Summary: Holding on to your faith in God in the face of Disappointments, Discouragement & Difficulties
Title (reaffirm / remind congregation through out) : FAITH IT OUT ’TIL YOU FIGURE IT OUT!
Theme: Holding on to your faith in God in the face of Disappointments, Discouragement & Difficulties (adversities)
We all get times of difficulties, discouragement & disappointments – maybe you have experienced these recently & have found yourself crying out for some relief, with the feeling that you ‘can’t take any more of it, like you’re at breaking point – at the end of your rope!??’
I believe that God wants to speak into each of your lives tonight & my prayer is that tonight you would be encouraged to ‘keep on keeping on!’ To be spurred on in your faith & catch some tenacity in your life that will cause you to hold on to God in spite of your circumstances! Be encouraged that in our weakness He will make us strong! Whatever you might be going through or are about to go through, know that God is there to help pull you through!
Key Scripture: “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner”
1 Peter 4v12-13 (MESSAGE)
When we get times of disappointments & difficulties we can choose to respond in 2 ways.
1.) We can allow these to discourage & demote you & at worst destroy you, OR
2.) You can allow these problems to prosper & promote you, propelling you further forward
E.g. When Lance Armstrong (a professional cyclist) was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer all at the same time; he chose to get back on his bike & ‘keep on keeping on.’ He went on from this to win 5 Tour de France’s in a row!!! An event which some consider to be the most gruelling athletic event in the world.
He didn’t allow himself to wallow in self pitty, or let his negative circumstances contain him; but he used his experience as LEVERAGE to make him even more determined to succeed & become an inspiration to other cancer victims. It became a DEFINING MOMENT (rather than a destroying moment) that propelled him on to achieve GREATNESS against all the odds!
Key Statement (for end): When we can’t figure it out, we have to faith it out!
All things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8v28
“He gives us beauty in exchange for our ashes.” Isaiah 61v3
Within months Fred Whiteman went through more pain than most of us do in a life time. Cancer claimed his best friend. Then his mum died and his wife was killed. Next, he underwent a heart transplant. And while he was still recovering he had to deal with cancer and a lawsuit. When Fred gets to heaven he can compare notes with Job!
(QEUSTION for reflection) How would you feel? (ask if anyone would like to answer)
So do you think this guy is bitter and angry? Holding a grudge, resentful, blaming God for his misfortunes? No, in fact he did what the Psalmist King David said
‘…when my heart is overwhelmed (grows faint - NIV): lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.’ Psalm 61v2 (KJV)
‘…down to my last gasp, I call out, "Guide me up High Rock Mountain!"’ (MESSAGE)
‘…I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety,’ (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)
When David was at the end of his rope, down to his last gasp, feeling down & struggling to cope with life - He cried out to God for direction, the One He acknowledged as being ‘higher’ than himself, above all his disappointments & troubles. The God who is above all other names!! The God who is above depression, discouragement, doubt, fear & loneliness. Above sickness, disease & the powers of death!
God desires to lead you to that same towering rock of safety! That place of security, protection & shelter.
When you are overwhelmed it is easy to ‘…jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job.’
We’ve all experienced times of weakness where we doubted if God was aware of our situation.
But when Fred shares his story with others, he encourages them to ‘faith it out till you figure it out!’ When we don’t understand what life brings our way, when we can’t answer the question ‘why’, God spurs us on to hold on to our faith…to keep our confidence & faith in Him…to trust & believe that God still on the throne!
“Dot not away your confidence, which has great reward!” Hebrews 10v35 (NKJV)