Summary: Lets look at 3 specific blessings that come into our lives through our problems. And as we see how God has used problems in the past to bring about great blessings, it will help us in the problems we face today. (Powerpoint Available - #270)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this sermon are available free. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for #270.)
There are so many great passages of Scripture. And when I first began preparing this sermon I considered & prayed about some that I hoped would be of help to those who would be hearing this message.
While doing that, one verse kept pushing its way into my thoughts – & that verse is Romans 8:28, where the apostle Paul writes, "… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
That is a wonderful verse of Scripture, but I think that sometimes we don’t really understand what it is saying. Some people seem to think that it tells us that God has promised those who love Him that everything that happens to them will be good. But that is not true. That is not what God is promising at all.
ILL. Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David & Svea Flood went with their 2-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa – to what was then called the Belgian Congo.
They met another Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, & soon the 4 of them felt led by the Lord to move away from the central mission station to one of the more remote areas of the Congo.
At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his village for fear of alienating the local gods. So the two couples decided to go half a mile away & build their own huts.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens & eggs twice a week.
Svea Flood – a tiny woman only 4 feet, 8 inches tall – decided that if this boy was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead him to Jesus. And over a period of time she succeeded.
But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of their little group after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had enough suffering & went back to the security of the central mission station.
Then, in the middle of this primitive wilderness, Svea found herself pregnant. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.
The delivery, however, was difficult, & Svea was already weak from malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another 17 days, & then she died.
Inside David Flood, something snapped. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, & then took his children back to the central mission station.
Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, & I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he left, rejecting not only his mission, but God Himself.
It’s true. Sometimes tragic things happen, even in the lives of those who seek to walk close to Him. Bad things do happen to good people.
And that is just where this passage of scripture comes in – as a message of encouragement & hope – to assure us that "… in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
And the very next verse tells us what His purpose is. It says, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…"
Do you understand what that means? It means that God is working through everything that happens in the lives of those who love Him to help us become more like Jesus.
No matter what the problem or heartache may be, if we love Him, & if we let Him, even the problems we face in life can be a glorious part of this process.
PROP. For example, let’s look at 3 specific blessings that come into our lives through our problems. And as we see how God has used problems in the past to bring about great blessings, it will help us in the problems we face today.
I. GOD USES PROBLEMS TO DIRECT & SHAPE US
The difficult things we experience in life, big & small, are not random freak accidents or streaks of bad luck. They are allowed by God to direct us - to shape us into the image of Jesus.
Picture a large rock in the middle of a field. Sitting there by itself, it is ordinary, overlooked, & without much use. But in the hands of a master sculptor, it can become a masterpiece. Your life, & mine, is a lot like that rock.