Summary: God has a purpose for us in both good times and bad.
INTRO.- ILL.- One man said, “After finishing an out-of-town errand, I discovered that my car wouldn’t start because it was out of gas. A passer-by told me there was a service station a half-mile away, so I took a gas can from the trunk and trudged the distance in the sweltering sun.
“The attendant filled my two-gallon can, and I lugged it back and poured the gas into the tank. But when I tried to unlock the car door, it wouldn’t open. Just then, I noticed an identical old car parked a short distance away. That was my car; I had filled a stranger’s gas tank.
“Wearily I walked back to the station. ‘You know,’ the attendant suggested helpfully, ‘instead of walking back and forth to fill the tank from the can, you could put a couple of gallons in the tank and then drive the car here.’”
That guy was having a bad day. It’s what some would call a “Murphy’s law” day. Murphy’s law says that if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Murphy didn’t invent bad luck or bad days, however. They started long before Murphy came into this world. For example, the apostle Paul experienced plenty of bad days.
Phil. 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
The apostle Paul knew about both the good and the bad side of life. He knew about being in need and that’s bad. He also knew about having plenty and that’s good.
I have known of some people to have little food or no food at all for certain meals, but I admit that I have never went to bed hungry. For the most part, I’ve had three square meals a day all my life. I know I am blessed in that way, but some people are not. To do without some of the necessities of life is bad.
II Cor. 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Paul was down, but he was not out. He was beaten, but he was also blessed. He experienced persecution in following Christ, but also the sweet fellowship of other Christians. He experienced both the good and bad in life. We all do, but some people, unfortunately, experience more than their share of the bad.
ILL.- Lawrence Hanratty was, at the time the newspaper article was written, a 38 year-old resident of Mt. Vernon, New York. He was described in the article as being the unluckiest man in New York. First, Hanratty was nearly electrocuted in a construction accident that put him into a coma for weeks. He recovered from the coma only to have to hire a law firm to fight for his liability claims. But one of his lawyers was disbarred; two of the others died and his wife ran off with her own lawyer.
Still, Hanratty’s problems were not over. He came down with heart and liver disease that required him to be on oxygen continuously and he had to take 42 pills a day to survive.
Then Hanratty was involved in a car wreck. The police responded to the call for help and investigated the accident. But when the police left, a thief came along and robbed him.
When the article was written in 1995, Hanratty’s insurance company had notified him that they were going to cut off his workman’s comp benefits and his landlord told him that he was being evicted. Wow! Sound bad? It was bad. May God have mercy on all the Hanratty’s of the world!
PROP.- In this message I want us to consider God’s purpose in both the good and the bad.
1- God’s purpose in our disappointments
2- God’s purpose in our success
I. GOD’S PURPOSE IN OUR DISAPPOINTMENTS
Job 6:19-20 CEV “Caravans from Tema and Sheba thought they would find water. But they were disappointed.”
Those caravans of people came looking for water, but found none and were disappointed. Probably greatly disappointed. Why? Because water is a necessity for life! People can’t live without water! And back during that time I suspect water was quite scarce. It wasn’t like it is here in America. Sometimes we don’t realize how good we have it, even when things are bad.
Many times in life we are disappointed. We are looking for certain things or for certain things to happen and they don’t always pan out.
ILL.- One man said to another, “What’s going on?” The second man replied, “Oh, I’m just going around looking for the next disappointment.” For many people, life has become one great big disappointment.