12/2/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog
We all have a story to tell. Consider these two stories today.
The year was 1976…
…and this young man had his life all planned out. Three years earlier he had married this beautiful woman, his father owned the family business that he knew one day he would inherit. This young man knew he would make a lot of money, have a nice home, take his family to Disney World and live the American Dream.
Then one day his life was changed forever. His father’s successful and solvent business was no more. An employee had unknowingly embezzled money out of the business and when it was found out, it was too late to save it. At the auction, this young man listened as people in the crowd made fun of his father. He saw his plans and his dreams die that day. Then reality hit. This young man and his wife are about to have their first child, now with no job, no direction and asking God why. Over the next 43 years this man would ask his wife to move 40 times.
This story is far worse…
You may be familiar with this tragedy: It begins when Horatio Spafford lost his only son in 1871. Then later that same year he lost his fortune in the Great Chicago fire. Two years later Horatio sent his wife and 4 daughters on a ship to England for a reprieve from all the pain and suffering they had experienced with the loss of their brother / son and the devastation brought on by the Great Chicago Fire. On the way to England the ship sinks and Horatio Spafford lost his four daughters at sea; only his wife survived.
From that terrible experience and pain, Horatio wrote the hymn that is still sung today and comforts many hearts: “It Is Well With My Soul.” How does one recover from such personal pain and loss? How does one have their dreams totally stripped from them and go on? I think I can speak for Horatio, but I know that I can speak for the young man that asked his wife to move 40 times, because that young man was me.
As I look back over my life from that day in 1976 until today, although my family went through some very difficult and painful situations, I see nothing but blessings. I see God’s hand all over my life and the life of my family. That dream of taking my family to Disney World, compared to where God has taken us, the people we have met, the ministries we have served and the places we have gone, honestly makes Disney World look like a childish dream.
I dreamed of having a lot of money… and even though I am not rich by the world’s standards, God has blessed us beyond measure. We have gone to Israel twice, and both times our trip did not cost us anything. Every year for the past 15+ years, Judy and I have gone overseas to teach God’s Word and without exception, when it was time to purchase our airline tickets, God had the money in our account. Due to the kindness of my boss at Word of Life, we were able to send our 5 children to the Bible Institute without any loans. Just last year, God gave us a 1900 square foot home with 5 acres of land for free. Free, no debt, no hidden costs: totally free!
You might be thinking, ‘How did you and Judy get from the pain, the devastation, the disappointment, and moving 40 times… to giving thanks?’ It comes down to two choices. The choice of where you will put your faith, and whom you will chose to believe.
First thing you must do is make the choice, that no matter what, you will put your faith in the One that is in charge of everything…
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”Matthew 28:18
Secondly you must choose to believe God…
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28
“And we know…”
You can believe God’s promises because He has never broken a promise, and He will not begin with you!
If God could speak the world and the whole universe into existence, and raise Jesus from the dead, imagine what He can do when you allow Him to work in you.
“God works for good…”
It may not be comfortable, it may not make you happy, but it is for your good. Because God is good, don’t ever expect Him to act out of character with you.
“God works for those who love Him…”
Choose God and He will give you peace when there is no peace. God will take what Satan wants to use to harm you and make it good for you. When you feel the heat from life, like He did for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, God will stand with you.
“God works in all things…”
Even though our lives might be quite different, God is committed to work in your particular circumstances. He doesn’t just use some of the things in your life, He uses them all. The good things, the hard things, the things that are not enjoyable, the things you dread. God will use them all to accomplish His will in you.
Life hurts, life’s pain is real, and life can be devastating and throw you for a loop. When that happens, don’t feel like you must give thanks for the pain, but you can give thanks in it, because you have chosen to believe God. And we know God will use it to make you better and He has promised not to leave you until the work is done:
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5
What is your story: thankful or resentful? Welcoming God’s will or resisting it? As I look back at my life, I would agree with Isaiah when he wrote:
Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.Isaiah 38:17
And if I were to choose one song as a testimony for my life it would be this one…