Summary: This is the fourth sermon in a series of messages called, "When Life Takes a Turn for the Worse."
We are currently doing a series of studies on the book of Job, which records the struggles of a good man whose life took a turn for the worse. You remember. He lost his finances, his children, his health, and his marriage - one right after the other.
And this book has helped us answer some tough questions, such as: Are good people exempt from suffering? What is God doing when life takes a turn for the worse? What is the Devil up to when life takes a turn for the worse? And the question I want an answer to this morning is, What should I do when life takes a turn for the worse?
This is a good question for every single one of us. Sooner or later your life and my life will take a turn for the worse and we’ll experience some type of hardship and pain. And we need to be ready. So what should we do when life takes a turn for the worse?
Job 23:10-12 provides a good answer and three words of advice. When your life takes a turn for the worse . . ..
I. Remember the Omniscience of God
That’s what Job did when his life took a turn for the worse. He remembered that God is all-knowing. Listen to what he said in verse 10, "But he knows the way that I take . . .".
Whenever your life takes a turn for the worse, you may feel like God has forgotten you, or He isn’t paying attention to what’s going, or He’s ignoring you. But nothing could be further from the truth. Our God knows everything there is to know about the universe and about YOU! He is always aware of your thoughts, your actions, and your circumstances. He knows everything there is to know about your past, your present, and your future. He know’s what happened to you yesterday, what’s happening to you today, and what will happen to you tomorrow. He knows when your on the mountaintop and when your in the valley. He knows the way that you take!
You can take great comfort in this truth, especially when life takes a turn for the worse. You see, God knows what’s going on and what’s best for you in the long run. He’s in charge and He is working all things together for your good. Let me put it another way . . . (ILL: the Pilot and the Air Traffic Controller - the pilot doesn’t have to worry because the air traffic controler knows everything that’s going on). Like that pilot, you can face life with a lot less worry when you realize God knows the way that you take! So remember the omniscience of God.
II. Realize the Outcome of Trials
That’s what Job did. He realized that God tests His people in order to build their character and strengthen their faith. Look at what he says in verse 10, ". . . When He has tested me . . ."
God will test you from time to time. HOW CAN YOU KNOW GOD IS TESTING YOU? Whenever a circumstance comes into your life that stretches your faith, you can be pretty sure that it is a test (ILL: Financial Problems, Family Problems, Physical Problems, marital problems, or something else).
WHY DOES GOD TEST YOU? Look at the rest of verse 10, ". . . I will come forth as gold." Job likens himself to gold that has been placed through fire.
Fire is used to refine gold; that is to make it better.
Let’s suppose you’re literally living on top of a gold mine. But the gold you dig up is embedded in rock and dirt, so what do you do? You put it in a hot furnace. The intense heat burns and separates every particle of impurity or alloy, leaving only the pure metal. That’s how you refine gold, and folks that’s how God refines us. He uses the flames of suffering to refine us and make us better people. Sometimes He uses suffering to purge a particular sin out of our lives, or prepare us for a future task, or strengthen our faith, or develop and build our character. But the bottom line is, He uses suffering to refine us and make us better (ILL: the Emperor Moth). And that illustrates why God allows suffering to enter our lives. He knows that we’ll never grow and develop into the people He wants us to be if we don’t go through those struggles and exercise our faith. That’s why He tests us.
HOW CAN YOU PASS THE TEST? I’m glad you asked that because that brings us to the third word of advice.
III. Remain Obedient to the Word
That’s what Job did. He decided he would remain obedient to the Word regardless of his circumstances. And that’s what we need to do whenever life takes a turn for the worse. Why?