I didn’t get to post my Sunday recap yesterday. It was my lil’ bro’s birthday. We went to a Japanese steakhouse (yum!) and then during Lydia’s nap, I read and just didn’t get online (gasp!). Last night was our neighborhood Bible Study. Les and I gave our little testimony/story. So, we were famous.
Yesterday was a guest speaker at church. You may have heard of him, Louie Giglio. One of the best speakers ever. He spoke about Hope When Life Hurts Most. It was an amazing sermon mainly full of a true story that you can read at Louie’s blog here.
In John 16, Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that IN ME you may have peace. In this world, you WILL have trouble. BUT TAKE HEART I have overcome the world.” (emphasis mine) Louie explained that some people live on the 2 extremes of this verse: some Christians believe God just makes life hard. Get over it. Others refuse trouble. But the reality is that both of these extremes are true at the same time. There is trouble AND there is an overcoming Savior.
So, the question is, when you have this trouble that will come, where do you turn? Hopefully, to the cross of Christ. When we look to the cross, when life hurts most, we will see 4 things:
1. At the cross we know and see God loves us. You can think because of your tragedy, “God has forgotten me! He doesn’t love me!” But if you look back to Jesus, God’s only Son, dying on the cross, you’ll realize and remember that God’s love for you has never changed. You’ll have that “blessed assurance” that God’s love is true.
2. God allows freedom but maintains control. WOW. This one is so big for me. We live in a sick and crazy world. People have freedom to do whatever they want. That’s why there is so much bad stuff. People always ask, “Why didn’t God stop this?” One day He will. And that’s the day Jesus will come riding a white horse and send the devil to the fiery pit. (yikes!) But right now, He’s allowing freedom, while maintaining control. An example: Jesus’ crucifixion. Did God control those Roman Soldiers? The Jews who were demanding Barabbas be set free? No! They chose their life and their words. But was God in charge of that whole scenario? YES!
3. God can use the worst for eternal good. Let’s continue our Jesus example. If we had been a disciple on Good Friday, we would have said, “God is dead. This is stupid and not what we thought.” But looking back we can see the amazing thing that God did!
4. God paints on a canvas bigger than you can see.
They closed the service with David Crowder’s new song, You Never Let Go. They lyrics say, “Joy and pain, sun and rain. You’re the same. You never let go.” This is how I feel about all this. The world is pain, rain and darkness. God is joy, sun and light. He doesn’t let go of us even in the middle of tragedy.
(If you were in our conversation about healing over at Jenny’s you may think I’d disagree with this sermon. I do and I don’t. I know many people left that sermon thinking, “Yup. God’s ways are higher. He makes bad things happen, and I have to go with it for the greater good.” While I agree whole-heartedly with everything Louie said, I didn’t leave the sermon thinking that. I left thinking, “God! Thank you for being in control. Thank you for being in midst of my tragedy. Thank you for making good come out of bad.”)