Summary: Mother’s Day message.
TEXT: Isaiah 49:14-16
TITLE: More Than Mom
TOPIC: Mother’s Day, The Love of God
TIME: 11 A.M. on May 11, 2003
14 But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me."
15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me."
Despondency is often the result of multiple adversities. When trial falls upon weary trial and when the soul is buffeted by storm after storm, sadness and despair can set it, take root and thrive.
Any one of Job’s afflictions would be enough to cast most people into deep depression, but in less than 24 hours Job experienced four major tragedies.
1. Sabean rustlers stole his 500 yoke of oxen, his 500 female donkeys and killed his servants who were keeping them.
2. Fire fell on and consumed his 7,000 sheep and the shepherds that were watching them.
3. The Chaldeans stole his 3,000 camels and killed the servants that were caring for them.
4. His seven sons and three daughters were killed by a tornado.
In addition to this, Job’s health went downhill and his friends attributed all his misfortune to some sin in his life. (See Job1:13-19.)
Scripture tells us that Job did not sin or blame God (1:22), but it does tell us that he cursed the day of his birth.
Despondency can be the result of severe adversity. One of the final seven sayings of Christ on the cross was, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." In his second epistle to the Church at Corinth, Paul declared that the severity of his adversity caused him to despair "even of life" (2Cor. 1:8). Extreme adversity can cause us to feel cut off from God and others. It can produce feelings of dejection and isolation, and rob us of courage and hope.
Despondency can be the result of long term adversity. Even the best of us tend to despair when a momentary difficulty turns into long term ordeal. While sailing to Rome, Paul and his shipmates come under the howling winds of a severe northeaster. According to Luke’s account, when "neither sun nor stars appeared for many days…all hope of surviving was gradually abandoned" (Acts 27:20).
Even the most committed optimist can be worn down by a long term ordeal.
The days of Israel’s captivity in Babylon had turned into months and the months into years. They were in a place they did not want be in. They were like a groom whose loving bride died during the honeymoon. As they looked into the future they saw nothing but sunless days and starless nights. There was no deliverer on the horizon. Hope of returning to their homeland was all but gone. The fountain of comfort was sealed by their hopelessness and they were caught in the grip of despondency. These people declared, "The Lord has forsaken me…the Lord has forgotten me."
How often we limit Omnipotence and set boundaries on the Eternal by defining Him through our circumstances or because we view Him from afar.
ILLUS: Seven year old Bobby was telling his dad about his visit to New York City.
"Well, Bobby," his dad asked, "Did you get to see the Empire State Building?"
"Yes sir," replied Bobby."
"How tall is it" asked the father.
"From where I was standing it wasn’t any taller than my pointin’ finger."
According to Bobby, the Empire State Building was small enough to fit in the span between his thumb and his pointing finger.
From a distance large things can seem a lot smaller than really they are and small things held close can appear to be a lot bigger than they actually are.
ILLUS: The sun’s diameter is about 100 times that of the earth and it would take about one-million earths to fill up the inside of our sun. A penny is about ¾’s of an inch in diameter, but if placed close enough to the eye it can eclipse the sun.
From a distance God seems small and the problems that we face appear much larger than they are.
ILLUS: Upon returning from their forty day excursion into the land of Canaan the spies gave this report, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us…we became like grasshoppers in our own sight…" (Nu. 13:31, 33).
ILLUS: When faced with the task of feeding more than 5,000 men, women and children with five barley loaves and two fish, Peter asked, "What are these for so many people" (John 6:9).
Hopelessness and despondency are inevitable when we allow our problems to eclipse God.