Summary: Sermon #4 in the Truths we must believe series extracted from "Truths we must Believe" by Dr. Chris Thurman. Truth #4 is "Life is Difficult" and companion texts are John 16:33 and Gal. 6:7-8.
Title: Life is Difficult
Series: TRUTHS We Must Believe #4
CHCC: August 26, 2012
In this series on TRUTHS we must believe, we’ve examined 3 truths so far: To err is human; You can’t please everyone; and last week Ronnie talked about the truth that You are entrusted; not entitled. This is the last sermon in the series, and we’re going to look at a truth that … when you first hear it … can seem kind of depressing: Life is Difficult.
Does the name Vinko Bogataj ring a bell? No? Well, if you’re over 30 you’ve probably seen him on TV … and what you’ve seen was the worst moment of his life. See if you can finish this phrase from ABC’s intro to Wide World of Sports: “The thrill of victory … and the … (agony of defeat)”
They used that intro for decades, and every time the announcer said, “The agony of defeat” they showed an Olympic ski-jumper wiping out in an incredible head over heels fall. That was Vinko Bogataj. He was a world-class athlete – he went on to live a quiet life with his family, painting and carving wood. Over all he had a very successful life. But Vinko Bogataj is NOT famous for the thrill of victory --- he’s known for the agony of defeat!
Just about everyone has an agony of defeat story to tell. That time when everything fell apart all at once. That most embarrassing moment. That huge disappointment. We shouldn’t be surprised when we have tough times, but we usually are. We love the thrill of victory! But the agony of defeat ---not so much!
The TRUTH is, God never promised us an easy life. You can go all the way back to Genesis 3:17-19 and read: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground; For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Does that sound like the easy life?
Thousands of years later, the wisest man on earth – Solomon – observed, “All things are wearisome, more than one can say.” Ecclesiastes 1:8
Every time I get on this particular topic, it brings back fond memories of a little song I used to sing to my girls any time they complained, “That’s not fair.”
“Who ever told you that life is fair,
Whoever told you that life is fair,
Wake up and grow up, It’s tough out there!
Who ever told you that Life is fair” (unpublished by Ed Skidmore) They loved it of course.
My Christian friends from India or Africa or Russia don’t seem to have any trouble remembering that Life is Difficult. But here in America we’ve developed so many ways to make life comfortable that it’s fairly easy to start thinking life is always, always supposed to be perfect.
Have you noticed that when you’re eating out in a restaurant, the Waiter will often stop by and ask, “Is everything okay?” I always feel like saying, “What do you mean, is everything okay?! Have you ever heard of the Middle East? Don’t you read the newspapers? Do you know what the national debt is?” The truth is that … in this world … everything’s NOT okay.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
On the one hand, we all know we live in a world where every day is going to have its share of trouble. But on the other hand, we somehow believe we’re supposed to be immune from the troubles that other people go through. For a Christian, there can be some serious consequences when we don’t remember the simple TRUTH that “life is difficult.” When tragedy or disappointment hits us, we can feel like God has forsaken us.
1. God will never forsake you
Hebrews 13:5 assures us, God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Jesus explicitly told us, “In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
And yet we act like we have some sort of contract with God: “I’ll do this and that … and in return you protect me from troubles.” Almost like a pay-off for mob protection.
Our connection with God is not a cold contract --- it’s a loving relationship. It’s a freely chosen commitment based on love … much like a marriage. All the vows – for richer for poorer; for better for worse; in sickness and in health - These vows describe our relationship with God. When bad times come, God hasn’t forsaken us, and we shouldn’t forsake Him! God has already chosen us --- the only question is, will we choose Him – for better or worse.