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What to Do When the Bottom Drops Out | It's Okay to Complain to God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
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March 6, 2023 3:00 am

What to Do When the Bottom Drops Out | It's Okay to Complain to God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 6, 2023 3:00 am

Are saints required to suffer in silence? When the going gets tough, do the tough get quiet? When the bottom drops out, don’t we all want to cry out? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie offers some valuable insight for the toughest times of life. We’ll follow the life of David from the book of First Samuel, and see what he faced, how he responded, and what we can learn from the biblical account. It’s good encouragement . . . even if you’re not currently facing a time of great challenge.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at I don't like this. But then you might add, you may have a plan, you may have a purpose, and I want your will above my own, but you pour your complaints out to God. Don't cry out against God, cry out to God. Are saints required to suffer in silence? When the going gets tough, do the tough get quiet?

When the bottom drops out, don't we all want to cry out? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie offers some valuable insight for the toughest times of life. We'll follow the life of David from the book of 1 Samuel and see what he faced, how he responded, and what we can learn from the biblical account.

It's good encouragement, even if you're not currently facing a time of great challenge. Now you're probably aware that I've written a book called Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. You're thinking, Greg, why didn't you write a book about him? Well, I've always been fascinated with Johnny Cash. I've always liked his music. To me, he's kind of a sound all his own.

No one has really liked him, and he's not really like anybody else. And Johnny has such a fascinating story. You know, the interesting thing about Johnny Cash is a lot of people question if he was even a Christian. And the reason is, is Johnny fell.

He struggled with drugs throughout his life, specifically amphetamines and barbiturates that he got addicted to when he was on the road. So he would do well for a while, then he would fall, and he would get up again, and he would fall again. And so some Christians said, I don't even think that guy's a believer, but nonbelievers saw Johnny as almost like a saint, almost a prophet-like figure. Johnny was a sinner saint. Johnny was, well, like you.

And like me. He was like all of us. He was a flawed character. But here's the key to Johnny's faith, is when he fell, he always knew where to turn.

He always turned back to the Lord. And in some ways, Johnny Cash reminds me of David. They were both musicians. They were both plain spoken. They were both what we would call a man's man. They were both flawed.

They both had their highs and their lows and their ups and downs. But we might call them accessible saints. Like I can relate to that guy. You know, there's certain saints in the Bible maybe it's not so easy to relate to, like Daniel. Not one thing is said about Daniel critically. I'm not suggesting he didn't sin, but we don't read of any sin Daniel ever committed. Or Joseph, such a virtuous, godly young man.

We never read of a fall or a lapse in his faith. But David, oh man, it's all there in the Bible. The Bible gives us the story of David, warts and all.

And more ink is dedicated in scripture to David and any other biblical character apart from Jesus Christ himself. And Johnny had his doubts and disappointments. Johnny had a brother whose name was Jack. And Johnny really looked up to his brother. They did everything together.

They were inseparable. And Jack aspired to be a preacher one day. And Johnny wanted to be a singer. And one day they were going to go down fishing and Jack took on some extra work because the family needed the money and he was working in a saw mill. And he was pulled into the saw in a tragic accident. And then Johnny's father, Ray Cash, was a very hard man. And he literally said to Johnny, the wrong son died. So you know Johnny went through life with that hanging over his head.

Always seeking the approval of his father. And so he poured his pain into his songs. I think in some ways Johnny Cash was a modern day psalmist. And it reminds me again of David. Remember David wasn't really loved by his father. When the prophet Samuel showed up in Bethlehem to anoint the next king of Israel Jesse paraded all of his sons before the visiting prophet.

They were the magnificent seven. And the most magnificent of them all was Eliab who was taller than the rest. And Samuel thought, this is surely the one that will replace Saul who has sinned against the Lord. And the Lord said, none of these are my man. And then the prophet asked, do you have any other sons?

And Jesse reluctantly acknowledged he had one more son who hung out on the fields and watched over his flock of sheep. And in comes David and he has anointed the king. And you know Saul had it all going on. I mean he's the kind of person that we would want to elect to office today. He's the kind of person that all the qualities that our culture values. He was attractive. He was charismatic. He was tall.

He was the whole package. But he failed spiritually. And he was rejected by God. And Saul summed up his own life with this statement in 1 Samuel 26 21. He said to David who showed him mercy, I have played the fool and erred exceedingly. You could have put that on the tombstone of Saul. I have played the fool and erred exceedingly. Well at this point Saul has completely turned against David.

Why? 1 Samuel 18 12 it says, Saul was afraid of David. He was afraid of David. And David was afraid of Saul too. So here now are the steps down for David.

He's just had victory after victory. Faithful shepherd of his flock. Called to fight the giant Goliath. He defeats him. He's gone into the court of King Saul and played his instrument to soothe this king who was tormented by demon spirits. David has passed every test. And now all of a sudden the bottom drops out for this godly young man. Why?

Here's point number one if you're taking notes. Fear replaced courage in the heart of David. Again fear replaced courage in the heart of David. 1 Samuel 21 10 says, he fled because of the fear of Saul. 1 Samuel 21 12 says, David was very afraid of the king of Gath. Fear.

That's a powerful emotion isn't it? It can take you over and warp how you see everything and everyone including God himself. David at this moment of his life was frightened by two kings that hated him. King Saul and another king that we'll look at in a few moments. And this is a man that should not have been afraid. This is the guy who wrote Psalm 27. When he writes, the Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom then shall I be afraid? And the answer is no one. But in this case for David it was a lot of people because he took his eyes off of the Lord and put them on circumstances.

Number two. Listen to this one. Though people abandon us God never abandons us.

Right? Even if people abandon you God will never abandon you. Jesus said, I will never leave you or forsake you.

And in the original language it can be translated, I will never, no never, no ever leave you or forsake you. Romans 8 31 says, if God is for us who can be against us? Romans 8 38 says, Paul speaking, I'm convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life nor angels nor demons. Neither our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.

But here's the problem. David forgot that. He was losing heart. The man after God's own heart was having a lapse of faith and with this focus off of God he makes some bad decisions. Bringing me to point number three which is David went to the wrong place for solace. David went to the wrong place for solace and encouragement.

With Saul hunting him David goes to the wrong place with the wrong people. He goes to a place called Gath. You say, well I don't know where Gath is.

I don't know what that means. Well Gath was basically Philistine central. That was the capital of the Philistines kingdom. And here is David walking through Gath. And with the eyes of the town upon him David is suddenly gripped by fear.

Look at 1 Samuel 21 verse 12. David heard these comments about him. He was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him.

Listen to this. He pretended to be insane. Scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. He's thinking this is bad.

I know. I'll act like a crazy person. Scratching the doors, drooling. And I love the response of the king. Finally King Achish said to his men, why do you bring me a madman?

We already have enough of them around here. Why should I let this person be my guest? So now David acting like a crazy person.

Really a bad situation. So David again flees. This time he goes to the cave of Adullam. And if you want to know what he was thinking he tells us in Psalm 142.

Go over there now. Psalm 142. It's very interesting to look at the context of where, when, and why David wrote certain psalms.

Because then you can understand what he was really talking about. So here in this cave, running from King Achish, still running from King Saul, paralyzed by fear. David writes these words in Psalm 142.

I'm reading from the New Living Translation. I cry out to the Lord. I plead for the Lord's mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. Underline that.

I'll come back to it. I pour out all my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come help me but no one gives me a passing thought. No one will help me. No one cares a bit about what happens to me.

Stop there. This psalm is so honest. Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever felt as though your enemies are setting traps for you?

And no one gives a passing thought to you? So David's being really honest. Now notice how he shifts gears in the psalm.

And he looks up. Psalm 142 verse 5. But then I pray to you O Lord. I say you are my place of refuge.

You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry for I'm very low. Rescue me from my persecutors.

They're too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me for you are good to me.

Isn't that beautiful? Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing from our listeners.

Whether it's a short word or they take some time to tell us what's going on, we read every word. God bless you Pastor Greg. I recommitted my life to Jesus during the YouTube airing of Your Last Harvest Crusade. I'm working on my first lesson from the Harvest Online training courses. I pray for you and your ministry daily.

Thank you so much for everything. How encouraging to hear how this man was impacted by the ministry of Harvest. And if you have a story to share, email Pastor Greg. Greg at Harvest dot org.

That's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is bringing us a study of how to survive our times of trial and crisis as we continue our study of the life of David. So what should you do when the bottom drops out? This is point number four. We need to look up and put our focus on God, not on our problems. Maybe you just feel overwhelmed by your problems. You feel like you've been forgotten by your family or betrayed by your spouse or you're under threat from someone else. But David is facing all of that and more yet he is trusting God. And notice that he complains to God. Psalm 142 verse 1.

I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all of my troubles. It's okay to complain to God. Did you know that? We don't think it is. You can't say that to the Lord?

Sure you can. Lord I don't like this. I don't want this. I want out of this.

If there's any way to get me out of this, get me out of it. But then you might add but yet not my will but yours be done. You may have a plan. You may have a purpose and I want your will above my own. But you pour your complaints out to God. Don't cry out against God.

Cry out to God. We see many instances of this in scripture. When the Israelites criticized and turned against Moses. We read in Exodus 15 25 Moses cried to the Lord. Everyone is criticizing him.

Everyone is second guessing him. He cries out to the Lord. When Hezekiah received a letter threatening his life. We read in Isaiah 37 14 he spread it out before the Lord.

When John the Baptist was beheaded we read his disciples went and told Jesus. Matthew 14 12. That's what we need to do. When crisis comes.

When problems come. Go to Jesus. Lord I don't get it. I don't want it. Here it is. I present it to you.

That's what we need to do. Even Jesus cried out in the garden of Gethsemane. As He contemplated the horrors of the cross. And He says if it is possible Father let this cup pass from me. And lest not my will but Yours be done.

I was so honest. And He cried out loudly the scripture tells us. And then on the very cross Jesus says Eli Eli lama sabachthani. Which means my God my God why have You forsaken me.

Wait what are You doing? Are You challenging God? No He is crying out to God. But the key is He is crying out to God not against God. He is not turning away from God. He is turning to God. See.

That's the difference. So I go to the Lord. I don't like it.

I don't want it. This is hard. I trust You. I love You. It is all mixed up together.

That's what I love about this story. Point number five. When the bottom drops out. We need to cast our cares upon God. First Peter 5 6. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. And at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.

It is something you have to do over and over again. Because you can cast your cares upon God and ok I am better. I am feeling better. I have perspective again.

And then you can take Him right back again. Can't you? So it is interesting this phrase that is used here.

First Peter when it says cast. It is not the normal word for throwing something. Rather it is a word that signifies a definite act of the will. By which we stop worrying about things. And let God assume the responsibility for our welfare. So it means I just give it to the Lord and I give it to the Lord. And I do it again and again and again.

And I want you to know this. If it concerns you it concerns God. If it is a burden to you you need to bring it before the Lord.

Because David later wrote in Psalm 139 17. How precious to me are your thoughts oh God how vast is the sum of them. Sometimes we have to do this hourly. It is like taking out the trash. I think it is true in most homes men take out the trash.

Am I right? So I throw it in these cans. And I don't know why but on trash day we put our cans in front of our house and the trash man comes. And I don't like to take the trash cans out.

It is not that hard. I don't live in some farm where I drag them a mile or something. It is a short distance and not only that I have wheels on my trash cans and a handle. All I have to do is tilt them and just take them out.

No big deal. But I am like how do I take the trash out. How do I take the trash out. But I sure like it when they pick the trash up. Because if you forget for one week you have a situation. Right?

All kinds of bugs and flies and other things. And so I take the trash out and I am glad they take my trash away. We need to take our burdens and our concerns and bring them to the Lord each and every day. And cast them on the Lord.

This is what we are learning. This is what David was doing. Let me look back to Johnny Cash to close. And tell you a little more of that story. So Jack, Johnny's brother was pulled into a saw. But somehow he survived though his internal organs literally were coming out of his body.

But they knew he would not survive for long. So he was taken to the hospital. And he was surrounded by his family. And there in that room the Lord came to young Jack Cash. And he was given a vision of glory. And he said to his mother, Mama do you hear the angels? And then turning to his father he said, will you meet me in heaven? Now remember I told you about Ray Cash. He said God took the wrong son.

This is a hard guy. Will you meet me in heaven? Jack says to his father. Ray was so moved by that statement he fell to his knees and repented of his sins. And asked Jesus Christ to come into his life.

So that is a powerful part of the story. And on Jack Cash's tombstone these words are written, will you meet me in heaven? What a great question. Maybe I am talking to someone who has had the bottom drop out in life. It just makes no sense. You have believed your whole life but now you have had a lapse of faith. You are filled with doubts. You are turning to the wrong people.

You are going to the wrong places. And it has just made your situation worse. And what you need to do is come to Jesus with your burdens.

What does he say? Come unto me all of you that labor and are heavy laden. Heavy laden means you are carrying burdens you don't need to carry. You need to cast those on the Lord. And He will take them from you because they are too much for you to bear. But the greatest burden of all is sin. And only Jesus Christ can forgive us of our sin.

And in closing I want to ask that question of young Jack Cash. Will you meet me in heaven? Because he put his faith in Christ just like you need to do. And if we will turn from our sin and ask Jesus Christ to forgive us of that sin we can know with certainty that we will go to heaven when we die so we don't have to live life crippled by the fear of death one more day.

Is there somebody here that would like to do that? Or would you like to be sure you go to heaven when you die? Or you have sort of had a lapse of faith and you need to return to the Lord again. Why don't you do it right here right now as we close in prayer. Father I pray for every person here.

Every person watching and listening wherever they are. If they need to come to Jesus help them do that we pray. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie today here on A New Beginning. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's program concludes. Hey everybody I'm here in studio with Randy Alcorn.

Well actually he's in Oregon and I'm in California but it kind of sounds like we're in the same studio. But we're talking about a book that we're offering to you this month as a special resource for your gift of any size. It's called Heaven for Kids. Okay Randy I get letters and emails all the time from listeners that tell us that they have their kids in the car. And I have kids write me and say I listen to you.

You know 20 years ago on the radio. So kids are listening. So let's direct our words to kids right now. We're talking about heaven. So is heaven going to be a really boring place where we just sit around on clouds and strum on harps and have fat little baby angels hovering over us with tiny little baby wings? Or will it be cooler than that?

It'll be way cooler than that. And you're right those are stereotypes of what people sometimes think about heaven. But for sure every kid, every adult, everyone who knows Jesus has reason to anticipate the wonders that are ahead of us. And I think the key thing is to realize that the Bible stresses the resurrection. That the ultimate heaven that we will live in forever is not the heaven we go to when we die. Paul said to die and be with Christ is better by far.

So that's a great place to go when you die. But we will all experience all who know Jesus the resurrection. And then we will live forever on a new earth.

Which means that people don't have to think oh well in this life. I wish I could do forever things like eat and drink. Man we won't eat and drink. We'll be ghosts floating around. Yes we will eat and drink.

Absolutely. Jesus said eight times to his disciples anticipating in the future together in heaven and I think after the resurrection on the new earth eating and drinking. And we'll have things to do, places to go, people to see, the fun that we have. I'm convinced that art and music and sports and all the things that come out of our being made in God's image that people invented. Well God designed that we should think of those things and do those things. So I mean it will be the opposite of boring. You may be bored sometimes in this life to be with Jesus the most fascinating person in the universe and with his people forever on a redeemed earth. No sin, no suffering.

It won't get any better than that. Wow. Hey if you just joined us you're listening to author Randy Alcorn, author of the book Heaven for Kids. And we're offering this book to you for your gift of any size this month here on A New Beginning. Yeah what a great resource to help us explain an important subject in an understandable way. As you know Randy wrote the big book on heaven and this one is especially written for kids.

It's in a Q&A format and all the questions he answers are listed in the table of contents so you can find the subject you need right now. And we'll be glad to send you Heaven for Kids to thank you for your investment in this daily study. So make that investment now by calling 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to Pastor Greg, a few moments ago you spoke of the need to get our hearts right with God.

That's right. Could you help someone who wants to do that right now? Yes, I'd be delighted to. Listen, as you've listened to this program today maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing I need to do this personally but how do I do it and what do I do? Let me help you. It's very simple.

In fact it's so simple you may be shocked. God, this relationship with him is just a prayer away. The Bible says if you will call upon the name of the Lord you'll be saved. So I'd like to lead you in a prayer where you do just that. You call on the name of the Lord. This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In your name I pray. Amen.

I know. It's such a simple short prayer but you just called on the name of the Lord and you know what? He heard that prayer and if you meant that prayer in your heart he answered that prayer. Now let me help you to get started on the right foot in your new life in Jesus Christ. The greatest adventure awaits you, the life of walking with God. I want to send you what we call a New Believers' Growth Pack that includes the New Believers' Bible and a whole lot more.

And let me be the first to say to you congratulations and welcome to the family of God. And to get that free New Believers' Growth Pack just ask for it if you've prayed along with Pastor Greg to receive Christ today. We'll be glad to send one your way free of any charge. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to and click Know God. Well next time as our study of the life of David continues, Pastor Greg brings good encouragement about the value of forgiveness. It sets us free from the baggage of the past. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 04:41:52 / 2023-03-06 04:52:38 / 11

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