Summary: When we are pressed down, perplexed and persecuted, God lifts us up
“He Lifts Us Up!”
David P. Nolte
Christian people should never be sad or depressed. Christian people should live problem free lives. Christian people should have no failure. Yeah! Right! In a perfect world, ok. But this is a broken, corrupted, dying world where just the opposite is true. Jesus made that much clear, when He said, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." John 16:33 (MSG).
It is true that none of life’s exigencies or difficulties can defeat us or cut us off from God’s love, but we will encounter circumstances that, apart from Jesus, would be insurmountable.
Paul’s words are priceless, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”: Romans 8:35-39 (NASB).
Linda’s song is affirming and comforting. The song says,:
“When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up: To more than I can be.”
– By: Secret Garden
Paul gets real about life, saying, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (NIV).
When, not if, trouble comes, God lifts us up.
I. HE LIFTS US UP WHEN WE ARE PRESSED:
A. The word for pressed means, “affliction; or suffering brought upon us by circumstances beyond our control; or BY the antagonism of others.”
B. This is not suffering for doing dumb things like skiing down a snow covered roof or using helium filled weather balloons to float you around in a yard chair!
1. This is suffering from random circumstances, not of our own making.
2. It is suffering the consequences of animosity on the part of others.
C. Paul said, regarding being hard pressed, that it comes on every side, but it does not crush us; i.e. we are not squeezed between a rock and a hard place. We are not trapped under the circumstances. God gives us breathing room.
D. Let’s make it personal:
1. What presses in on you and afflicts you today?
a.I know that many of you have chronic pain and very few, if any, pain-free hours.
b.I know that there are several of you with A-fib or other heart ailments.
c.I know that some of us have what are, at this time, incurable diseases or ailments .
d.I know that some of you are financially strapped.
e.I know that for some, depression is the norm, not the exception.