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Summary: THE REALITY OF MY TROUBLES CAN NEVER CONTRADICT THE GREATNESS OF GOD

BIG IDEA:

THE REALITY OF MY TROUBLES CAN NEVER CONTRADICT THE

GREATNESS OF GOD

(Hymn: “How Great Thou Art”)

INTRODUCTION:

Do you ever find yourselves asking the question: WHAT’S WRONG WITH GOD? Certainly the Christians of the first century who were suffering persecution must

have been tempted to ask that question. The Book of 1 Peter helps us all put suffering for the cause of Christ into the proper focus. Yet any believer who is diligently trying to follow Christ but finds himself confused and troubled wrestles with this same

question:

WHAT’S WRONG WITH GOD?

Intellectually, we know the answer -- There’s nothing wrong with God. But (...examples of difficult situations)

THE REALITY OF MY TROUBLES CAN NEVER CONTRADICT THE

GREATNESS OF GOD

I. (:1-9) SEEKING AFTER GOD CAN INCREASE YOUR PAIN

God never asks us to deny reality. We are not called to be Stoics and to grit our teeth and say that it doesn’t hurt. That’s more the approach of Christian Science or some other cult -- just tell your mind

that there is no pain and maybe you can ignore it.

Remember the message of 1 Peter -- following after Christ is not a free pass to escape all suffering in this world; In fact, just the opposite:

All those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer; will experience persecution; will find themselves in situations where they are tempted to ask "What’s Wrong with God?"

We need to seek after God for deliverance, but sometimes seeking after God can actually increase our pain!

A. When you know God is listening but not delivering (:1)

We know what the Scriptures teach about prayer -- Ask and He will answer; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened -- Tremendous promises about answered prayer; about persevering in prayer.1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him"

So that’s the catch: It has to be a request that is in accordance with His will; that just changes the question slightly: What’s wrong with the Will of God?

Our Understanding of the power of prayer Leads to expectations that God will do this or that; If I were God, this is how I would solve the present crisis;

We know God is listening -- He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to our cries for help; He cares about us;

Why doesn’t He do something?

Why do I seem stuck in my present situation?

B. When you refuse God’s comfort and choose to complain instead (:2-3)

It takes faith to believe in the character of God = His goodness and love for you --

when your circumstances are so difficult. Remember, He is the God of all Comfort;

it is easy to reject that comfort and get all stirred up

There is no joy in Muddville, mighty Casey has struck out; that sinking feeling when your last chance for success and deliverance has just struck out

C. When your troubles just won’t go away and there is no relief from the pressure (:4)

can’t even get any rest or sleep; can’t even close the eyes

pressure welling up inside; not even any ability to voice the concerns and get some relief

that way

Troubles are designed to bring us closer to God

Illustr: cf. How a vine clings to an oak tree -- wrapped around it; when the storm comes

-- 2 possibilities:

1) if the storm hits the vine directly, it just presses it closer to the oak tree

2) if the storm hits from the other side, the oak tree protects the vine

In some of the storms of life, God intervenes and shelters us; while in others He allows us

to be exposed, so that we will be pressed more closely to Him -- B. M. Launderville

D. When you compare your present distress with your former joy (:5-6)

2 possibilities here:

1) bitterness -- pity party = I used to have it so much better than I ever will again

cf. The new temple vs. the old temple

Ezra 3:12 comparing the glory of the Temple of Solomon with the smaller, less spectacular temple built under Zerubbabel (Hag. 2:3)

2) hope - God has blessed me this way in the past; I know He can bless me that way

again

E. When you question God’s love for you (:7-9) -- 6 troubling questions

1) Will the Lord reject forever?

2) Will He never be favorable again?

3) Has His lovingkindness ceased forever?

4) Has His promise come to an end forever?

5) Has God forgotten to be gracious?

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