Summary: Part 3 of our Fracture Series looks at how God uses trials to build our faith.
Part 3- Yay, My Life Stinks!
Pastor Ryan Akers
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:1-12
Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, p. 11.
Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. The problems began when Chippie’’s owner decided to clean Chippie’’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’’d barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in. The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him. A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn’’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares." It’’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
For months we as American’s have learned the hard way what it means to get sucked in, washed up and blown over. I imagine there are some here today who are feeling like this. Life has not been easy. Turn on the television and all you see is negativity. Negativity in the stock market, politics, negativity in job reports, negativity in the lack of consumer spending. Left and right people are hurting. They are losing their jobs, retirement funds have vanished. Within our own church it pains me to watch many of you get sucked in, washed up and blown over with the difficulties and the uncertain futures you are facing. Some of you have had to deal with the realities of being laid off and wondering how your bills are going to get paid, how your going to put food on the table. And what hurts the most is when you come to me and I don’t know what to say to you.
I can look at you and say, “Well brother cheer up! God is good! Everything will be alright!” Then I can pray for you, but deep down I know what your probably thinking is, “Well prayer is fine but how is that going to pay my mortgage or put food on the table?” When these difficult times hit us then we usually start blaming God. And we look at God and say, “God, what in the world? I believed in you, I put my hope and my faith in you but look where I am. I lost my job, I can’t pay my bills, I am constantly fighting with my spouse. Where are you? If you are such a great and awesome God and a God that says you love me so much then why aren’t you helping me!? Why do I feel like you are so far away? Why do I feel like you have left me alone to fend for myself?”