Summary: It's easy for some people to have a “pity party” & end up feeling so depressed about themselves & what is happening in their lives. Sometimes they even cry out, “Where is God? Why isn’t He doing something about this?” (PowerPoints available - #240)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request - #240.)
ILL. Some nursing home residents were sitting around discussing their aches & pains. One said, "My arms are so weak I can barely lift this cup of coffee." "Well, at least you can see your cup,” said another. “My cataracts are so bad that it’s hard for me even to see my cup.”
A third one chimed in, “What about arthritis? Mine’s so bad that I can’t even turn my head." "Well, my blood pressure pills make me very dizzy," added another. "I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old."
There seemed to be general agreement with that gloomy assessment until one woman spoke up. "Wait a minute. It’s not that bad," she said. "At least we can all still drive!"
A. Well, I’m not sure about that story, but I do know that it’s easy for some people to have a “pity party” & end up feeling so depressed about themselves & what is happening in their lives. Sometimes they even cry out, “Where is God? Why isn’t He doing something about this? Does He even care about me?”
I think that is a relevant question to consider: “Does God care about us? Does He really care?”
One striking passage in the O.T. concerning this is Isaiah 63:7-9, "I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according to His compassion & many kindnesses.
"He said, ‘Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me’; & so He became their Savior. In all their distress He too was distressed, & the angel of His presence saved them.
“In His love & mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up & carried them all the days of old." (Isaiah 63:7 9)
Now that's a remarkable passage. And perhaps the key words we need to notice are in Vs. 9 where it says, "In all their distress He too was distressed…"
Didn’t God say almost the same thing when He spoke to Moses at the burning bush? "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them. . ." (Exodus 3:7-8). And He told Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”
B. Over & over the Bible proclaims that God loves us & cares for us. We see that in the birth of Jesus. Notice that God did not send His Son to be born into a royal family to enjoy the very best this world has to offer.
Instead, He chose to experience what it is like to be poor, to spend long hours working under a hot sun, to have calluses on His hands & sore, aching muscles.
He knows what it is like to be a part of a despised race, to be arrested & tried for crimes He did not commit. And hanging there on the cross in our place, He experienced pain such as you & I have never experienced.
ILL. Years ago, a group of missionaries had an audience with Mahatma Gandhi to explain their work in India. As the meeting drew to a close, Gandhi asked them to sing one of their favorite Christian hymns. They asked, "What hymn shall we sing?" Gandhi answered, "Sing the hymn that best expresses what you believe."
So they sang this one, "When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, & pour contempt on all my pride."
They chose well, for that hymn, maybe more than many others, expresses what we believe - that on the cross, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Glory, died for us.
And because of that it is a wondrous cross, & we sing about it because God's love transformed it into a symbol of victory over sin & death.
PROP. With that in mind, let’s look at Jesus & the cross & realize that when bad things happen to us, God suffers too!
I. LOVE & SUFFERING OFTEN GO HAND IN HAND
At times we may hear people saying things like this, "God must not love me or I wouldn't be going through all this. If God really loved me, He wouldn't let me suffer like this."
But then we look at the cross & see that love & suffering often go together.
ILL. If you love your husband or your wife, you'll suffer together through many of life’s experiences. If you bring children into the world, you'll suffer with them, too.