he is indifferent to their circumstance… He isn’t – but He is concerned with what is going on inside of them… Sometime we think God is indifferent or not there at all because of the hurt and hate in the world…

We have a tendancy to Misread God’s Signals

"We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our hopes and conveniences. When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek His perspective, but to ask Him to deflect the trouble."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Arthur Matthews was serving as a missionary in China when the Communists took control. He spent years in house arrest with his wife and daughter, and his writings show what it’s like to embrace the plan and purposes of God in suffering.

"An escapist generation reads security, prosperity, and physical well-being as evidences of God’s blessing. When He puts suffering and affliction into our hands, we misread His signals and misinterpret His intentions."

Nancy: The next time you face a trial, don’t resent, resist, or run from the cross—instead, embrace it and trust in the heart of the One who died for you.

DON’T MISS THE POINT OF JESUS: remember… God is not indifferent: God is concerned about what is happening TO us, but He is more concerned what is happening IN us.

In the first chapter of Mark… we find Jesus healing people —the diseased, the paralyzed—and hordes, crowds, were rushing to Him.

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