Summary: This is a sermon that teaches us the facts to remember when trouble comes our way.
Here comes trouble! 8/3/2006
A young man in the Army was learning to be a paratrooper. Before his first jump, he was given these instructions. Jump when you are told. Count to ten and pull the ripcord. In the unlikely event your parachute doesn’t open, pull the emergency ripcord. When you get down, a truck will be there to take you back to the airport.
The young man memorized these instructions and climbed aboard the plane. The plane climbed to ten thousand feet and the paratroopers began to jump. When the young man was told to jump, he jumped. He then counted to ten and pulled the ripcord. Nothing happened. His chute failed to open. So he pulled the emergency ripcord. Still, nothing happened. No parachute.
"Oh great," said the young man. "And I suppose the truck won’t be there when I get down either!"
That is trouble and that will be our topic for this morning. It is something that we all face usually several times in our lives. It could be your health. It could be your heart, a divorce or a wayward child. It could be a car wreck, a house that is a money pit, or any other form of problem that comes your way.
You may not realize it, but trouble is one of the best teachers you can ever have. You will learn more in the hard times than in the good. Why? Often times, that is when people turn to Jesus is when trouble comes their way.
And you may have a problem here today that is weighing you down. You think about it when you get up and through the day. It causes you to lose sleep. And today you are in one of three categories. You are either in some kind of trouble right now, or you just got through going through some kind of trouble, or you are getting ready to get into some kind of trouble.
The Apostle Paul pretty much stayed into some kind of trouble all his life. In the text we just read, Paul was not writing this on some beach with a glass of iced tea by his side. He was in a Roman dungeon on death row waiting for his own execution. And in our text he gives us a “how to” handle this ongoing part of our lives called trouble. The first thing we see is…
Count on Gods presence in your troubles (Vs.17)
You need to remember when you are in your own dungeon of despair and depression that God is there with you. That is one of the many benefits of being a Christian is that you may be alone, but you never have to lonely.
In the verses before our text, Paul lists a group of people who in his words “has forsaken me”.
And that is one way you can tell a true friend when trouble comes. A true friend will stick with you when things get tough. A true friend will say to you in times of trouble, “If you need me or anything, I will be there”. And they will not just be saying it, they will mean it. Call me anytime, I will be there. And there is a TRUE friend that sticks closer than a brother. And His name is Jesus Christ. And He says in Hebrews 13:5b, For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
In the Greek this contains two double negatives, similar to saying it in English, “I will never, ever, ever forsake you.”
If you are saved, you have a heavenly Father who will be there and no matter what you have done, He will always be there for you.
So God will stand with you in your troubles and also…
Count on God’s power in your troubles (Vs.17)
The Greek word strengthens here means to empower you. Do you know when the best time for Him to pick you up? It is when you are at your rock bottom because you will be more receptive to His way rather than your own.
Trouble is really just two things. It is either a foe or a fear. And when you are empowered by God, He will give you the strength to face your foes and to fight your fears.
Let me stop here and point out something that most non-believers just don’t get. God did not save Paul from his troubles. Did God not keep Paul from going to jail? Nope, He stayed there till the end of his life. God didn’t take him from his troubles but He strengthened Paul in his troubles. He doesn’t say that He will lead us out of the valley of death but He says that He will be with us in that valley and He will strengthen us in that valley.