Summary: God is working through everything that happens in the lives of those who love Him to help us become more like Jesus.
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend…. [NIV: Wounds from a friend can be trusted….]
Romans 8:28-29 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Intro: Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their 2-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa – to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and soon the 4 of them felt led by the Lord to move out of the central mission station and take the gospel to one of the more remote areas of the Congo.
-At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. So the two couples decided to go half a mile away and build their own huts.
-They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week.
-Svea Flood – a tiny woman only 4 feet, 8 inches tall – decided that if this boy was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead him to Jesus. And in fact, over a period of time she succeeded.
-But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of their little group after another. In time the Erickson’s decided they had had enough suffering and left for the relative security of the central mission station.
-Then, in the middle of this primitive wilderness, Svea found herself pregnant. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.
-The delivery, however, was difficult, and Svea was already weak from malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another 17 days
-Inside David Flood, something snapped. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, and then took his children back to the central mission station.
-Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he left, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.
-Sometimes tragic things happen, even in the lives of those who are doing their best to walk close to God. Bad things do happen to good people. I have to admit that I am still processing this theme. Is God behind everything that happens in this world, or does He just let things happen and then picks up the pieces afterward? Could it be a little of both? I sense that it is not binary in nature, but there is one thing I am sure of: God can be trusted no matter what! Job 5:17-18 17 "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.
-We have trouble with the idea that God might actually be behind some of the pain we face. Isn’t life hard enough? Yet the Bible does not guarantee pain-free living. Rather, it urges faithful people to embrace suffering as part of the package. There will be tragedies and brokenness. Whether God is behind them or not, I don’t know, but He is fully present in our situation, transforming us into the image of His Son.
-No matter how difficult life can become, we know that "… in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
-His purpose is in v.29. It says, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…"
-Do you realize what that means? It means that God is working through everything that happens in the lives of those who love Him to help us become more like Jesus. And no matter what the problem or heartache may be, if we love Him, and if we let Him, even the problems and wounds we face in life can be an important part of this process.
Prop: God uses today’s pain for tomorrow’s glory. I’d like to look at 3 benefits that come into our lives through our problems. And as we see how God has used problems in the past to bring about great blessings, it will help us in the problems we face today.