Summary: This message is given to give people hope in times of hardships.
Where is God when Life Tumbles In?
As Christians how do we cope with tragedy and Crisis? What do we do when life tumbles in?
We can face crisis in a number of ways:
Unreal Optimism: We can become numb to pain and say, "All is okay." If anything good is going to happen it will happen to me. I’m the greatest. Life is a bowl of cherries all you have to do is help yourself. Life is great. Life is grand. I have no problems and I have no pain. I never have a discouraging moment.
Ultimate Pessimism: This person believes that pain and conflict are the only ways to experience growth. Life is a nightmare. Why was I even born? Whatever bad is going to happen it will happen to me.
Distorted view of God: We need an adequate view of God if we are going to find ways to cope with tragedy and crises in life. A distorted view of God leaves us without hope. To believe that God created the universe and humanity and then deserted His creation to let us spin helplessly in space leaves us without hope. If God has abandoned his creation then all we have to look forward to us living our life, dying and period that’s the end.
Let’s look at the Biblical view of coping with tragedies and crises in life.
I. The Prophet Habakkuk Search for Answers to Life’s difficult questions.
The Prophet Habakkuk is one of the Minor prophets in the Old Testament. He states his problem in chapter 1:1-4. "Why is God silent when the world is being turned upside down?" Doesn’t God care about our suffering and injustices?
Have you ever wondered: "Where is God when life slams in o you like a wrecking ball knocking over a building. Where is God when life no longer smiles upon you?" How do we deal with the silences of God?
In his book, "Where is God When It Hurts?", Philip Yancy tells of #John and Claudia Claxton were newlyweds and in their early twenties. Claudia contracted Hodgkin’s disease and had to under go major surgery and radiation treatment. Claudia reported on ways people talked to her during her time of suffering:
A church member told here to reflect on what God was trying to teach her through suffering. "There must be something in your life displeasing to God." "You must have stepped out of God’s will. Listen to what God is trying to tell you."
Another lady, a cheerleader for the sick visited her. She brought flowers, sang hymns, quoted happy psalms and talked about happy things to drive out any suffering with her cheer and good will.
Another lady stopped by to pray for Claudia. She told her that sickness was never God’s will. She told her that all sickness was the devil’s work. She needed enough faith to believe that she could be healed. Faith could remove mountains and that included Hodgkins’ disease.
Another lady from her church came by and told Claudia that she needed to praise God in everything. She needed to say: "God I love You for making me suffer like this. It is Your will. In all things, including this, I give thanks."
God answered Habakkuk’s prayer: chapter 1:5,6. "Be patient. I see you suffering. I will do a great work in your day."
Habakkuk 1:13, "Why must the righteous suffer along with the unrighteous." It doesn’t seem fair.
We know that God does not cause our suffering. We know that pain and suffering are apart of a fallen humanity. Sin entered the world through the choice of Adam and Eve - But in Jesus we have forgiveness of sin and access to God.
It is often in and through suffering that we discover the love and grace of God. His grace is sufficient in every situation.
Habakkuk sang out in chapter 3:18-19---whatever our problem, doubt, perplexity, we can take it to the Lord in prayer.
#Joni Erickson, dove into the ocean, her head hit a rock and she was paralyzed from the next down. She had a knock and down drag out fight with the demons of doubt. Everything she had hoped for in life…husband, family, and vocation, were all taken way from her she thought. All her options were gone, al that she had was a helpless body and God. After months of pain and struggle she surrendered to God. God would make her life worthwhile and attractive, without God she could do nothing.
II. The Prophet Isaiah found Hope Amidst Despair
During the time of the prophet Isaiah’s ministry the people of Israel were going through dark days of persecution. The people of Israel have turned from God and the Lord allowed Babylon to take them captive. In captivity the people of Israel cried out: "Why did God do this to us?" "Doesn’t the Lord see the trouble we are in. God is unfair. We will build better gods of wood and stone."