Summary: A sermon on the season of loss beginning with Ecclesiastes 8:14-17 (Title, outline and material adapted from Rick Warren at: http://pastors.com/resources-tragedy/)
“How long have you been driving without a tail light, buddy?” demanded the policeman. The driver jumped out, ran to the rear of his car, and gave a loud moan. His distress was so great that the cop was moved to ease up on him. “Aw, come now,” said the policeman, “you don’t have to take it so hard. I won’t even give you a ticket. It isn’t that serious.” “It isn’t?” cried the motorist. “What happened to my boat and trailer?”
Life is full of losses. It’s sobering when we think about the fact that absolutely nothing around us is permanent. We will go through seasons of tragedy, seasons of grief, seasons of loss, when we have a disaster that takes away something that is important to us. We can lose our finances, our job, our health, our marriage, and we will lose loved ones we care about who die. Last weekend we experienced that with people in the community who died. Many went to the visitation last Sunday night.
We may not be in a season of loss. Vs. 15 of Ecclesiastes 8 is for those times. However, there will come a time of loss. Message today might be preventative or it might be a comfort and a help to those who right now are experiencing a loss. Broken heart in every pew.
From the verses that were read by (Eli) we can see that life is not fair. Life is not a fairy tale where they live happily ever after. Vs. 14. Have we seen this happen? This is life.
We must understand that we don’t always get what we deserve in life. We have this myth in the back of our minds that all bad things that happen to us occur because we’re bad and all the good things that happen occur because of our goodness. The principle of “reap what we sow” is seen throughout the Bible but is this absolutely, 100% true? Other spiritual principles override this and we should be thankful. For if we reap what we sow all of the time we would all be going to hell. “For the wages of sin is death (without the next phrase we would all get this wage), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23, NIV.
Many books have been written about “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and there is much help to us personally in studying this matter, but in reality vs. 17 is quite true. If we think we have this issue settled in our mind something else comes along and upsets the apple cart. When bad things happen to us that’s called life and sometimes it defies explanation.
It is not my job in this sermon to explain and give reasons why all the tragedies of life, all the disasters, all the losses happen. Cannot cover it all and cannot explain everything because I’m not God. This is basically what happens in the book of Job. After Job’s losses, Job and 4 others debate the meaning of life’s losses and disasters. When God comes to Job God explains nothing but God basically says that He is God and we are not so may we be like Job and reply, ““I am unworthy” Job 40:4, NIV. Some things we are not going to understand until we get to heaven.
Thesis: 4 principles or steps on how to recover from life’s loses
Release our grief
Tragedy produces strong emotions- anger, fear, depression, worry, sometimes guilt. Feelings like these are scary and we don’t know what to do with them. However, we need to do with these emotions. Our emotions are part of our being and they are there for a reason.
Many people don’t deal with their emotions. They stuff them down and pretend that they are not there. This is why some people struggle with emotional stress in their lives from events that occurred 20 or 30 years ago.
Some believe the myth that says, God wants me to walk around with a smile on my face all the time. The Bible doesn’t say that and that is not how characters in the Bible acted. “I should never be sad, I should never grieve, I should never hurt. God wants me to always go around saying, “Praise the Lord!””
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4, NIV. Notice that mourning comes first and then the comforting.
What do we do with these negative feelings? Give them to God. “God I hurt! I’m grieving! This is a tough one to take.” The book of Psalms is a good place to dwell during these times of loss. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:8, NIV. “The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18, NIV.