Intro -- The year was 1998…
…on the evening of 2 September 1998, Swissair 111 departed New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at 8:18 p.m. Eastern Time en route to Geneva, Switzerland.
On board were 215 passengers and a crew of 14.
This flight was popular with United Nations officials, researchers and scientists and was known as the “UN Shuttle.”
Some of the passengers were leaders in their fields.
Jonathan Mann, a pioneer in the global campaign against AIDS, his wife Mary Lou Clements-Mann, also a world renowned AIDS researcher and vaccine scientist,
Pierre Babolat, head of the French sports equipment maker Babolat,
Pierce Gerety, a senior official with the UN Refugee Agency,
The plane also routinely carried valuables to and from the financial capitals of the United States and Switzerland, and this flight was no different.
In the cargo hold that night were millions of dollars of banknotes, jewellery and diamonds, as well as a painting by Pablo Picasso.
Swissair Flight 111 crashed in the sea off Peggy’s Cove, NS on 2 September 1998,. All 229 passengers and crew were killed. It was the second-deadliest air accident to occur in Canada.
An investigation by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board determined that a fire, sparked by arcing in the MD-11 aircraft’s electrical system, resulted in a catastrophic failure of the plane’s main operating systems.
Also on board that flight was a young man answering the call to be a missionary…
Actor Tim Allen Struggles to Trust God
The actor Tim Allen's father died when Allen was 11 years old. A drunk driver crashed into their car as his dad was driving home from a college football game. Nearly 50 years later, Allen still claims that his father's death "changed everything forever." In a recent (2012) interview he said,
Part of me still doesn't trust that everything will work out all right. I knew my father was dead, but I was never satisfied with why he was dead. I wanted answers that minute from God. "Do you think this is funny? Do you think this is necessary?" And I've had a tumultuous relationship with my creator ever since.
Text: Psalm 73
I. Asaph begins his poem with an affirmation of faith – “God is Good” (CREEDAL)…
repeat the words…
II. But Asaph Plays The Comparison Game And He Loses --- He Is Overtaken By Envy And Doubt
my feet had almost slipped
I envied the wicked (Prosperity of…)
Looked across the fence at his neighbour…
Roosevelt -- "I have never envied a person who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well."
III. Asaph Falls into despair ***in vain have I kept my heart pure***
CS Lewis quote: "I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port (beer or whiskey) would do that. If you want religion to make you really comfortable, I certainly do not recommend Christianity."
Asaph writes… “I tried to understand…but I could not…”
Life isn’t fair!!!
Life doesn’t make sense…
Let’s remind ourselves of the identity of the writer of this poem.
One of the three leaders of music in the tabernacle service,
I chron 15
16 David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brothers Asaph the son of Berechiah;
1 chron 16
4 Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph was the chief…
Do worship leaders ever struggle with doubt or envy?
What to do with your doubt? (when live gets ugly)
Stop going to church?
Stop praising him?
Asaph “went into the sanctuary”
IV. Until I went into the sanctuary (v17) -- then I understood *their final destiny*
Story from Luke 16:19 ff (Rich man and Lazarus)
Where are we going?
Prayer… “How long will the wicked prosper and believers suffer?”
Persecution is on the rise against Christians around the world.
CT – symposium in USA
*** But Scripture tells the end of the story!
***hear the good news of the gospel…
On the cross Jesus defeated sin…death and the evil one… he is however – not yet destroyed – that happens later…at our Lords coming
Life doesn’t make sense without the return of Christ!
When he comes he will set things right!
Politicians are trying…but they can do a lot of good – and Canada is a great country
But the world needs Messiah--- we need the govt upon his shoulders!
This is the gospel ? “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ – and he shall reign forever!
NT = heaven on earth!
*** ASAPH has a great realization -- They are on slippery ground… you cast them down to ruin
Slippery ground – financial crisis of 2008
Suicides in the financial sector
(1) adolf merkle – lay down on the train tracks
(2) Freddie Mac CEO – suicide in his basement
At the End of history -- Judgement day is coming
We are on solid ground … “you will take me into glory” v. 24
Matt 7. “Sand or rock” (these words of mine)
Christians have a long term perspective…eternal perspective!
May I remind you of this today!
As for the wicked ? have compassion
… “love your neighbour as yourself --- have compassion… (where does your neighbor turn when life turns ugly?
What happens when the excitement of ambition turns into the poverty of achievement? ( …is that it?)
V. (Asaph) begins now to count his blessings…
whom have I in heaven besides you- v. 25 (we belong to him)
I’m weak but…God is the strength of my heart. V. 26
He is my refuge… I will tell of your deeds!!!
Application? …it's often an emotional journey…
(1) sanctuary (Church)…prayer/word
(3) tell others…
Big idea ? how to overcome doubt – seek God out… go into his presence…read his word.
Thanking God in the Midst of ALS
In the fall of 2000, former megachurch pastor Ed Dobson was diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease), a degenerative disease with no known cause or cure. In 2012 Dobson shared his ongoing struggle to give thanks while living with an incurable condition. He writes:
There are many things for which I am not grateful. I can no longer button the buttons on my shirt. I can no longer put on a heavy jacket. I can no longer raise my right hand above my head. I can no longer write. I can no longer eat with my right hand. I eat with my left hand, and now even that is becoming a challenge. And over time all of these challenges will get worse and worse.
So what in the world do I have to be grateful for?
Lord, thank you for waking me up this morning. Lord, thank you that I can turn over in my bed. Lord, thank you that I can still get out of bed. Lord, thank you that I can walk to the bathroom …. Lord, thank you that I can still brush my teeth … Lord, thank you that I can still eat breakfast. Lord, thank you that I can still dress myself. Lord, thank you that I can still drive my car. Lord, thank you that I can still walk. Lord, thank you that I can still talk.
..I have learned in my journey with ALS to focus on what I can do, not on what I can't do. I have learned to be grateful for the small things in my life .
Dobson died in 2015 at age 65.