Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp               7/23/07          12:01 PM          Page 1                                             A...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 2    TRUTHS THAT                      from the neck up, but    HOLD ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07   12:01 PM    Page 3    endurance” and that we         the scope of the verse. It’s    sh...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 4    needs company to keep            insight can be very helpful.  ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 5    BEARABILITY                       Matthew, followed me into   ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 6        Not a chance! As his        become brittle and fatally    fa...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 7    my existence, weighing,           to rescue godly men from    ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp       7/23/07      12:01 PM   Page 8    will work either.” It’s the total   stretch out your hand ove...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM     Page 9    dining room set. I love         she came back and said,    the ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 10    probably break 10 dozen         the people closest to him,    s...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM     Page 11    delivers Joseph and elevates    personally agonizing than    h...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 12    entrusted Himself to             Romans 12:19-21 reads:    Him...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 13        good, and sends rain          long she had been married. ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07    12:01 PM   Page 14    power of God to deal with        sane and safe as I respond    ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07    12:01 PM    Page 15    GOD’S DIVINE                     heart, “God’s grace    SUPPOR...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 16    of, and God’s glory (Jn. 9:3).   the world watching,        Tr...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 17    unimpeachable statement of      focuses on the purpose    the g...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07   12:01 PM    Page 18    ways, and His character to          When trouble comes,    us. ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07   12:01 PM     Page 19    of our enemies), righteous,     realized early on that if you ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07    12:01 PM    Page 20    anchor them in your             faith produces endurance.    he...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07    12:01 PM    Page 21    table. The doctor grabs a       wisdom from Him. But if    scal...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07    12:01 PM    Page 22    “mature and complete, not       requires that our purposes    l...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 23        Among all the                His character, and His    que...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 24    THE PURPOSE                        among many brothers    OF BR...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp    7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 25    “know so” reality. While our    we can cling in trouble.    emo...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07    12:01 PM    Page 26    God is sovereign and               It’s An All-    omniscient,...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 27    a part of God’s process          changing, limiting, applying ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 28    to the East. It took 10          a gift to America. The Statue...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07     12:01 PM     Page 29    his death and of another          thing of beauty. That’s   ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 30    thread. He had made it!          He takes all that He permits ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp      7/23/07     12:01 PM    Page 31    hurt by sin and self-will, our    sculpture David out of a   ...
HP073 Anchors pp.qxp     7/23/07     12:01 PM        Page 32    when in reality we               know God, pain is a    de...
Get your free BibleResources catalog!                            Discovery Series                            booklets can ...
You’ve finished this document.
Download and read it offline.
Upcoming SlideShare
Youth Empowerment through Art and Design
Next
Upcoming SlideShare
Youth Empowerment through Art and Design
Next
Download to read offline and view in fullscreen.

Share

Anchors in-the-storm

Download to read offline

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all
  • Be the first to like this

Anchors in-the-storm

  1. 1. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 1 ANCHORS IN CONTENTS THE STORM by Joe Stowell Truths That D Hold Us Steady. . . . . . . . 2 uring his years of Commonality . . . . . . . . . 3 pastoring, radio broadcasting, and Bearability . . . . . . . . . . . 5 the presidency of Moody Supernatural Options . . . 7 Bible Institute, Joe Stowell God’s Power . . . . . . . . . . 9 has helped many hurting God’s Divine Support . . 15 people find strength for the journey of life. A Process With With a reassuring realism A Purpose . . . . . . . . . . 15 that is rooted in the timeless The Purpose Of counsel of the Word of God, Bringing About What Is Good . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Joe proclaims a message of Go With What hope and faith that can be ours You Know. . . . . . . . . . . 24 as we travel the wonderful yet Pain Is A Process. . . . . . 26 difficult road of life. This is the kind of Pain Is A Process encouragement you will find With A Purpose . . . . . . 29 in the following pages excerpted from The Upside Of Down by Discovery House Publishers. Martin R. De Haan II Managing Editor: David Sper Cover Photo:Terry Bidgood Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture is taken from the New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. This booklet is based on a portion of The Upside Of Down by Joseph M. Stowell, published by Discovery House Publishers, a member of the RBC Ministries family. © 2007 RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan Printed in USA
  2. 2. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 2 TRUTHS THAT from the neck up, but HOLD US STEADY somehow it doesn’t make sense in my heart.” We P ilots flying in a storm assume that if it only makes or in darkness quickly sense in our heads, it’s not become disoriented and helpful. But it is. deceived by their senses. Part of the process of Pilots say that when they working through pain is are flying without visibility, learning to hang on to what they can be flying in a tight we have from the neck up. circle while their senses When our hearts are broken assure them that they are and hurt, there won’t seem flying straight ahead. When to be a pipeline from the a pilot becomes disoriented brain to the emotions. That’s in this way, his body is okay. Just don’t let go of telling him one thing and what you know. That’s the his instruments are telling key to making it in the midst him something completely of difficulty. That’s exactly different. To keep flying when God’s Word says, safely, he must rely on “Consider it pure joy . . . the instruments in his because you know that . . .” plane. Those instruments (Jas. 1:2-3). will tell him what is actually What can we know in and absolutely true. the midst of trials? What are What we know to be the reliable instruments that true when we’re in trouble track us successfully in the is the instrument panel that midst of difficulty? provides certainty regardless In James 1:3-4, the of how we feel. People who stabilizing truth is that we are hurting have often told can know that “the testing me, “I know what’s true of [our] faith produces 2 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  3. 3. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 3 endurance” and that we the scope of the verse. It’s should “let endurance have interesting to note that the its perfect result, so that word temptation is from the [we] may be perfect and same word group we find in complete, lacking in James 1:2 (italics added): nothing” (NASB). James is “Consider it pure joy, my saying that we can know brothers, whenever you that pain is a process with face trials of many kinds.” a purpose. That specific Actually 1 Corinthians 10:13 piece of knowledge will could read, “No trouble has enable us to implement seized you except what is the joy response. common to man.” There are at least six This portion of verse 13 mental anchors in Scripture provides the first principle that give stability in the we need to rely on in the midst of trouble. face of problems. It’s the principle of commonality. COMMONALITY You can be absolutely sure Three of those that you are not the only one “knowable” truths who has gone through this are found in 1 Corinthians kind of problem. You haven’t 10:13. The first portion of been singled out by God to that verse reads, “No be the one individual in the temptation has seized you history of the human race except what is common to selected to experience a man.” Unfortunately, we situation like this. There tend to think of the word were others before you, and temptation only in regard to there will be others after you. sin. Although that is a part It’s been said that of its meaning, limiting the misery loves company. term to sin greatly reduces What is true is that misery 3 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  4. 4. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 4 needs company to keep insight can be very helpful. us from terrible aloneness, Look for heroes who have to enable us to find others made it through with their who have struggled against hands held high in victory. the same dragons, and to What you’re suffering is prepare us to help others common to others. who are yet to be And as God, by His ambushed. grace and in His time, In the American church, begins to put the pieces of we have privileges that few your growth and His glory other believers around the together, you can fulfill the world have. One of them truth of commonality by is good Christian literature. becoming a support to Most Christian bookstores someone else who is looking today have quality material and listening for that “Can I available about people help? I’ve been there too!” who have walked through A tremendous frustration dark times—biographies of for me as a pastor was to suffering heroes, and specific stand with people who were titles on sudden tragedy, experiencing terrible pain. abuse, broken homes, I learned early on that disappointments, and a I should not say, “I variety of other problems. understand.” Because I If you are suffering didn’t understand. I had through a trial, you should never been there myself. be able to find someone who But then some special has been there before, who person who had been there has struggled and come to before would walk up and know grace, growth, and put his arm around this glory. Networking with others suffering soldier and say, as a point of support and “I understand. Let’s talk.” 4 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  5. 5. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 5 BEARABILITY Matthew, followed me into The second reality is the the garage and nobly said, truth of bearability. First “Daddy, let me help!” (Why Corinthians 10:13 goes on to is it that when children are say, “And God is faithful; He too young to help they want will not let you be tempted to help you, and when they beyond what you can bear.” finally get old enough to That statement guarantees be constructive, they aren’t that God never gives us interested?) “Sure, Matt,” anything more than what we was my reply. This precious can bear. It’s like the country little boy took two cartons of road that has a sign posted bottles and struggled to get before a bridge, “Load Limit them into the car. 5 Tons.” God, who knows Off we went to the our “load limit,” limits the grocery store. I got a cart load He permits us to carry. and piled the bottles in, One of the states in put some under my arms, which we lived had a bottle and started to the store. return policy. Each empty Matt had his two cartons. pop bottle was worth 10 Halfway across the parking cents. Neither Martie nor lot he set his down, looked I especially liked to take the at me, and exhaustedly bottles back. This meant said, “Daddy, I can’t do that they accumulated it. They’re too heavy.” I in our garage, leaving a replied, “Listen, Matthew. veritable savings account You started the project. You in pop bottles. One evening wanted to help. Now buck when the stacks of bottles up and do it right. Pick had gotten intolerably high, those bottles up. I’ll count I decided to take them back. to five.” Our then preschooler son, Do you think I said that? 5 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  6. 6. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 6 Not a chance! As his become brittle and fatally father, I understood his broken when, by poor limits. I picked up Matt’s responses, we permit cartons and put them into bitterness to add extra the grocery cart. Now if I, weight to the load of our as an earthly, fallen father struggle. would do that for my child, There’s a particularly how much more will my strategic side to this Father in heaven, who principle that we dare not intimately knows me, be miss. All of us have had the willing to never permit feeling at times that God anything more than what really hasn’t done anything I can bear. You can know for us in a long, long time. that. If He permits trouble We see Him at work for to come into your life, it’s others, yet much of our life bearable. seems strangely lacking in It’s not that our terms of the supernatural. trouble doesn’t often We tend to sour and think seem unbearable. It often that though God may be at does. It’s that we can know work somewhere, “He’s not that if God has permitted it, at work in my life!” in His intimate knowledge Actually, if God did of who we are (and He nothing more than redeem knows us better than we me, He’s already done far know ourselves), we can be more than I deserve. That’s assured that it is indeed not reason enough to give Him beyond our capacity to bear. praise and glory for the rest In this guarantee is the of my life. Yet beyond that, promise that though we may He’s active every day in become bent, we will never my life as He stands as be broken. Our lives only the sentinel at the gate of 6 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  7. 7. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 7 my existence, weighing, to rescue godly men from measuring, and excluding trials.” It guarantees that everything that exceeds my when I get into trouble, load limit. Those are the though I may feel as though things I know nothing about. I am trapped in a room with Periodically, as I fall asleep, four walls closing in on me I like to thank God for the and no windows or doors for things He did for me today escape, God already knows that I am unaware of. When how He is going to deliver there is nothing on your me. He is in the business of thanksgiving list, thank Him making ways of escape. that He has guaranteed that When David was being your struggles are bearable hunted by Saul, he found and that He has kept from himself in a cold cave crying you things that would have out to God, “How long, O been crushing blows. Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You SUPERNATURAL hide Your face from me? OPTIONS How long shall I take The third reality we can counsel in my soul, having know for sure is that God sorrow in my heart all the has supernatural options day? How long will my available for delivering us enemy be exalted over me?” from trouble. The closing (Ps. 13:1-2 NASB). portion of 1 Corinthians Like David, when we feel 10:13 says, “But when you that God has forgotten us, are tempted, He will also we are prone to plan our provide a way out so that own escape. We say, “I you can stand up under it.” know what I’ll do. I’ll—no, I love 2 Peter 2:9, which that won’t work. Here’s what says, “The Lord knows how I’ll do—no, I don’t think that 7 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  8. 8. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 8 will work either.” It’s the total stretch out your hand over despair of seeming to be the sea to divide the water locked in with no way out. so that the Israelites can The children of Israel, go through the sea on dry finally delivered from Egypt ground” (vv.15-16). We through God’s performance know the rest of the story. of phenomenal miracles, The sea parted and the stood with their backs to the Israelites walked across. Red Sea watching the dust The Egyptian army followed, of the approaching Egyptian God closed the sea, and host on the horizon. Their they sank like stones. response? “God has options God’s people were free. we never dreamed of in The trouble was past. God Egypt. Remember those 10 knows how to deliver the plagues? We never dreamed righteous from trouble. God would deliver us like I recall counseling a that. Can you imagine what woman who had just come He’s going to do now? This to know Christ. She was is going to be spectacular.” interested in becoming Unfortunately they said, God’s kind of woman, so “It would have been better we were studying passages for us to serve the Egyptians of Scripture that had to do than to die in the desert!” with what a biblical wife is (Ex. 14:12). like and talking about the Yet God had a plan to whole matter of gracious deliver them that they never cooperation with her would have dreamed of. husband’s leadership. She God said to Moses, “Why came to me one day and are you crying out to Me? said, “Pastor, I’ve got a Tell the Israelites to move major problem. I have been on. Raise your staff and saving up my money for a 8 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  9. 9. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 9 dining room set. I love she came back and said, the one my mother-in-law “You’re not going to believe has and am looking for this, but my mother-in-law something just like it. After called me and said that she I’ve gone through the used had bought a brand-new furniture ads in the paper, dining room set and wanted my husband and I drive to know if I wanted hers.” around and look at them. God does not always But he doesn’t seem to be work exactly like that. real interested. He’s so But it’s clear that He has insensitive. We’ve been to lots of different options of a couple of places where deliverance. When we are I really liked the furniture, faithful and patient through but he just says, ‘No, I trouble, God will, in His don’t like those.’ ” time, exercise options of I encouraged her to be deliverance that are far patient and wait for the Lord beyond what we ever to work in His way. The next dreamed. week she came back and said it was worse. She said, GOD’S POWER “The worst thing about it is The fourth truth we that it’s my money and he know is that God’s power couldn’t care less what kind is at work in our difficulty. of furniture we have in the I have a friend who has a house. He doesn’t know if wonderfully engineered car. we have French Provincial When we come to a light or Early Salvation Army. and wait for it to change, He’s basically interested in I feel like telling him, “Start his newspaper, easy chair, the car.” It sits there with no and the TV.” vibration or noise from the A couple of weeks later engine. If I had that car, I’d 9 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  10. 10. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 10 probably break 10 dozen the people closest to him, starters thinking it had gone his own family, he was sold dead. If it weren’t for the into Egypt as a slave. Rising tachometer sitting at idling to a place of influence in RPMs, you’d think the Potiphar’s house, Joseph power was gone. daily faced Potiphar’s wife’s Much of the time, efforts to seduce him. we don’t notice that God’s The Egyptians prided power is engineering our themselves on having trouble toward resolution. beautiful, sensual wives. Sometimes we see very little Potiphar, being one of the evidence of His work. Yet leading bureaucrats in the His power is busy at work in land, no doubt had a wife at least three dimensions. who was rather spectacular. God’s Power To He was off on business Bring Good Out Of much of the time, so she Bad. Dimension number was probably lonely. Joseph, one is the claim of Romans who was young and strong, 8:28, where we are assured was running the household of God’s power to bring that every day. One day she which is bad to that which grabs him, and he runs. is good. It’s His phenomenal God looks down on Joseph ability to take the worst and says, “Joseph, nice possible circumstances going. You’re My kind of and transform them and man!” But he gets 3 years ultimately bring good out in the slammer. For 3 years of that which is terrible. nobody remembers him. If you ever get really (In those years God may disappointed or discouraged, have been extracting the read the story of Joseph in arrogance from his life.) Genesis 37–50. Betrayed by Then, in His time, God 10 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  11. 11. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 11 delivers Joseph and elevates personally agonizing than him to the second highest the moment when the Son of position in the empire. God was hung as a criminal? There was a famine in All of hell rejoiced for 3 days. the land and his treacherous Satan had won the day. brothers came to him for He had exterminated the food. Now their lives were in conquering Son. Then his hands. In time, Joseph’s God turned that which father, who had moved to was incredibly bad into that Egypt, dies, and the brothers which was wonderfully good. were fearful that Joseph was Redemption from sin. Hell going to kill them in revenge canceled and heaven gained. (Gen. 50:15). They came Unfortunately, unwilling cowering before Joseph, only to wait patiently, we often to hear him say, “Don’t be get in the way by attempting afraid. Am I in the place of to take the project into our God? You intended to harm own hands. And while God me, but God intended it for is trying to do His good good to accomplish what is work, we’re down here now being done, the saving messing up His project with of many lives” (vv.19-20). vengeance, bitterness, and God had used His power to other counterproductive turn the very worst moments responses. We need to of Joseph’s life into that walk in Christ’s footsteps, which was good. who “ ‘committed no sin, This capacity of God to and no deceit was found bring good out of evil was in His mouth.’ When they demonstrated in the cross. hurled their insults at Him, Was there ever a moment in He did not retaliate; when the history of humanity that He suffered, He made was so brutal, unfair, and no threats. Instead, He 11 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  12. 12. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 12 entrusted Himself to Romans 12:19-21 reads: Him who judges justly” Do not take revenge, my (1 Pet. 2:22-23). friends, but leave room God’s Power for God’s wrath, for it is To Deal With Our written: “It is Mine to Enemies. The second avenge; I will repay,” says kind of power at work in the Lord. On the contrary: the midst of trouble is “If your enemy is hungry, God’s power to deal with feed him; if he is thirsty, our enemies. Joseph said give him something to to his brothers, “Am I in the drink. In doing this, you place of God?” (Gen. 50:19). will heap burning coals That’s a very important on his head.” Do not be question. Romans 12:17 overcome by evil, but instructs, “Do not repay overcome evil with good. anyone evil for evil. Be It’s liberating to know careful to do what is right in that God will deal with the eyes of everybody.” The those who cause trouble in wonderful truth of this was my life. That releases me to demonstrated when Joseph love them. Jesus said: admitted he had no business You have heard that it getting back at his brothers, was said, “Love your because God is the one neighbor and hate your who carries out justice. enemy.” But I tell you: We experience emotional Love your enemies liberation from our enemies and pray for those who when we say, “God, they persecute you, that you are Your business. You deal may be sons of your with them.” We are then Father in heaven. He released to be like God and causes His sun to rise love our enemies in return. on the evil and the 12 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  13. 13. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 13 good, and sends rain long she had been married. on the righteous and the It had been more than 40 unrighteous. If you love years. I have never in my those who love you, what life, nor would I ever, reward will you get? Are counsel anyone to break not even the tax collectors up a home. But as she doing that? And if you went on and on about how greet only your brothers, miserable he was, I finally what are you doing said, “Why have you lived more than others? Do with him so long if he’s so not even pagans do that? bad? Did you ever think Be perfect, therefore, as about just checking out? I’m your heavenly Father is not advising it, but I’d like perfect (Mt. 5:43-48). to know what you think.” Again, our problem She said, “Oh, no! I’d never is that we get in the way. walk out of this marriage.” God has not equipped us I thought that was an or given us the capacity to honorable attitude until she deal justice and vengeance continued. It was evident to our enemies. That’s why that she hated him so much it always gets messed up that walking out of the when we try. He is the only marriage would have meant one who has that right and that she couldn’t torment the power and wisdom to him anymore. For her, that do it well. was a reason for staying. I’ll never forget an Why would she want to give older woman who came up the opportunity to shred to my office and heatedly her enemy at every turn? dumped on me a long list God has called us to a of objections about her better way. In the midst of husband. I asked how trouble, we can count on the 13 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  14. 14. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 14 power of God to deal with sane and safe as I respond those who are against us. properly to Him and to And we are then free to be the trial. like our Father in heaven— The psalmist often says free to bless those who curse that God holds us with His us, to pray for those who right hand. The “right hand spitefully use us, and to love of God” is an Old Testament our enemies, because the metaphor for strength. Think power of God will ultimately about holding a child’s hand deal justly with them. while you are walking. I God’s Power don’t know what it is, but To Hold On To Us. somehow a child can be The third kind of power walking along beside you, we can count on is found and all of a sudden her legs in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9: “We just fly out from under her— have this treasure in jars for no reason at all. But of clay to show that this all- even though she’s off surpassing power is from balance and in danger of God and not from us. We falling, your power keeps are hard pressed on every her from “destruction.” side, but not crushed; What a wonderful perplexed, but not in picture! God holds me with despair; persecuted, but His powerful right hand as not abandoned; struck I walk the sidewalk of life. down, but not destroyed.” If I trip and both feet go I love knowing that God out from under me, it’s okay values the preciousness of because He’s holding me. my being. Though I may We can count on His power go to the edge, in His to ultimately and finally wonderful, sovereign power protect us and keep us from He will always keep me complete destruction. 14 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  15. 15. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 15 GOD’S DIVINE heart, “God’s grace SUPPORT is sufficient.” Like the The fifth truth we can everlasting arms, God’s affirm in difficult times is grace comes under us the reality of God’s divine and wraps around us. It support. In 2 Corinthians overtakes us, and we are 12:7-9, Paul tells of his supported. struggles with a thorn His grace is His in the flesh. He prayed unmerited help to us. In three times to be relieved trouble, it will be there. from it, but to no avail. How much? Is there a So he submitted to the problem that is bigger than lifelong affliction and, with the reservoir of God’s grace? a positive spirit, resolved to The answer is no. That’s let God’s strength be made why Paul said, “[God’s] strong in his weakness, grace is sufficient” (12:9). discovering that God’s grace was sufficient to support A PROCESS WITH him through the trial. A PURPOSE In my many years in the The sixth principle we can pastorate, I have stood by count on during times of people who have endured difficulty is that God uses phenomenal suffering and trouble as a process with a trouble. And I have to tell purpose in our lives. God you, a lot of times I walk never wastes our sorrows. away and say, “I can’t Any pain He permits is to believe how well they’re be used by Him as a doing.” I think if that were process with a purpose. me, I would be a basket There are two biblical case. Then I hear Paul’s purposes: our growth, which confidence ringing in my is what James 1:2-4 speaks 15 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  16. 16. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 16 of, and God’s glory (Jn. 9:3). the world watching, Trouble attracts the we can demonstrate the attention of people around presence and power of us. Hebrews 10:33 says, God in our lives. Trouble “Partly by being made a becomes a platform for public spectacle through God’s opportunity to glorify reproaches and tribulations, Himself and show Himself and partly by becoming strong. sharers with those who I had the opportunity were so treated” (NASB). One to listen and watch as Joni Christmas somebody gave Eareckson Tada told of one of our children a plastic her deep love for God fireman’s hat. It was one and her joy in Christ. She of those gifts you wish they was paralyzed from the hadn’t given. It had a red shoulders down, but her plastic flashing light on top face beamed as she sat of it and a battery-operated in her wheelchair. It was siren. Our kids ran all over clear that God was real, the house with this siren and satisfying, fulfilling, and light going. You couldn’t help enabling in the midst of but notice their presence. her lifelong trial. It was a It’s like that with credible statement to the trouble. As soon as trouble reality and power of God hits our lives, the lights and His grace. Whereas start flashing and everybody remorse, self-pity, and starts watching us. That’s bitterness are the products why it’s such a wonderful of nonbiblical responses to opportunity to process suffering, the evidence in the trial in the biblical her life of God’s power manner so that as a “public and presence revealed spectacle” in trouble, with through her pain was an 16 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  17. 17. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 17 unimpeachable statement of focuses on the purpose the grace and glory of God. of enabling our growth Suffering is a platform in character and in for the display of God’s competency for living. James power. Sometimes that 1:2-4 states that we should power is displayed by His count it all joy, knowing that miraculous deliverance, and the process will contribute sometimes it is displayed by to a life that is becoming the grace He gives to us to “mature and complete, not positively endure as we lacking anything.” reflect forgiveness and How does that happen? peace during an ongoing, The text goes on to speak sometimes lifelong, problem. of the four-step process When trials put us on that leads to our growth: public display, it’s our the testing of our faith, the privilege, through biblical testing of our endurance, the responses, to turn the tables testing of our yieldedness, on Satan’s attempt to deface and our reliance on prayer. God’s glory. Our troubles The Testing Of Our allow us to demonstrate Faith. This comes when clearly God’s worthiness trouble challenges our faith to be worshiped, regardless; and calls it to the witness to give Him our willing stand. What is faith? Faith is allegiance, regardless; and our unflinching reliance on to demonstrate the reality God. I’m glad that God is of His presence, power, and not a slippery commodity peace in the midst of pain. that slides out of our hands Not only is pain a or a moving target we cannot process with the purpose of trust. God doesn’t play hide demonstrating God’s glory, and seek with us. He has but it’s also a process that revealed His promises, His 17 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  18. 18. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 18 ways, and His character to When trouble comes, us. They are reliable, solid, by faith I cling to His and clearly true. They do ways. At such times we not change. These are the pray, “Heavenly Father, I handles that we cling to in know what You’ve done in trouble. the past and how You have When trouble comes, responded in real lives in by faith I cling to His Scripture. Since that’s the promises: kind of God You are, I’ll Never will I leave you; hang on to You through this. never will I forsake you I will not become bitter or (Heb. 13:5). manipulative. I will simply And we know that in all permit You to do Your work things God works for the in Your time,” and by faith good of those who love we hang on to that. Him, who have been When trouble comes, called according to His by faith I cling to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). character. First Corinthians Perseverance must finish 10:13 says, “God is faithful.” its work so that you may By faith we hang on to the be mature and complete, fact that God will be faithful. not lacking anything He’s not going to show up at (Jas. 1:4). the end of your trouble and Even when there’s say, “I’m really sorry, but no light at the end of the I’ve had a busy 3 weeks. tunnel, when you are in a I just couldn’t quite get deepening darkness and around to your situation.” your heart is broken, these His character is firm and promises are true and will reliable, fully worthy of our provide your source of confidence. God is loving, stability. just (which helps in terms 18 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  19. 19. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 19 of our enemies), righteous, realized early on that if you gracious, and merciful. put your thumb on a wet When troubles come, watermelon seed and apply our faith is tested. It’s a little pressure, it will spurt called to the witness stand out and go flying across the to demonstrate whether or table. It’s especially fun if not we will believe and you can score a bull’s-eye non-negotiably apply on your sister. His promises, ways, and A lot of us respond to character to every situation trouble in the same way. Life of life. When we give in to begins pressing on us, and lesser responses, it reflects what is our response? “Get the weakness of our faith. me out of here! Lord, solve The Testing Of Our this problem. Immediately.” Endurance. This comes But when God says no, about when we apply the instead of trying to wiggle “faith response” to our out, by faith we claim God situation. If we cling and hang in there as faith tenaciously to God, we produces endurance. Staying won’t give up or give in. under the pressure with a Interestingly, the English good spirit is an important word endurance is made up part of the divine process of two Greek words: hupo as He works toward His and meno. Hupo means productive end in our lives. “under”; meno means “to In times of trouble, it remain.” Endurance is the helps to list specific relevant capacity to remain under truths about God and match the stress until God’s work them with the supporting is done. passages. Memorizing Our family loves to eat and praying through those watermelon. Our children sections of Scripture will 19 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  20. 20. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 20 anchor them in your faith produces endurance. heart and mind. A pledge And let endurance have to wait for God to fulfill its perfect result, so those truths in your life that you may be perfect while you unflinchingly and complete, lacking in obey and trust Him is the nothing” (Jas. 1:2-4 NASB). essence of endurance. “And let endurance Look with anticipation have its perfect result” is for grace, growth, and glory, the command in the text. and rejoice in any signal It’s like surgery. When the that the process is working surgeon comes in and tells in your life. Regularly check us we need an operation, your commitment. Have you we say, “Okay, I’ll endure started trusting in yourself the process and take the and your own ways? Have pain.” We have confidence you become manipulative, in the doctor and believe resentful, bitter, cutting, that it’s ultimately for our unforgiving? Or are you by good. Imagine the following faith clinging to God and situation: We are wheeled responding in a biblical into the operating room and way? the staff begins to prepare The Testing Of us for the surgery. When the Our Yieldedness. After surgeon walks in, we watch exercising unflinching and as he walks past the trays persisting faith in Him, the of razor-sharp scalpels. The third dynamic is to yield nurse puts his gloves on him to the process. “Consider and then rolls the tray with it all joy, my brethren, the scalpels on it toward the when you encounter operating table. At that point various trials, knowing we mutter under our breath, that the testing of your “No way,” and leap off the 20 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  21. 21. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 21 table. The doctor grabs a wisdom from Him. But if scalpel and tries to operate we’re so distressed that we as he chases us around the can’t pray or don’t know operating room. how to pray, Romans 8:26 Obviously that would assures us that the Holy never happen. Yet many Spirit takes the groanings of us give God that kind we can’t even utter and of trouble when He seeks brings them before the to produce growth in us Father, untangles all their through a trial in our confusion, and lays them lives. That’s why James 1:4 before Him on our behalf requires that we yield to the in accord with His will. process. We must resist the Prayer in the midst of initial impulse to jump off trouble helps us see God the table. We need, instead, again. It gets our eyes off to place unwavering faith our problems and focuses in the divine surgeon us afresh on God, who is all- and endure, knowing that powerful, merciful, and just. ultimately it will culminate Prayer reveals things in a way that we can claim about myself. When I pray joy and praise for the in the midst of trouble, I process. may say, “Lord, you know Our Reliance On this mess with Bob and Prayer. Last, James tells Sally. Well, they . . . ” us to pray. Verse 5 says, “If Often the Lord interrupts any of you lacks wisdom, he and says, “Yes, I know should ask God.” There will about them. But can we talk be plenty of times when we about you?” Prayer has a don’t know what to do or way of revealing things in how to respond. We need my own life that need to to go to the Father and seek be faced if I am to become 21 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  22. 22. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 22 “mature and complete, not requires that our purposes lacking anything” (Jas. 1:4). for life be like His purposes I find that God regularly for us. If our purpose in responds, “I’ll take care of life is to be comfortable, them. Let’s talk about you.” well liked, happy, and When I’m in prayer, I’m to accumulate enough often reminded of biblical money to buy the things principles that are relevant we want, then we will and true. His Word starts never find hope in coming back to me and I’m trouble. These are not reminded of passages and God’s driving agendas for principles I need to apply. our existence. Character This is wisdom from is more important to God God. Wisdom about Him, than cash, convenience, or wisdom about me, wisdom comfort. Our competency about His Word. “If any is of greater value to Him of you lacks wisdom, he than simply going through should ask God” (Jas. 1:5). life blissful yet unprepared There’s never an easy and functionally unable way to go through trouble, to make a contribution but there’s always a right to people’s lives and to way—by counting it joy the cause of eternity. because of what we The measure of how know to be true about productive trials have been the process, by exercising in our lives is how much faith, by yielding to the more we are like Jesus Christ process, and by praying now than we were when the for wisdom. trouble began. Pain is a Being committed to the process with a divine fact that difficulties are a purpose, and God never process with a purpose wastes our sorrows. 22 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  23. 23. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 23 Among all the His character, and His question marks that ways; yielding to the invade our hearts and process; praying for wisdom heads in times of trouble, and enduring under the the certainties revolve pressure until there is around the answers to measurable growth in both who and what. character and competency Who? It is God and me. and a reflection of His glory. The reliable, trustworthy The principles of God working in me and growth and glory are often through me with an demonstrated in Scripture. outpouring of His grace The penetrating theme of the until my growth and His New Testament is that God glory are realized. will do what is necessary to What? My knowledge bring us to the likeness of of what is clearly true and His Son. His purpose reliable. Choosing to bypass may be to “grow” us to be alternate, unproductive, and capable and productive by destructive responses, we using problems to reduce choose to reckon our trial the risks that we bring to ultimately to be a thing the kingdom. Growth may of joy in His powerful and be fostered by the difficulty creative hand. Choosing that finally forces us to be not to permit the baggage God-sufficient rather than of our feelings to drive our self-sufficient. And His glory responses, we direct our through us will only become reactions by what we know evident as we seek to turn to be true, counting it all every attack of the adversary to be a thing of joy as we into a clear testimony of cling by faith to what is true God’s worth and work in about Him: His promises, us and through us. 23 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  24. 24. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 24 THE PURPOSE among many brothers OF BRINGING (Rom. 8:28-29). The guarantee of Romans ABOUT WHAT 8:28-29 contains three truths IS GOOD that fortify us in difficulty. S urgery. Many of us have experienced it. GO WITH WHAT It is inconvenient, YOU KNOW painful, unpleasant, Trouble brings with it a frightening, and disruptive. bucketful of emotions: Yet we choose to submit to despair, hurt, revenge, it. Why? Because the pain is self-pity, anger, sorrow, worth the gain. It promises and a dozen other feelings. to produce a good result. If we’re not careful, those God’s Word assures the feelings can dominate us believer that all pain is a and disorient us from what process with a purpose. In we know. Emotions derail fact, God guarantees that our thoughts and detour our the purpose will have a commitments. How we feel good outcome. tends to distort what we And we know that in know. all things God works for Our resource in pain is the good of those who not what we feel but what love Him, who have we know. When Romans been called according 8:28 begins with the words to His purpose. For “And we know,” it literally those God foreknew He means that we have an also predestined to be absolute knowledge. Our conformed to the likeness knowledge in pain is not of His Son, that He a “hope so” or “maybe” might be the firstborn or “might be”—but a 24 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  25. 25. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 25 “know so” reality. While our we can cling in trouble. emotions are like quicksand, What do we know? We knowledge is bedrock. know that trouble develops Notice that each major character (Rom. 5:3-5) and section on difficulty in that trials equip us to be Scripture begins with an more useful (Jas. 1:2-5). appeal to what we know. Because of Romans 8:28, “We also rejoice in our we know that good is the sufferings, because we ultimate purpose of the know that suffering process of pain. Knowing produces perseverance; and clinging to what we perseverance, character; know make the difference. and character, hope” (Rom. Truth is our stability factor 5:3-4). As we have seen, in trouble. James 1:2-4 directs us to A friend told me about “consider it pure joy . . . the devastating months whenever you face trials of of depression that she had many kinds, because you gone through. Nothing had know that the testing of your seemed to help. She said faith develops perseverance. that the only thing that kept Perseverance must finish her from breaking was “the its work so that you may truth that heaven is real.” be mature and complete, That basic bit of knowledge not lacking anything.” kept her head above the When our emotions jade swirling flood of her our perspectives, God’s emotional despair. truth doesn’t change. Another friend, whose Truth is truth regardless child had died 2 months of how we feel. before, told me, “It hurts God’s truth gives us more now than it did then. a unique edge to which All we have is the fact that 25 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  26. 26. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 26 God is sovereign and It’s An All- omniscient,” he said as his Encompassing voice broke. That’s pretty Process. Since God basic, but it was enough works “in all things,” to get him through. we are guaranteed that As God’s people, we whatever He permits— have the advantage of truth whether pain or pleasure, in pain. It’s a definite edge bane or blessing—He is able in trouble. It’s our resource. to use it all to transform us. Cling to it. Beautiful automobiles are especially alluring. They PAIN IS A PROCESS become beautiful and useful Romans 8:28 goes on to through a process. The remind us that pain is a process involves a design process toward an ultimate concept that is reached good. Foundational to the through bending, banging, acceptance of pain is the shaping, heating, riveting, awareness that God has fusing, and tightening. us in process. None of It’s a slow process as the us is what God wants us assembly line moves at an to be. Though God loves almost imperceptible speed, and accepts us the way but it’s a specific process we are, He sees all that we with a desirable goal. can become. Pleasure has Hundreds of component a way of making us satisfied parts make up the whole. with ourselves. Pain catches Some are unsightly and our attention so that God added under great pressure, can develop us into His whereas others beautify; yet dream for our lives. each is essential to the That process is defined process. in several dimensions: The truth that pain is 26 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  27. 27. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 27 a part of God’s process changing, limiting, applying is seen in the context pressure, providing strength, (Rom. 8:18,23,26). To wish rearranging. God is the one to be transformed by God working all things together without pain in the process for good. is to expect a hunk of Auguste Bartholdi shapeless steel to become went from France to Egypt a beautiful and useful in 1856. He was awestruck commodity without the by the grandeur of the trauma of the assembly line. pyramids, the magnitude It’s A Continuous of the mighty Nile, and the Process. In Romans 8:28, beauty of the stately Sphinx the phrase “God works” of the desert. His artistic indicates a present, mind was stimulated. While continuous process. God on this trip he met another will never abandon His visitor to Egypt, Ferdinand purpose for us, nor the de Lesseps. Ferdinand was process to accomplish it. there to sell an idea to cut I have many unfinished a canal from the Red Sea to projects in my basement— the Mediterranean Sea that things I tore apart to restore would save merchant ships and antiques that I have the long journey around the begun to refinish. With God, tip of the African continent. I am never an abandoned Auguste was taken by the project. concept. He decided to It’s A Divinely design a lighthouse to stand Supervised Process. at the entrance to this canal. Note that Romans 8:28 It wouldn’t be an says, “God works.” Behind ordinary lighthouse. It the scenes of my life story is would symbolize the light of the hand of God—moving, Western civilization flowing 27 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  28. 28. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 28 to the East. It took 10 a gift to America. The Statue years to build the Suez of Liberty lighting the New Canal. And for 10 years York harbor demonstrates Auguste worked on his idea. that what happens in the He drew plans, made clay midst of disappointments models, and scrapped plan can often be a prelude to after plan. Then he had the good things beyond our right one. It was the perfect imagination. design. If, in the normal course There was only one of life, things that seem to problem. Who would be disappointing, difficult, pay for it? He looked and defeating can be everywhere, but no one processed into something was interested. The Suez magnificent and significant, Canal was opened—without how much surer is this a lighthouse. Auguste went process with the hand of back to France defeated. our wise and powerful God Ten years of toil and effort guaranteeing the outcome. were wasted. We must take caution, You would have liked his however, against slipping idea. It was a colossal robed into an irresponsible lady that stood taller than fatalism that sees God as the Sphinx in the desert. She both the source and the held the books of justice in processor of pain. Within one hand and a torch lifted the “all things” of Romans high in the other to light the 8:28 are the reality of entrance to the canal. human choices and After Auguste returned consequences. to France, the French In her book Affliction, government sought his Edith Schaeffer tells of a artistic services to design child who fell off a cliff to 28 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  29. 29. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 29 his death and of another thing of beauty. That’s who slipped through the ice what we know. into a frozen lake. Did God As Paul affirmed, “He push the child from the who began a good work cliff? Did God push the in you will carry it on to boy through the ice? No, completion until the day these tragedies occurred of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). because we live in a fallen place and are a part of a PAIN IS A PROCESS fallen race. It was a choice WITH A PURPOSE to venture too close to the The third dynamic is that edge of the cliff, a choice God has no process without not to check the safety purpose. The guarantee of of the ice. But it is the Romans 8:28 states that we powerful, creative hand know that God processes of God that takes these in us all things toward good. tragic settings of life and That’s His purpose. For the works them all together for believer, there’s no pain good—regardless. without the purpose of a Life is a lot like a jigsaw good result. puzzle. Often our lives can I stood in the church seem like a thousand pieces foyer and said to a set of spilled onto the table. relieved parents, “God has They seem to be confused, certainly been good to spare disoriented, senseless, and you your son.” The night tragic. But then God comes before, their son had been in and carefully, wisely, in His a terrible auto accident. He way and in His time, puts was rushed to a hospital the pieces together. In the more than an hour away for end, the puzzle is something special treatment. All night that makes sense—a good he hung on to life by a 29 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  30. 30. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 30 thread. He had made it! He takes all that He permits Standing next to his and makes it a part of the parents was another couple process to bring us to reflect whose daughter had been the image of Christ. killed in a car wreck a few When our family was years before. It was then at a conference years ago, that it hit me. Had God not Matthew, our youngest been good to them? What child, fell and broke his was I saying about my wrist. I have never seen definition of “good”? What anything like it. His arm must my comment have took a sharp left at his wrist meant to the parents who and then turned again to were less fortunate? resume its normal journey to God defines good for us his hand. It was grotesque. in Romans 8:29. The text We rushed Matthew says that this process is for to the hospital where the those who have been called doctor began to set his according to God’s purpose. wrist. I watched as the What is God’s purpose? doctor pulled and twisted According to verse 29 it is to Matthew’s arm. The doctor conform us to the image of began to perspire, and I felt His Son—and that is good. like jumping up and pulling Anything that will the doctor off my son. But bring us to a more accurate I simply sat and watched. reflection of the quality of I knew that Matt’s arm Christ in and through our needed to be restored to its lives is good. Whatever it original design and purpose. takes, pain or pleasure, is But pain and several weeks good if it conforms us to of inconvenience would be His likeness. That’s God’s a part of the process. goal in the process of pain. When we are broken and 30 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  31. 31. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 31 hurt by sin and self-will, our sculpture David out of a good and loving God must hunk of stone. Other artists often reset us too. Set back take colored oils and canvas to His intended purpose, the and create masterpieces. image of His Son. Set back Beams of steel are bent and to a heart of compassion, welded to create strange- righteousness, and love. Set looking monuments in our into the original purpose of city squares. But I have His glory through us. never seen an artist even God not only has the attempt to make something intention of conforming us beautiful from ashes. Only into what is good, but He God can do that (Isa. 61:3). also has the power to God is able to bring complete the project. the love of Christ into our I love what the prophet lives. It may take some Isaiah said when he wrote brokenness. It may require that God would “comfort that we go through a time of all who mourn, to console need to become sensitized those who mourn in Zion, to to the needs of others. If it give them beauty for ashes, requires pain to do that, the oil of joy for mourning, then it is good. the garment of praise for Can we weep with those the spirit of heaviness; that who weep? God may need they may be called trees of to stain our cheeks with righteousness, the planting tears so that we can of the Lord, that He may be genuinely empathize as glorified” (Isa. 61:2b-3 NKJV). Christ does. God is able to restore the Are we self-sufficient? years that the locusts have The tragedy of our affluent eaten (Joel 2:25). culture is that we rarely Michelangelo carved the sense our need for God, 31 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  32. 32. HP073 Anchors pp.qxp 7/23/07 12:01 PM Page 32 when in reality we know God, pain is a desperately do need process with a certain Him. God may need to purpose. We don’t make strip away some of our it through tough times. security, as painful as We are made through that may be, to conform tough times—made into us to the God-sufficiency the beauty of Christ that Christ displayed. Jesus. That would be good. And that is good. Are we faithless? It may take the impact of a tragedy for us to experience the reality of God so that we learn to lean on and trust Him as Christ did. That would be good. Are we proud, indifferent, carnal, selfish, unforgiving, negative, or angry? God h This booklet is excerpted from has something better—the The Upside Of Down by Joe Stowell, which is published by Discovery lifestyle of His Son. House Publishers, a member of God is able to effect the RBC Ministries family. Joe positive change in us. served for 18 years as the president of Moody Bible Institute. Currently He knows what is best. he is Teaching Pastor at Harvest He knows what it takes. Bible Chapel in Chicago. He is also He will, as the loving, all- partnering with RBC Ministries in radio, writing, and television powerful sculptor, chip productions. away until Jesus is seen If this booklet has been helpful to in the hardened hunk you, check out Joe’s ministry online at www.getmorestrength.org for his of our lives. weekly thought-provoking messages For those of us who or his “Daily Strength” devotionals. 32 © 2007 RBC Ministries
  33. 33. Get your free BibleResources catalog! Discovery Series booklets can be valuable guides to help you learn what the Bible says about a broad range of topics. Each 32-page booklet can be used in your personal Bible study or in a small-group setting. Your free Bible Resources catalog includes a briefdescription of each Discovery Series booklet.To get your copy, write to us at the address belowand ask for a catalog. Or follow the link below torequest your copy today.www.discoveryseries.org/catalogUSA: PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222Canada: Box 1622, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z7

Views

Total views

818

On Slideshare

0

From embeds

0

Number of embeds

1

Actions

Downloads

7

Shares

0

Comments

0

Likes

0

×