Troubles Will Come!

Romans 8:28

Over the years I have looked out from the pulpit at the many faces looking at me,
and I have tried to be mindful of individual as well as corporate needs.
Some sermons are directed primarily to community needs.
Needs that exist within the state or the nation, or perhaps some need in the world.
Other sermons are directly to the fact that there are individual needs in the congregation.

Very few families in our church have escaped heartaches and troubles.
Some years ago there was a popular song entitled:
"Into Each Some Rain Must Fall" by the Ink Spots.
There's no question about that.

It may be a high school student who has just failed an important test.
It may be a widow dressed in black who now faces the loneliness and devastation
of a once happy and cheerful home.
It may be a grieving father who soul has been pierced by a by the words
of an ungrateful son or daughter.
It may be a sorrowing mother who weeps silently over a tiny white casket that contains
the lifeless form of the object of her affections, and who was the center of her hopes.
It may be a broken hearted person who has been outraged at the disloyalty of a trusted friend.
It may be a distraught parents sitting in the gloom of what the world calls disgrace.

Whoever you are, and what ever your troubles, I ask you to remember
that God never promised you exemption from it, but He has promised victory in it.

Today I would like for us to see three things about trouble.
First, it is objective.
Secondly, it is ordinary.
Thirdly, it is an opportunity.

First, it is objective.

Many of our troubles are self made.
There are occasions that we get into trouble because we talk too much.
Sometimes, we get in trouble because we have overextended ourselves financially,
and we find ourselves in a financial bind.
Really, the most serious troubles that life brings are objective and impersonal,
They are not the things that you have brought about by your actions.

The afflictions of Job were not the result of sin.
He had not grievously rebelled against God.
That was not the reason for his suffering.
His afflictions were designed to prove him, to put his faith to the test,
and to show the world his unswerving loyalty to Almighty God.

I have often heard people ask, "Why did God do this?
Why did God take my loved one.
Why does God allow the injustices and equities of war to continue?
Why doesn't God put a stop to hatred, racial prejudice, and the social inequities that we see?
Why doesn't God stop the sickness and cancer and other dreaded diseases?
Why does God not stop the sorrow, the pain, and the heartaches?"

These questions are often asked.
These questions have plagued the human race since the beginning of time.

I don't begin to profess to have an answer, but I have some suggestions.
The suggestion has been made that instead of making trouble a question mark,
we should make it a exclamation point.

Let's not relate our troubles to theology, or to asking, "Why did God do this?"
Let us relate our troubles in a doxology.
In the midst of our troubles, let us praise God!
I believe that is what Paul meant in our text.

"God works all things together for good to those who love him,
who are the called according to his purpose
."

One pastor said: "So many people ask, "Why does God allow sin?
Why doesn't God clean out the corruption in government?
Why doesn't God stop things like that
?"

And he went on to say, "If God were to put a stop to sin, prejudice, injustice,
and the inequities of every kind, where would He stop?
He certainly could not stop short of you and me, and if God were to put a stop to all sin
that would pretty well clean all of us out, wouldn't it?
There wouldn't be anybody left if God were to stop death and sickness and pain and sin,
and all of the unpleasant things because all of us are contributors.
If God cleaned it up, He would have to clean us out along with it."

The apostle Paul knew about trouble.
Paul had been beaten, with a rod and a whip.
He had been stoned.
He had been jailed.
He had been shipwrecked.
He had been cursed.
He had been mocked.
He had been spat upon.
And he had been abused by those who were formerly his Jewish allies.

Yet, we find the faith of Paul to be triumphant for his faith claimed the victory
and shouted the doxology.
Paul is the one who wrote,
"God works all things together for good to those who love him,
who are the called according to his purpose
."

Paul gloried in his privilege of suffering for Jesus Christ, and he let suffering work
to the honor and glory of Jesus, whom he loved and lived to serve.
He didn't whine and complain.
He shouted in triumph: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it
."
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

Ham many times have you heard of long-time Christians say in a day of trouble,
"I know God won't put more on the then I can bear."
I have heard that said many times.

It is true that God will give us strength to bear up under it,
and to use it ultimately for His honor and glory.

This is true when we lose a loved one.
This is true when we lose our health.
This is true when we lose our job.
It is true that when we go bankrupt.
This is not God's punishment.

Rather, it is an objective experience that gives you and me the opportunity
of revealing our faith and the sufficiency of God's grace.
So when trouble comes, stop and thank God for counting you faithful
and giving you that opportunity to honor Him.

So in the first place, trouble is objective.
That means that it doesn't come necessarily because we have sinned.
The troubles of Job didn't come because of his sin.

Jesus answered this question when He was asked about a blind man.
He was asked, "Who sinned this man or his parents?"
Jesus replied "Neither one.
This whole situation exists so that God might be honored
."
That is certainly true of your life and mine.

Secondly, we must remember that troubles are ordinary.

By ordinary, I mean we can expect troubles to come.
When troubles come, it can be like a diving board.

Many of you are parents.
You have gone through the trauma of teaching your children to swim.
Some of you have seen your child walked to the end of a diving board,
stop, look around fearfully, and shout to his parents at the top of his voice,
"Hey Daddy, watch me; look at me, Mommy."

Making a horrible face and holding his nose, he jumps in, feet first,
and makes a glorious splash.
You have also seen a mature experienced swimmer stride up to the diving board,
and gracefully soar into the air, and dive neatly into the water with hardly a ripple.

There are people who react to trouble like that.
You find the immature Christian, when trouble comes, shouting for everyone to hear:
"Looked at me, look at me.
No one has suffered like I have suffered
."
Making a horrible face and acting as if God were dead, he uses the experience
by trying to call attention to himself.

Then I have also seen the mature Christian when trouble comes, accept it
as an opportunity to glorify God, and to use the trouble as a springboard
to praise His holy name.

Think of the small and the great who live with trouble!
Most of us think that if we had a vast fortune all of our problems would be solved.

I remember people who knew the Kennedy family, reputed to be worth millions of dollars,
and looked at them as though they had everything.
Have you ever stopped to think of the trouble that family has had which money cannot solve?

Three sons gave their lives in the service of their country.
Two sons were killed while in political office.
And one was killed while serving the United States in the military.

In addition to that kind of trouble, the Kennedy family had a retarded daughter
who had to have special care for many years, and they had many of the troubles
that are public knowledge that money cannot solve.

A great preacher of the Word of God was Dr. George W. Truett.
His life and ministry stand as a monument to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Early in life, Dr. Truett was in a hunting accident when his closest friend,
the Chief of Police of Dallas Texas was killed when Truett's gun was accidentally discharged,
and his best friend died as a result.

Dr. Truett carried that burden all of his life, and used it as a springboard for a closer walk with God.
Those who knew him best said it was that experience that gave him the enduring faith that he had.
It was that experience that gave him the compassion and pathos in his life
that he had in his relationship to other human beings.

Trouble is ordinary.
It comes to all of us.
It comes to the rich and the poor.
It comes to the famous.
It also comes to unknowns.

Trouble can be a wise instructor if we are willing to learn.
Many of the greatest lessons in life can be learned while in the valley of the shadow.
No one can truly know God intimately until trouble comes, and when they are overwhelmed.

That was the experience that David had in the 23rd Psalm.
When the pastures were green and the waters were still, David said,
"He leadeth me, he restoreth my soul."

When the storm clouds began to gather and the valley of the shadow was near,
he cried, "Thou art with me, thy rod, and by staff, they comfort me."
The change in pronouns indicated the more intimate relationship with God when trouble comes.

People who have it easy and never suffer are often giddy and superficial,
for it is still true that "all sunshine makes a desert."

When trouble comes, just remember that it is an ordinary part of living, for the Bible says,
"Man's days are few and full of trouble."

Thirdly, trouble is an opportunity.

The greatest opportunity that we will ever have the glorify God and to prove
our faith is in the hour of stress and storm.
When everything is rosy, and the pastures are green, and the waters are still, we can sing,
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

Pagans say, "Oh, yeah.
Anyone can sing that when everything is going well
."

What about eight of nine brothers who stood by the bedside of their dying mother,
and watched their beloved mother crossover into the corridor of death.
Without any prompting, simultaneously they burst into the doxology
-- some with broken voices and with tears streaming down their cheeks,
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

After this a pagan world will sit up, and take notice, for such a scene reveals
that their faith is secure in Christ, and such a faith sees us through all times of trouble.

When the funeral wreath is on the door, and when the job is lost, and the health is lost,
or when the fortune has vanished, Christians, we have a golden opportunity to glorify God.

Trouble may be listed on the books of the world as a liability,
but in the Christian system of bookkeeping, it will be written in as an asset.
Life's greatest opportunities are often seen through the telescope of a tear.

If we rise up from a sickbed with new gratitude to God for life and health, we have not suffered in vain.
When we stand beside a casket and you are precious loved one,
we have a new sympathy for ever other mourner -- then we have not sorrowed in vain.
Each time we walk beside an open grave, we must let the lilies speak their resurrection promise,
and remember, that because Christ lives, we shall also live.

Many years ago, I read of a Christian blacksmith who had been experiencing great troubles.
Skeptics questioned him about this.
They expressed amazement.
They asked him, "You are a Christian; how do you explain all of these troubles
that you are having
?"
With a smile on his face, he replied, "I have answered this to my own satisfaction,
and I will be happy to try to answer it to yours
."

Taking an everyday illustration from his life , he said,
"Here at my blacksmith shop, I take a piece of iron, heat it to a white hot heat,
and strike it to see if it will take temper.
Next, I plunge it into the water to change the temperature, and then back it goes into the fire.
If it will take temper, I put it on the anvil and hammer it into a useful article
."

He continued, "If that piece of iron will not take temper,
I throw it out the back door onto the scrap heap
."
He stated, "I've asked the Lord to put me in the fire, put me in the water,
put me on the anvil, anything that needs be, but O Father, for Christ's sake,
don't throw me on the scrap heap
."

A murderer is punished for a crime he has committed, but a child of God is disciplined
for the good that he can do in the future.
That's the attitude that we as Christians must have toward troubles.
Going through a period of troubles simply fits us and qualifies us to better serve our risen Christ.

Romans 8:28 assures us that,
"We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him,
who are called according to his purpose
."

God Will Take Care Of You!
"Be not dismayed whate'er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you
."

Chorus:
"God will take care of you,
Through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God Will Take Care Of You
."
-- Civilla D. Martin, 1904

Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White