Summary: God has a purpose for our up and down lives.
INTRO.- ILL.- A 73-year-old woman in England was giving a traffic ticket for driving south on a northbound lane of a highway. She remarked to the officer: “I thought something was wrong. The traffic seemed to be coming the wrong way.”
Brothers and sisters, it seems like the traffic is often coming the wrong way in life. We may find ourselves going the wrong way on a one-way street. IS THAT HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
Or it may be that about the time we think that things are going in the right direction something happens to turn things in the wrong direction. Life is full turnarounds, ups and downs, highs and lows, mountains and valleys.
ILL.- Elaine and I enjoy watching the Fox TV show “American Idol.” Each week the contestants sing and then the American people vote on them. This last Thursday night there was a big upset according to most people. There were three very talented black girls on that show whom most people considered to be the best of the lot: Fantasia Barrino, La Toya London and Jennifer Hudson. But Jennifer Hudson got voted out of the competition. Now there is a big uproar with some people thinking that the public voting was somehow “fixed.”
The host of the show, Ryan Seacrest, said, “America, don’t forget you have to vote for the talent. You have to keep your favorites in the competition. You cannot let talent like this slip through the cracks.”
All I know is this: We win some and we lose some. Sometimes things seem to go in the right direction and sometimes they don’t. Life is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, etc.
ILL.- Someone else put it this way: “About the time we think we have everything in the bag, the bag bursts.”
ILL.- It may be like the businessman who had a tiring day on the road. He checked into a hotel and because he was concerned that the dining room might close soon, left his luggage at the front desk and went immediately to eat.
After a leisurely dinner, he reclaimed his luggage and realized that he had forgotten his room number. He went back to the desk and told the clerk on duty, "My name is Henry Davis, could you please tell me what room I am in?" "Certainly," said the clerk. "You’re in the lobby."
That man didn’t do anything wrong, but things didn’t work out for him. He lost his room. He thought everything was going in the right direction, but it turned out differently.
All of us experience ups and downs in life. The rich and poor, the famous and the infamous, the Christian and non-Christian.
But I thought Jesus came that we might have the abundant life? Or perhaps the better life? John 10:10.
I think this is true but, but better does not mean that we will not experience some bitter moments in life. We all do, because God is not a respecter of persons and this world is not a perfect place. We would like for it to be a perfect place where everything goes well for us, but it isn’t.
II Cor. 1:8-10 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.”
Life got so bad for the apostle Paul at times that he wondered if he was even going to continue to live. He experienced serious setbacks and difficulties in life, but at the same time he always relied on the Lord for protection, direction and deliverance. And this what we too must do!
Life is so full of ups and downs. It is only by the grace of God that we live and survive as well as we do. What is God’s purpose in our ups and downs in life?
PROP.- Let’s consider God’s purpose in our ups and downs.
1- God’s purpose in our suffering
2- God’s purpose in our failures
I. GOD’S PURPOSE IN OUR SUFFERING
Rom. 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
All human beings will suffer in this life in some form or another. It could be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, but we will suffer. For example, have you ever had a bad boss?
ILL.- ILL.- One author wrote, “One of the worst situations I’ve heard of was a boss described like this: ‘He’s a bully and a mean spirited human being with the worst temper.