Summary: A sermon examining how to endure great difficulty in this life.
How To Survive Your Circumstances
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Friday the 13th 1972 a Uruguayan Air Force plane was carrying a college rugby team to play a match in Chile. While flying over the Andes mountains the pilot reported his location to the air traffic controllers and was cleared to begin his decent into Chile. Due to cloud cover, headwinds and miscalculations the decent was initiated too soon. As a result the plane crashed on an unnamed peak near Argentina. Twelve people died in the crash. Survivors had to withstand hunger, the fearful Mountains, and 30 degree-below-zero temperatures during the night. Most of the survivors lost hope when they over the radio that the search had ceased. Eventually two of the survivors decided to cross the huge mountains to reach Chile. On 22nd of December of 1972, after being isolated for 72 days, the World found out that there were 16 survivors that beat Death in the Andes mountains. Those few people survived seemingly impossible circumstances. (source: Wikipedia)
I know that there are some people here who are facing what seem to be impossible circumstances as we speak. You may be facing a situation and it seems that there is no hope. You look at your circumstances and you feel that there is no way out. When you examine your options you just don't know how you will survive. I would like to bring you some encouragement today. When we look to the Word of God we find that there is hope when things seem hopeless. Things may appear to be impossible but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! When we are powerless we must remember that we serve one who is ALL POWERFUL. Even when we don't know what the future holds WE KNOW WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE!
In our selected text, Elijah found himself in a difficult situation. At this point in his life it would have been easy for him to get discouraged. He may have been tempted to feel sorry for himself. When he looked at his circumstances I am sure he pondered what God was up to. But God's man was faithful in the midst of great difficulty. And God was faithful to sustain him and protect him.
If you are in the midst of a great storm...If you are walking through a deep, dark valley today.... I want you to see through Elijah's story just how you can survive.Let's walk through these verses and see "How To Survive Your Circumstances" . The first step in "Surviving Your Circumstances" is to "Live For The Lord".
I. Live For The Lord
This is the way to survive your circumstances but it may be the very cause of your circumstances. This was the case for Elijah. Notice - v1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
Ahab was the 7th King of Israel. His wife was Jezebel and she had an evil influence over him. Elijah was a prophet of God. The Lord sent him to confront Ahab. Because of Ahab's wickedness the Lord was going to cause a great drought in the Land. This drought would last for 3 1/2 years. The judgment of God would affect the entire nation. There were some righteous people during this time (Elijah being one of them) But the righteous would not be immune to the impact of this drought. Elijah's issues that are recorded in these verses were not inflicted by Ahab. He was not suffering because of sin in his life. The reason that Elijah found himself in this situation is because the Lord designed it that way.
You and I live in a fallen creation. Even though we are children of God we are not exempt from trouble. In this life we suffer from the devastating consequences of man's sin. When we live for the Lord...When we are fully surrendered to the Lord's will... we may face difficulty as a direct result of our obedience.
Saeed Abedini is a Christian pastor who is currently imprisoned in Iran for preaching Christ. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, reportedly on charges of undermining national security through private religious gatherings in Christian homes in Iran. (source wikipedia) This man converted to Christianity from Islam and has dedicated his life to furthering the Gospel. He is not in prison for rape, murder or treason. He is in prison for being a Christian.
There are some pastors in our area who currently find themselves unemployed. Not because they did something wrong but because they refused to compromise the Word of God!
Some of you are devoted sold out servants of Christ. You are faithful to study, pray, give, witness, worship and serve. You are obedient and in the center of God's will. But you are facing great difficulty as we speak. You have bills that you can't pay. You have received a terminal diagnosis from the doctor. Some of your children have rebelled. Your children may be addicted to drugs. Your children may be in jail or facing prison sentences. Your children may be consumed with alcoholism. Your children may be involved in homosexuality. You live with a constant burden concerning their situation. There are some faithful Christian people under the sound of my voice who's marriages are failing or have failed. Some of you have had to bury babies and/or spouses. Some of you are in the midst of a great storm and you find yourself asking God why? Maybe you have reached the point of blaming God for your situation. Unfortunately there are some who have gone so far as to rebel and turn from the Lord. Dear friend, the only hope you have to "survive your circumstances" is to live for the Lord.