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INTRODUCTION: Take your Bibles this morning, open if you will, please, to the Book of James chapter 1. We started a series last week through the Book of James called “Living Faith”. And I want to speak to you about that this morning. James chapter one, I want to talk to you about Why Trials Overwhelm Us. On Feb. 15, 1947, the Avionic Airlines flight crashed suddenly into a high mountain, a 14,000 ft. high mountain, El Tablazo, it’s not far from Bogota. It dropped into the ravine below, a flaming mass of metal. On board that plane was a young man, a New Yorker, by the name of Glen Chambers. He was going to be a missionary. He had surrendered his life. And he was going with the voice of the Andes’ Missionary group to this area of the world as a missionary. That day before he got on board the flight, he was in the terminal in Miami and he wanted to write his mother a note before he got on board the plane. So he happened to look down on the floor and picked up a piece of paper, it was some kind of advertisement. On one side it was blank and on the other side was an advertisement. And he took the blank side and he wrote a letter to his mother. Somewhere after the crashing of the plane and when she had received the news, she had received that letter. She heard the news of her son dying and then got this letter in the mail. She opened it up, and there staring her in the face as she pulled it out of the envelope was the question, “Why?” The advertisement had a big question, “Why?” Why? You know it seems like at times that we’ve all asked that question, have we not? All of us have come to a point in our life where we’ve had to ask the Lord “Why?” Why these things, why are these things happening in my life? All of us are going to go through trials. And if we are not careful, we are going to be overwhelmed with the trials that God, in his sovereign wisdom, will place upon us. Now we learned in the Book of James last week that trials are going to come. Look again in verse 2, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations or to trials.” It is not a question of if I will be tested or will I go through a trial, the question is when. Not if, but when. We are all going to face the trails of life. None of us are going to get out of this alive. The question is how am I going to pass these tests? How am I going to go through these trials the way God wants me victoriously to go through these trials? And if we are not careful, again, trials can overwhelm us. And so James is going to give us here in this passage today, he offers four reasons why we are overwhelmed in the midst of trials. You know some people don’t always pass the trials of life that they go through. Instead of getting better the way God wanted them, they seem to grow bitter. We don’t want to go through a trial and be the worse off for it. We want to get better.
And so when trials overwhelm us, how can we be assured that we are going to learn the lesson that God wants us to learn? That we are going to grow and mature the way God wants us to mature. Well again, James will offer us four reasons why we are overwhelmed in the midst of trials and why we fail the test at times. And so jot these down.
I. A LACK OF WISDOM. That’s what we need when we go through trials. We need wisdom and we lack it. Look in verse 5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” So James tells us, what should you do when you first go through a trial? The very first thing that you should do is ask God for wisdom. Now that is interesting to me. He didn’t say, go to God and ask God for strength. He didn’t say go ask God for grace. He didn’t say go and ask God for deliverance. He said no, when you go through a trial you go to God and ask God for wisdom. Why is that? Why does James say ask God for wisdom? Well, wisdom is needed so that we don’t waste the opportunities that God is giving us in this trial. Wisdom helps us to respond properly to the trial that we go through so that we can get in harmony with what God is trying to do in that trial. Now you know happens in school when you fail a test? At least it used to happen, I don’t know if they still do this but, you have to take it over again. You have to take the test over. If you fail it you’ve got to retake it, if you fail a grade you’ve got to retake that grade. You know there is a sense in which that is also true in the spiritual realm? Did you know that? Did you know that when you fail a test in the spiritual realm, God will have to let us retake that? Just jot down Ecclesiastes 3:15. “That which hath been is now. And that which is to be hath already been and God requires that which is past.” In other words, this verse teaches us a very important principle and that is this, God patiently repeats things until they are learned. The last line of the verse, for God seeks that which has been, we could translate it like this, driven away. And we are the ones that are driving the trials away. In other words when a trial comes to our life, we would just as soon not face it. We would just as soon try to drive it away. We would just as soon try to ignore it or bypass it. There is something about human nature that doesn’t like trials or it doesn’t like times of testing. I remember that when I went to seminary. On test day half the class was there because people don’t like to take tests. And that is the way it is in the spiritual realm. But God says listen, if you fail the test or you try to get out of it, what will happen is, God will patiently bring this thing back in your life. It might not be the same thing, it might not be the same trial but it will be in the same area. And so when we go through a time of testing and trial, God wants us to learn. Read in the Bible about the life of Abraham. You notice when you read, did you ever notice that it seems like he’s taking the same test over again? He’s going through the same kind of thing? And that often happens in our life. God wants us to pass the test. He wants us to go through the trial victoriously and so he will patiently bring it back until we get it. Jot down Proverbs 15:31, “The ear that hearth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.” God says, “Listen, when your ear is open to hear the reproof or the testing of life then you will abide among the wise.” And so don’t try to bypass it. When testing comes, pray and say, “God, I need wisdom.” Let me quote to you what one Greek scholar, Spiros Zodhiates said, he said this “How can I use and not merely bear the particular cross which divine providence places upon my shoulders? What is that power, what is that piece of equipment which will enable me to take that cross and make it a bridge to the land across the turbulent river?” And so again we need wisdom so we won’t waste the opportunity that God is giving us in this trial to mature in our faith. And so that’s why, that’s why James says pray for wisdom. But now the second question is, what is wisdom? Wisdom is different from knowledge. It is not the same thing. Did you know there is a wisdom that comes only from God. And I’ve met some people that are brilliant academically, they have a high I.Q. I mean genius people. But did you ever notice, folks like that can’t seem to make the simplest decision. Is it just me? I mean I see folks who are just brilliant that sometimes don’t have wisdom. There’s a difference between obtaining knowledge and being wise. And there is wisdom that comes only from Almighty God. James is not talking about a high I.Q. He’s not talking about accumulation of knowledge. He is talking about a wisdom that comes not through education. I like that story that Dr. Rogers tells about the gold miner and his son. This wealthy gold miner put his son through school and he got a degree in business. And then he came back to help run the family business and the father said, “Now put on some work clothes and start at the bottom and work your way up.” And he said, “Father, with all due respect, I know more about this business than anybody here.” And so against his better judgment, the father gave him a mine and then a few days he got a cable from his son. “Dad, the mine is backed up to the river, there’s water seeping in, what should I do?” And the father didn’t reply. A second time, “Dad, there’s a hole in this mine, a little hole and the water is getting in and I’m not sure what to do. We’re going to lose the mine. What should I do?” And still the father didn’t say anything. And finally the third message came, “Dad, this hole is causing this mine to fill up with water, what should I do?” And finally the father wired back and said, “Stick your diploma in that hole.” There is a wisdom that doesn’t come with education. You know what? There is a wisdom that comes only from Almighty God. You’re not going to get it any other way. And that’s what James is telling us here, this is a wisdom that we need. Knowledge is needed to pass the test in school but wisdom is needed to pass the test in life. Knowledge is learned but wisdom is given from heaven. And so that’s what we need. John Blanchard defined it like this, “It’s the ability to discern God’s hand in human circumstances and to apply heavenly judgment to earthly situations.”
Now James says, “Look, go to God.” Notice a few things about this wisdom in verse five. First of all . . .
A. The Shortage of It. If any of you lack wisdom. If any lack, in the Greek here it reveals a first class condition which supposes or presupposes a standing fact. In other words, it’s a fact that none of us have the wisdom that we need. We all lack it. We all are short of this wisdom. And so we are all short of it and so we need to go to God, we have to have that realization that “God I don’t have the wisdom to bare this that you’ve put on me. I just don’t have it and Lord I need it.”
There’s the shortage of it. But then there’s . . .
B. The Source of It. Look again in verse 5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” God is the source of this wisdom. Go to God. Go to the Lord. Now when I think of someone asking for wisdom, who do you think about in the Bible? You know who I automatically jump towards? I jump towards Solomon in the Bible. Remember Solomon? In 1 Kings 3:4, you talk about going through a time of testing, his father David had just died, he was appointed to be the next king, his brother tried to usurp him, certain people wanted him dead, Israel at that time was a nation that was booming. Under David it was war time and now the war time was now over and there was a baby boom going on in Israel. And so here this nation was just growing and the whole administrative structure of the government needed to be redone or reorganized. And then here’s Solomon, a young kid just coming to the throne. And then he also had to build a temple. You talk about a time of testing. And Solomon probably felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders at that time. I was reading about Harry Truman. Did you know that on April 12, 1945, Harry Truman received a message asking him to come to the White House as quickly and as quietly as he possibly could. And they ushered him into a room and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt came in and she said, “Harry, the president is dead.” And Harry Truman, he was just in shock. After a few minutes he said, “Mrs. Roosevelt is there anything I can do for you?” And she said, “No, Harry. Is there anything I can do for you? You’re the one in trouble.” I mean there was a war on each of the ocean. And he had to deal with Hitler, he had to deal with the Japanese, he had to deal with Stalin, he had all these things and Harry Truman said he felt like the weight of the world, the sun, moon and the stars, had fallen on his shoulders. I’m sure that’s the way Solomon felt. But you know what the Bible says Solomon did? He didn’t hire a consultant. He didn’t go to the latest conference on being a king. He didn’t bring in a group of experts, Solomon went to God. The Bible says he went to Gibeon and there was a big altar there in Gibeon and he made a big sacrifice to God and then he lay before the altar and went to sleep. Do you know why kings would do that back in that day? It was customary for a king to offer a sacrifice to their god and then lay before the altar hoping that their god would give them a message. And Almighty God did visit Solomon. And he said, “Solomon, ask me what you want.” And do you know what Solomon said? “God, I’m just a young kid, I’m inexperienced.” The Hebrew there literally is, I’m a dependent child. I don’t know how to go out and come in. That’s the Hebrew idiom for skill and leadership. David was a skilled leader because he knew how to go out and come in, Joshua knew how to go out and come in. Solomon said, “I’m not a skilled leader, I don’t know how to go out, I don’t know how to come in. God give me wisdom.” And you know what happened? God abundantly poured wisdom out to Solomon. Isn’t that wonderful? God was the source. Now, here is this young guy, now beforehand he doesn’t know a whole lot but afterward he has this incredible wisdom and by the time you get to 1 Kings chapter four all the world is coming in to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Where’d he get that from? Education? No! Experts around him? No! He got it from Almighty God. And I want to tell you something friend, when you are going through the difficult time, when you are going through the trials, the Bible says go to God, He is the source of wisdom.
There is the Shortage of it, there is Source of it, but I love this, look at . . .
C. The Supply of It. Look again in verse 5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally.” Notice that where it says liberally or generously. The word here has the idea of to stretch out, it is a picture of stretching out a banquet table and just pouring a glass to overflowing, just like we read about in Psalm 23. God will over flow your cup with wisdom. And He doesn’t have any strings attached to it. He just gives it graciously because God is a generous giver and he knows how to give to his children. Jot down Proverbs 2:2-6, “Incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge and lifteth up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest her as silver and searches for her as for hidden treasures then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God for the Lord giveth wisdom.” God graciously gives wisdom. Remember that passage in Matthew where Jesus said, listen, “Ask it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be open unto you. If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him?” And so ask and God will pour out wisdom unto you.
There is the Shortage of it, there’s the Source of it, there’s the Supply of it, but then I want you to see the other thing. There is . . .
D. The Surety of It. Look again in verse 5, “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and uprighteth not,” and watch this, “and it shall be given him.” God says I’ll give it. That is a promise. You can leave here this morning with wisdom from heaven because God promised to give it if you asked him. The surety of it.
And so one reason why trials overwhelm us is because of a lack of wisdom on our part. We need to go to God and we need to say give me wisdom, teach me, help me. But let me give you another reason why trials overwhelm us.
II. A LACK OF FAITH. Not only a lack of wisdom but a lack of faith. Notice what it says in the next verse. Look down here in verse 6. Now in verse 5, James tells us what to ask for. In verse 6 he tells us how to ask for it. Verse 6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that waverth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” He says, “Listen, you go and you ask God, but listen when you ask God ask him not wavering. Don’t doubt!” The word wavering here is translated in some versions without doubting. Don’t doubt God when you go to him. Now James, you know the thing I love about James? He is a master teacher and he uses great illustrations from nature to get his point across. What is the illustration that James uses here about a doubter? You know what it is? Sea waves. Because look again in verse 6, “But let him ask in faith nothing wavering for he that wavers is like the waves of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Now I know a little bit about sea waves because I’m from the Atlantic Coast. From Maryland. My father has a fishing boat. Now I’m not much of a fisherman. Ok. I remember when I first came her, folks were asking me do you fish? My idea of fishing is going to Captain D’s, okay? (Laughter) I’m not much of a fisherman. But now, my father, my brothers, they are all fishermen and they would try to coax me to get out there on that boat with them and I remember one time I went with them on that boat. And we were way out there in the ocean. Couldn’t see land. And we were having a good time until all of a sudden these dark clouds began to roll in. I mean dark clouds. I could see lightening over in the distance. And I was looking around to see if anybody else was concerned about this. My father didn’t seem to be concerned. I thought well, maybe he’s too wrapped up in fishing. So I tapped him on the shoulder and I said, “Dad, do you see those dark clouds? You see that? I said dad it’s going to rain.” He said, “You’re right son.” He pulled his line in, opened up the door there on the side of the boat and pulled out a rain parker and threw his line back in the water. (Laughter) That is not the response I was looking for. But I remember when those waves came and the wind picked up we were on that boat and we were going up and down. Up and down, constantly up and down. It was like being on a roller coaster only you were going down a hill every three seconds. And that’s what James says a doubter is like. A doubter is like a wave of the sea. One minute he’s up, you’re on the mountain top of faith and the next moment your down. You’re up in faith and then you’re down in doubts. Someone says a doubter needs a mountain load of faith to move a mustard seed. You are constantly doubting God. As a matter of fact the word for wavering here is, do you know what the word is? It is actually the Greek word diakrino which means literally die, twice, krino, cranium, to think, to think twice, is literally what the word means. It was used by the Lord Jesus. Remember the story where Peter is walking on the water? They see someone out there, they didn’t know who it was walking on the water. And Jesus called out and said, “Don’t be afraid it is I.” And they knew the voice of Jesus and Peter said, “Lord, bid me to come unto the water with thee.” Peter would rather be out there on the water with Jesus than in the boat. And Jesus gave him one word. He said, “Come Peter”. And Peter stepped out over the edge of that boat, stepped out onto the water and he began to walk on the water. Man, an incredible thing. All of a sudden, Peter started looking around and he thought to himself, “I can’t walk on the water.” And, boom, there he went down. And Jesus reached out his hand and he picked him up. And he said, “Peter, why did you think twice? You had it the first time? You had it. Why did you think twice?” That’s what a doubter does. One moment we are thinking in faith and the next moment we’re doubting. It’s like mental ping-pong. Up and down. A doubter is spiritually bi-polar. (Laughter) They just can’t seem to get it down. And the Bible says, listen, look in verse 8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” You are not going to have that spiritual stability until you go to God and you learn to ask him in faith without doubting. Don’t doubt him. And so there has to be faith when we ask because look what it says in verse 7, “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.” Listen, if you come to God in doubting, you are not going to get what you want. And the idea is don’t doubt the goodness of God. When you go to God in faith and you ask him for something he will give it to you, don’t doubt him, because if you are a doubter, you are not going to receive anything. So ask in faith. One time Dr. Guthrie, the great Scottish preacher, prayed in the morning service of his church for rain. The farmers around needed rain. So he prayed for rain. And that evening as he got ready to go to church that night, his little girl came up to him she said, “Dad, where is your umbrella?” He said, “Honey, I don’t need an umbrella.” She said, “In this morning’s service you prayed for rain. Don’t you expect God to send it?” And he was rebuked. So he went and got an umbrella and as he got out of church that night he needed it because there was a deluge that had come. Listen, when you pray for rain, grab an umbrella. And when you ask God for something, expect to get it because God is a good God and he is a gracious God. Don’t doubt.
You know why we are overwhelmed when trails come? Because of a lack of faith. There is a Lack of Wisdom and a Lack of Faith. But let me give you the third thing here.
III. A LACK OF HUMILITY. James says trials overwhelm us because of a lack of humility. Now look what he talks about in verse 10. Excuse me, verse 9, “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted. But the rich in that he is made low because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.” Now it is interesting here that James begins to talk about riches. He begins to talk about money. He begins to talk about the poor man and the rich man. You say why does he talk about that in the middle of talking trials and testing? Why does he talk about rich and poor? Well the reason he talks about that is because first of all the people that he was writing to had gone through a time of extreme poverty. As a matter of fact, some of the people that he was writing to were, at one time, well off. They were rich. But because persecution came, they lost a lot. Or maybe there was some kind of reversal and they became poor. So these were people that at one time had riches. Maybe because of their faith in Christ they were ostracized, they lost a lot. And then there were other people that had been poor, they never really had a lot. So this was the circumstances of the people to whom he was writing. But another reason why he brings it up, I believe, is because one of the biggest tests we will face in life is our attitude toward money and material things in this world. That is a test that all of us face, is it not? Don’t we all go through times of testing when it comes to money? Eighty-nine percent of all family discord is related to money. Eighty percent of all divorces is due to money. Our reaction to money. Having a lot of it or not having a lot. It’s your reaction. You heard about the grandfather that won a million dollar sweepstakes? And the family didn’t want to tell him because he had a weak heart and they were afraid he would die of a heart attack if they told him. And so they went to the pastor and said, “Pastor, you have a way with words. You can communicate. Can you go to tell grandpa he won a million dollars?” Pastor said, “Sure.” He went to his house, set on the porch, rocked in a rocker with him, very casually looked over and said, “Grandpa, if you won a million dollars what would you do with it?” Grandpa said, “Ah, that’s easy pastor, I’d give it all to the church.” And the pastor dropped dead of a heart attack. (Laughter) Some of the biggest testing we will ever face in this life is our reaction to money, material things. How do you respond when you have a lot? How do you respond when God blesses you from heaven with a lot? Sometimes people who have a lot walk away from the Lord. The man in Proverbs said, “Lord, don’t make me poor lest I be tempted to go out and steal. And don’t make me rich lest I forget you, but give me food that is convenient for me. Just give me enough Lord.”
There’s the test of plenty and the test of poverty. And here James refers to both of them. First of all, he refers to the poor man.
A. The Exaltation of the Poor. He says, “Let the brother of low degree.” That is someone who is poor. That actually, that Greek word is used in the Septuagint to talk about someone financially poor. Someone who is financially poor. Let him rejoice, why? Why should the man of poverty rejoice? Because if you’ve found Jesus Christ you have found true riches. Let me tell you something, if you are here today and you know Jesus Christ, you are rich. Do you understand that? Do you understand how rich you are by knowing Jesus Christ? Even though you are impoverished when it comes to the goods of this world, you have true riches. You may be hungry but you have the bread of life. You may be thirsty but you have the living water. You might be poor but you have eternal riches. You have all when you have Christ. Jot down Romans 8:17, “And if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” That means whatever is His is mine and He owns it all, so I own it all. I’m a joint heir. Man, I’m richer than Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and all those other guys. Because you have Jesus Christ. The Bible says in II Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor that ye through his poverty might be rich.” And so when you have Jesus Christ you can rejoice. You can boast. You can glory in him because you are enriched, you are elevated. That’s what he is saying. “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he’s exalted, he has found true riches in Christ.”
But now here’s the second thing. Not only the Exaltation of the Poor but . . .
B. The Humiliation of the Rich. Look in verse 10, “But the rich in that he is made low because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.” In other words, the rich man also needs to rejoice. Why should he rejoice? In his earthly riches? No, he rejoices in his life that God has used trials in his life to teach him the right perspective towards riches. And that these material things do not mean anything. When you are going through a trial your riches and your money, they mean nothing. They don’t help you then. And what you learn to find is that your true spiritual resources are in Jesus Christ. Trials bring you down so that you see that all that you have is in him not in the things of this world. The things of this world are going to pass away. They are transitory, they are gone. Look at the other illustration he uses. Look in verse 10 again, “But the rich in that he is made low because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away for the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat but it withers the grass and the flower thereof faileth and the grace of the fashion of it perishes so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” This world’s goods, material things, money is transitory, it will pass away. Someone says, wait a minute preacher, money talks. That’s right it says good-bye. It passes away. It’s gone. It never ceases to amaze me how that there are people in this life that focus all their attention on making sure that everything in their world in this life is just right. They have their money saved, and that’s good. They’ve got all the insurance they need, that great. They’ve got everything, all their ducks are in a row when it comes to life in this world, but they never think about what happens after death. You realize this life here is about 70 years, if you are strong 80, maybe 90 and that’s it. It’s gone. You can’t take it with you. It’s transitory. Someone else will have what you had. Let me tell you something friend, eternity does not end. What have you done to prepare for eternity? What have you done to get yourself ready for eternity, because there is no end to eternity. Compare it, seventy, eighty years verses eternity. What have you done to prepare for that life? All of our preparation is in this life and James says the rich man ought to rejoice because his trials taught him that you don’t just prepare for this life. This is not all there is. These things pass away but eternity will never pass away. What have you done to prepare for that? And if you are rich and you have a lot of this world’s goods, rejoice that God has brought you through a trial to teach you the value of true riches, spiritual riches, knowing Jesus Christ. That’s true riches. And so he should rejoice. But either way both are humbled. The poor is humbled because of his circumstance yet he rejoices and the rich he is brought to humility if allows God to work in his life.
And so there’s humility, the lack of humility. But then let me just give you one more thing. Trials overwhelm us because of a Lack of Wisdom. Trials overwhelm us because of a Lack of Faith. Trials overwhelm us because of a Lack of Humility. But then there is a fourth thing, trials overwhelm us because of . . .
IV. A LACK OF LOVE. Now look what James says in verse 12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised,” watch this, “to them that love him.” Now, there is a reward for the trials that we go through, and the Bible calls it a crown. Do you know the crown referred to here is the crown that they would give to athletes when they would compete? Like in the Greek games, they would give them a laurel wreath that they would put on their head. That was a crown, a victor’s crown. And James says we have a crown that God will give us. Now there is a debate among scholars as to what this crown means. Some people say, “Well, this is the crown that you will receive one day when you get in heaven. When you get to heaven God will give you a crown and it will be the crown of life.” But other scholars say, no, what this is talking about is a crown in this life. In other words, the crown is life. And the reward of going through trials is that He will give you a quality of life here and now. He will give you life. A beauty of life, a blessedness of life. The idea is that, you know there is some people that live their life but they are not really living their life. They are alive, but they are not really enjoying life, they are enduring life. And the trial will give us the crown of being blessed. Remember when James said in verse 4 that that you may be complete, lacking nothing, that since of contentment, of completeness, in your life. That’s what a trial will do for you. The blessings of life. God will bless you, he will give you a blessedness, he will give you a completeness when you go through a trial. That’s the reward. You say which one do you believe. I say I believe that is what James is talking about here. We are still going to get crowns in heaven. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll still get those crowns, but there is a reward that God give us here and now. A blessedness, a completeness in life. But what is the requirement? Look in verse 12, “He shall receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love him.” But back up, “to the man that endures trials,” he has to endure it. But the love that you have proves that you really do, or the endurance you have proves that you really do love God I should say. You endure the trial because you really love him.
CONCLUSION: And again, like I said last week, trials will not cause you to walk away from God it will cause you to run to him, if you are believer. If you are truly in Christ. A man one time was on a train. There was a kid running around in the isle and he couldn’t figure out whose kid this was. He was running all over the place. And finally the train went through a long dark tunnel and when it got out on the other side, there was that child sitting in the lap of his father. He said now I know who it belongs too. And when you go through a trial, people around, if you know the Lord, will know who you belong to. Because a trial will cause you to run into the lap of your Father. That long dark trial will cause you to run to him and others will see your faith and see that you are a child of God and will see your love, that’s what causes us to endure the trial, its love. Love for Christ, love for the Father. There was a lady by the name of Elizabeth Prentiss and she was the daughter of a great preacher. And throughout most of her life she was an invalid. She scarcely knew a day that was free of pain. So she endured it all through her life, and then later on something happened that really devastated her. She lost a small child. Any mother that has lost a small child knows how devastating that is. And then just a few weeks later she lost a second child, one after the other. She was inconsolable. She was completely devastated. In her diary she wrote this, “Empty hands, a worn out, exhausted body, and an utterable longing to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences.” And for a time it seemed as if the trials of life had gotten the best of Elizabeth Prentiss. But then one day, she picked up her Bible, she began to read and she read the story of Jacob. How that after a time of sorrow, God met with him in a special way, and she began to pray. And God met with her. You know what she did? She crawled up into the lap of her father. And in a moment of inspiration, she picked up a pen and this is what she wrote.
And Elizabeth Prentiss came out of that victorious because of her love to her Father. She loved him more. You remember the story of the woman who lost her son in an airplane crash at the introduction of this sermon? Glen Chambers’ mother? For a while she was overwhelmed. But then she prayed and God gave her wisdom. And you know what she said? She said, “God is too kind to do anything cruel. God is too wise to make a mistake. God is too deep to explain himself.” Let me encourage you today. Crawl up into the lap of your heavenly Father. Let’s pray together. Heads are bowed, eyes are closed. Father, we thank you for your word. We thank you for the truth of it. Lord, we do not have the wisdom that we need to go through these hard experiences of life. Father, we are such a needy people. God we come to you today, dependent, broken. We ask you Lord, for wisdom to help us through the reproves of life, through the trials of life, through the testings of life, Lord, that seem to overwhelm us at times. Lord, all of a sudden we hear news and our life is turned upside down, and God we don’t know what to do. But Lord today we turn to you in faith, not wavering, believing that you are a good and gracious God and you will give us what we need in the hour of our testing, in the hour of our trial, that we will be able to see and discern your hand and see your purpose and cast our self upon you. Lord, give us more wisdom. Give us faith. Give us humility, and give us love so that we can pass the test of life. Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If God has spoken to your heart today, in a moment we are going to give an invitation. You can use this altar, you can pray right there where you are, but you can use this altar. Maybe you just need to come this morning and say, “God, I just need wisdom. God, I need faith. God I need love, help me through this trial.” If you are here today and you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, maybe you are here and you are listening to all this and saying, “You know I’m not really sure what all you are talking about.” Maybe you can’t say with total assurance in your heart “I know that I am a Christian. I know that Jesus Christ lives in my heart.” Then I invite you to come. I will be down here at the front. I can show you from scripture. We can have counselors meet with you and teach you how you can know for sure that Jesus Christ is your Savior. But I will say this, let me tell you something. He died for you, He rose again, right now He is inviting you to come to him. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” You might be here and you might be going through a trial and you don’t even know how to get in touch with Jesus. He is right here. And He is reaching out to you right now and he is saying “Come to Me.” He invites you this morning. And friend, you can come and cast all your burdens on him. Whatever the need is of God the Holy Spirit has spoken to your heart. In a moment we are going to stand, I invite you to come. So if you are here today and want to know Christ, you come. If you are here today and you are a Christian and you just want to come for prayer, just kneel here, you come. Maybe you are here today and God is speaking to your heart about uniting in a church home, I invite you to come to a wonderful assembly of people, Ellendale Baptist Church. If God speaks to you about being a member, then you come. But you do whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do.
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You Have Hope exists to preach the clear, inspired, sufficient Word of God without compromise and with true conviction, so that listeners learn, understand, and trust the Hope which God has provided in His Word.
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