Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A former youth who has recently come back to the Lord asked me a question about pain and why does it happen to people. This is the reply information.

I have thought long and hard on your message and feel like you have asked two questions in one. If I am hearing you well, I feel like you are asking

A) Why is there is so much pain OR what do I do with my walk with the Lord through so much pain?

B) How do I hear from the Lord?

In order to give you a great answer like I promised, I am going to cover the first issue and we’ll go from there.

For starters, the Bible tells us that when we are in Christ, we are to receive blessings. Psalm 128:2 states “You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” There are dozens of verses like that and there are some well dressed TV preachers telling people such information on a weekly basis. When I am in a bad mood or in tough times, I have to say that messages about God’s blessings are pretty dog gone important to me.

On the other hand, when I read my Bible, I also see that John the Baptist got his head decapitated, Stephen was stoned to death (can you even imagine that?), and my own savior died on two pieces of wood on an execution device called a cross. Moreover, according to church history, all of the living disciples minus John were killed for their faith, Peter dying in perhaps the worst of all ways being put upside down on a cross.

To me and to everyone else who is seeking the scriptures honestly, would not say what happened to Peter, or Stephen, or to most of the people in the book of Revelation (which could be us if the Lord comes soon) is anything but torture.

But, since I believe the Bible to be absolutely true, right down to the cross of every T and the dot of every I, then I believe also in the many verses guaranteeing our blessings.

So what is the conclusion? The conclusion is that a follower of Christ receives BOTH BLESSINGS & PERSECUTION! What do I mean?

Well, I see the gift of my wife Lori as perhaps the greatest blessing I have ever received in my whole life. But with that blessing, came the persecution of 100 guys in the college football locker room ripping me constantly for having the gall to put a purity ring on my girls finger and waiting for marriage.

There’s a true story about a Nazi concentration camp. And in one of the barracks a minister got placed and began teaching the Bible to the other hostages. While on the point of near death, there was absolutely no peace among anyone because this particular place was covered in fleas. The pastor plead with God, “Lord, this place is so awful, couldn’t you at least take a way the fleas so that we can sleep once in while before we die?”

It seems like a reasonable request. But the reality is that the massive amount of fleas kept the Nazi guards out of the barracks and away from the people that otherwise would have been considered weak and sent to the chambers. See, in this particular case, the torture of the fleas was actually saving their lives. With the blessing of staying alive (think about that for a second, just the fact that we are alive is a blessing) came the torture of nonstop flea bites.

So what does that do exactly with you. Well, I guess I just want to begin to clarify that most believers don’t have a complete message of salvation. Here’s the scoop. Most people who have accepted Christ as their savior have the faulty belief that now that they are in Christ, that everything is going to be nice and hunky-dory. In some cases that is exactly what happens. I mean, if the drug addict comes to Jesus there really is nowhere to go but up.

But a lot of times life is decent for the person when they give their life to Christ. I have a friend named Josh who gave his life to Christ and then watched him Mom die 2 weeks later. What the heck right? That’s horrible! So where was God in this horrible tragedy? Well, He was right where He is supposed to be, caring for my friend Josh the entire time! And why did God seem so distant? Maybe because He was actually so close.

What I mean is if two people want to have a conversation, they stand and face each other. But can two have a conversation when they are embraced? Yes but is harder. God took care of Josh, but not by talking with him, there wasn’t time for that. God took care of Josh by holding him close and just loving him—even if Josh never even knew it.

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