Summary: We all go through tough times (whitewater) in life. How do you handle the trouble that comes?

In the boat of life, have you ever felt like all of the big waves were coming straight at you?

Maybe, in a matter of moments, your world was turned upside down. You’ve suddenly gone from calm to chaos, from peace to perplexity.

· The pink slip comes.

· The doctor calls.

· The divorce papers arrive.

· The check bounces.

· The policeman knocks on your door.

How do you find God in the chaos?

We have come to discover how to navigate life’s whitewater, and how to enjoy God’s presence when the waters threaten to overwhelm us.

Most of life is not lived in the still waters.

(Mark 4:35-41) As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let’s cross to the other side of the lake." {36} He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). {37} But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. {38} Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?" {39} When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, "Quiet down!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. {40} And he asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?" {41} And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, "Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?"

The disciples in this boat had no reason to be afraid. They had already seen Jesus do many wonderful miracles.

Do we do the same thing at times? Maybe we have forgotten what the Bible says.

(Isaiah 43:2) When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression (A feeling of being heavily weighed down in mind or body), you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

God promises to be with us in whatever trouble we go through in life.

How do you interpret the storms and trouble that come your way?

You have the power to interpret every situation that comes into your life. Will it beat you, or will you learn from it.

Can one person ask, “Why is God doing this to me?” while another person would ask, “What does God want me to learn from this?”

Relief pitching ace Donny Moore couldn’t seem to resolve his anguish over losing an American League championship series game many years ago. In a moment of total torment, he shot his wife and then shot himself.

Compare that with Dave Dravecky, who loses not only a game but a career, a livelihood, his pitching arm, and his shoulder. He is energetically rebuilding his life and looking forward to whatever tomorrow might bring. He now runs Outreach of Hope non-profit organization to help people that are suffering.

Is it possible for someone to be physically, emotionally, and financially abused and come out as an extraordinary person?

Is it possible for someone to have wealth, popularity, and power and be miserable?

(Romans 5:3-5) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. {4} And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. {5} And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

God’s purpose of testing is to make the person more valuable.

· A $5 bar of steel cut into ordinary horseshoes is worth $10.

· A $5 bar of steel cut into needles is worth $350.

· That same bar of steel cut into delicate springs for watches becomes worth $250,000.

If you want to live the good life then you must believe that there is a purpose behind every trouble.

Show pearl necklace. Take an oyster for example. A piece of sand gets lodged in its shell. Instead of getting mad, the oyster begins to cover it with nacre until it become a valuable pearl.

(James 1:2-4) Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. {3} For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. {4} So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

When your muscles are tested they have a chance to grow. When you lift weights you don’t try to do what is easy.

(Use dumbbell) If you are doing 10 repetitions which one do you want to do the least? The tenth one! But, which one will bring the most growth? The eleventh one!

“Count Your Problems” (to the tune of "count your blessings"

Count your problems, name them one by one;

Think that victory never, never will be won;

Cite your many troubles, count them o’er and o’er,

All your disappointments and vexations soar.

Some of the world’s greatest men and women have been saddled with disabilities and adversities but have managed to overcome them. Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Subject him to bitter religious prejudice, and you have a Benjamin Disraeli. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt. Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set a world’s record in 1934 for running a mile in 4 minutes, 6.7 seconds. Deafen a genius composer, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Harriet Tubman, a Marian Anderson, or a George Washington Carver. Make him the first child to survive in a poor Italian family of eighteen children, and you have an Enrico Caruso. Have him born of parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp, paralyze him from the waist down when he is four, and you have an incomparable concert violinist, Itzhak Perlman. Call him a slow learner, "retarded," and write him off as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.

(2 Corinthians 4:17-18) For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! {18} So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

When spring came to England after the devastating bombing raids of 1941 by Nazi Germany, a strange thing occurred. It brought a beautiful, botanical resurrection. The explosions brought to the surface seeds of plants which were thought to be extinct. Some 95 different flowers and shrubs were found suddenly growing and blooming in the bomb-pocked landscape of England. Likewise, adversity, in life often turns up unexpected and undeveloped parts of our lives. The bombs of adversity and suffering often resurrect long-dormant flowers.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

(1 Peter 1:6-7) So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. {7} These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Espresso. Does anyone here like espresso? Or perhaps a well made cappuccino or latte’? Well, a lot of bad things has to happen to a coffee berry before it can become a shot of espresso or other drink. Brew a shot of Espresso. After the traumatic experience of getting harvested and shipped the coffee is heated to extreme temperature to roast it. Then the coffee is ground to dust. The I use 30lbs or force to pack it. I apply 130lbs of hot pressured water to it. Slowly espresso emerges. My goal was not to hurt the coffee but to make a perfect shot of espresso.

“87% of people said a painful event (death, illness, breakup, divorce, etc.) caused them to find a more positive meaning in life.”

In 1878, after years of experimentation with various formulations, James N. Gamble triumphantly reported that he and his associates had developed the formula for a white soap which was satisfactory in every respect. Appropriately enough, the product would be called P&G White Soap. But Harley Procter insisted the new white soap deserved a more distinctive name – one which people would remember when they went to the store.

Mr. Procter had a sudden flash of inspiration while attending Sunday church service. The search for a name ended when the minister read from Psalms 45:8, "All thy garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces whereby they have made thee glad." In October, 1879, the first bar of Ivory was sold.

(James 1:12) God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

There are years in South Africa when locusts swarm the land and eat the crops. They come in hordes, blocking out the sun. The crops are lost and a hard winter follows. The "years that the locusts eat" are feared and dreaded. But the year after the locusts, South Africa reaps its greatest crops, for the dead bodies of the locusts serve as fertilizer for the new seed. And the locust year is restored as great crops swell the land.

This is like our lives. There are time of deep distress and afflictions that sometimes eat all the usefulness of our lives away. Yet, the promise is that God will restore those locust years if we endure.

We will reap if we don’t faint. Although now we do not know all the ’whys’, we can be assured our times are in His hands.

(Joel 2:25a) The LORD says, "I will give you back what you lost to the stripping locusts, the cutting locusts, the swarming locusts, and the hopping locusts.

God will give you back any years that have been wasted. Maybe right now you are in a very rough time of your life. God promises:

(Isaiah 26:3) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!

If you trust in God and fix your thoughts on Him, He will give you perfect peace, no matter what is going on in the world around you.

Pray & Close.