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Summary: When our prayers leave us empty and we feel all alone in our troubles, we are not alone!

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When It Happens to You (or Me)

By Joe Mack Cherry

I. Introduction

A. It Always Happens to Someone Else

1. A life threatening illness

2. A family member dies suddenly & unexpectedly (Accident Thursday)

3. Your child finds himself/herself in trouble; you can’t save him/her

4. A woman you love is raped

5. A man you love is falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned

6. A child you know is molested

7. You are at the mercy of a banker and in jeopardy of losing all you own.

B. Bad Things Do Happen To Good People

1. Joseph – Gen. 45: 4-7 & Gen. 50: 15-21

2. Job

3. Mary & Martha – Lazarus dies; Martha’s reply John 11: 21 (Go back to Jesus’ reasoning in vs. 14)

4. Jesus Himself suffered due to NO fault of His own!

Mk. 15: 33-34; I Pet. 2: 22-23

5. These times cause our faith to become bankrupt. John the Baptist baptized Christ yet look at his question to Christ in Mt. 11: 1-2.

C. These Example Allow Us to See God Work in His Infinite Wisdom

1. It is much easier to understand someone else’s troubles when you know the story from start to finish.

2. Obviously, we do not have that luxury in our own lives today.

3. So, what do we hear constantly when we are faced with terrible, unbearable situations?

a. Trust God

b. Have Faith

c. PRAY

d. Easy isn’t it? The Bible says,

1. Cast your cares upon Him – Phil. 4: 6-7 & I Pet. 5: 7

2. We sing in “The Lily of the Valley” He will never, never leave me or yet forsake me here…

3. The 23rd Psalm

4. Rom. 8: 28

II. Body

A. Do We Always Find Comfort in the Truth?

1. Think briefly about the scriptures we just looked at.

2. If we tell the truth, I believe most of us would say, “No”, even though we would likely not voice it.

3. Something in our core being tells us “We” must have all the faith, ”We” must pray the right words; it’s all about what “We” must do!

4. Have we saved ourselves if we die with a prayer on our lips? NO!

B. Sometime the Words of Our Standard Prayers Are So Gutless

1. Mt. 6: 9-13 – The Model Prayer

2. The Serenity Prayer “Lord, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

3. Some pray the Rosary – An interesting study in itself

4. Sometime we “can” our own prayers.

5. Do these offer real comfort? Answer Honestly!

6. There is a world of difference between a prayer for forgiveness and a prayer for relief from something not self imposed.

a. Psa. 51

b. Elijah’s Prayer in I Kings 19 – I’m the only one left Boohoo. We can feel just like Elijah today can’t we?

C. What Do We Do When We Feel Our Faith Slipping?

1. Look at Psa. 22

a. God doesn’t hear us vs. 2

b. Weak physically, mentally, & spiritually vs. 13-17

c. Perceive others as having given up on us and many times they do – consider Job’s friends.

2. We can be thankful that it is not up to the “arm of the flesh” to get us thru.

III. THE LESSON – We Still Have HELP & HOPE

A. We Have A God Who Knows What We Need Before We Ask.

1. Mt. 6: 8

2. God knows the intents of the heart.

3. We do not have to verbalize to pray.

4. God knows the end of the story.

5. I Pet. 5: 6-7

B. We Have A Savior Who Understands Our Weaknesses

1. Heb. 4: 14

2. One of my favorite passages – Mark 9: 24 “Help thou my unbelief!”

3. II Cor. 5: 21 – “He, Who had no sin, was made as sin.”

4. We come to God through Christ. Rom. 8: 34

5. Christ is the Advocate between man and God. I Jo. 2: 1-2

C. We Have A Spirit Who Feels Our Frustration and Translates It

1. Rom. 8: 26-27

2. Intercedes – takes over for

3. Wow, we do not have to rely on ourselves in our times of weakness.

4. We can become so engrossed in our situation that we can become

lost as to our real needs.

D. We Have Our Brothers & Sisters in Christ

1. Jas. 5: 16-17

2. Paul coveted the prayers of brethren everywhere

IV. Closing

A. We are not alone in our struggles. We have the ultimate back up.

B. God knows us, He made us.

C. These times come upon all of us; it is a fact of life. Our weakness allow God to strengthen our relationship with Him.

D. Remember Joseph & Job did not know the end of the story til the end of the story!

E. Even in prayer we must rely on Him and remember He is faithful.

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