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Hearing God In the Storm

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2021 2:00 am

Hearing God In the Storm

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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September 20, 2021 2:00 am

In the middle of life's storms, it can be difficult to find our way. Dave and Ann Wilson discuss the struggle between trusting what we see versus trusting what God says.

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So when you're the Detroit Lions chaplain for 33 seasons. As you were. You go through a few hard seasons. Yeah, you've been through.

Why are you laughing right now? You went through them too. I know I did and we've experienced more hard than easy. But in comparison. Yeah, I was just gonna say, I mean those are hard seasons, but it's football. Yeah. It's not life. And honestly, if you win a Super Bowl or not, it's a great thing, I guess. I would think, you know.

For somebody, but life isn't dependent on it. Yeah. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most.

I'm Ann Wilson and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us at family life today dot com or on our family life app. This is family life today. You talk about tough seasons. Twenty twenty was one of the hardest seasons, hardest years anybody's ever gone through. Yeah.

And I think we're still recovering from that year and some years beyond that, too. Yeah. And so one of the big questions is how do you deal with pain and hardship in your life? So we were asked to speak on the Love Like You Mean It virtual cruise because there wasn't a big deal. And so when we were asked to speak on that, my first thought is let's give a happy message. Let's give a fun message about marriage.

Because that's generally who we are. We talk about some hard topics, but we still like to bring joy into our lives. But we have lived through some really hard times in our marriage and in our lives as well, as all of our listeners have. And so I think that this message will be very relevant.

Yeah. So we decided let's go and talk about how do you find God in the middle of a storm? Because this year felt like a storm. So hopefully this is going to really help some people.

I think it's a reminder of God is with us. You know, this has been quite the year. I remember thirty five years ago, when I was a little kid, I was a little kid. We moved to Detroit and was pregnant. We rented this little house. We're moving all our stuff in. My parents are in town.

I'm still kind of sick because it's beginning of my pregnancy. And Dave, suddenly on the move in day, he says, hey, I have to leave. It's actually the next morning.

She doesn't remember. We were stressed out, frantic. We're sort of fighting. Any of you been fighting this year? Yeah.

I mean, we are. It's Saturday morning. I have to get in the car, drive an hour. I don't know where I'm going.

In Michigan, to Dearborn, Michigan, because Bill Bright, the founder and president of CREW, is going to be there and I'm supposed to meet him. I have to go. She's like, you can't leave. What do you leave?

We still have boxes. She walks out in the garage pregnant. We are yelling at each other. Can you imagine what the neighbors think? I wasn't yelling. I never yell.

She never yells. She was yelling. And I was yelling back.

Her parents are still in the house. And I'm so mad. And I don't want to do this, but I have to do this. And I'm just yelling at her. I get in the car and I'm so mad.

I'm in reverse and I just slam on the accelerator back up as fast as I can. And she starts yelling and waving her arms. I'm saying, and he doesn't know what I'm saying. She's yelling.

I think she's just still mad at me. Stop. Stop. Stop. And I'm literally like, yeah, whatever. And all of a sudden, I run right into a pickup that was sitting in her driveway. My parents' pickup.

Because we used it to move. And I mean, I hit it probably going 20 miles an hour. And then as soon as I hit it, I realized, she was trying to yell, stop.

She wasn't yelling at me. And it was just this embarrassing, crazy moment. And we thought of that because we thought 2020 has been a year of getting hit by the pickup. I mean, hasn't it really been? It's been crazy. I mean, we're on a virtual cruise right now.

Who would have ever thought we couldn't get on a boat and go out because of a pandemic? But here we are. And it's been a hard year. Yeah, it's been really hard.

It happened in 2020. You guys probably have your own list. We lost our dog. We lost my mom in January. My dad- Not to COVID, but- Yeah.

My dad was in the hospital when she passed. And we've just had a rough year. Yeah. And so I actually made a list of just one word. One word. We have a list of them that every one of us that's lived through this year, when you hear the word, it's got an emotion. Yeah, it's words that we won't forget. Yeah. So here they are. I mean, we could do this all day.

We're not going to, but just think about this. COVID. Ventilators.

Brianna. Protests. Canceled. Stimulus.

Arbery. Protests. Unemployment.

Floyd. Riots. Statues. Fires.

Division. BLM. Anger. Protests. Hate. Masks. Cairns.

We all know some carriage, right? NBA. Baseball. Politics. Debates. Football. I like that you get all the sport words. I'm glad we have football. Election. Spikes.

Vaccine. And here's what I think a lot of us are asking. God? Where are you? What are you doing? Why aren't you here? You know, what's really interesting for me is I decided at the beginning of 2020, I was going to walk through daily the book of Psalms.

And I had no idea that in February and March, we'd be in a lockdown and a pandemic. But you know, as you read through the book of Psalms, it's really a great book. 150 Psalms.

Many of them are laments, much like what we just said. God, where are you? Why is this happening?

Why aren't you meeting me here right now? And God's in it. And we're saying, like, it's been hard, but there's been good, too, hasn't there? But a lot of us are thinking those questions.

We're asking those questions, and it's been a hard year. And one of the interesting things I think that happens when you become a Christ follower is there's sort of this belief that if I add Jesus to my life, life will be easier. And my marriage. Yeah. And our marriage will be better. I mean, it's just like everything goes better with Jesus. Wasn't that a commercial? Yeah.

Back in the day, everything goes better with Coke. It's like if I just have Jesus in my life, everything will be easier. And yet here we are and we have Christ in our life, many of us, and it's still hardening, isn't it? And so what we decided to do with you tonight is walk through a story about a man in the Old Testament, a man named Elijah. I don't know if you're very familiar with him, but he was a prophet in the Old Testament in the books of first and second Kings. And he was a prophet to a king, a king named King Ahab. And if you know anything about King Ahab, here's what you know. He was called the most evil king of Israel. Now this is in a list of 19 kings over 200 years who were all evil. And yet this King Ahab is called the most evil.

So he was just a nasty, evil, evil dude. And Elijah is a prophet, so he's going to speak the words of God wherever God sends him. Now guess what? We're going to find out. We're going to find out that God sends Elijah to King Ahab to give him a not very popular message. It's pretty crazy, but there is a message that I think is in this story for us as married couples in the middle of a pandemic when we're hurting.

Right? So we're going to just sort of read you through this story. Now here's what's interesting. As he goes to speak to King Ahab, you got to know something about King Ahab. He worships a God named Baal. It's not a God at all. It's a false God. Baal is the God of fertility and rain.

All right. And he's also, King Ahab is married to an interesting woman. What's her name?

You guys all know the name. It's Jezebel. And it shows the power that we have in our marriages and as wives because Jezebel, I feel like she really led Ahab into this direction of worshiping these idols. And I will just say this to you, especially if your parents teach your children to marry the right people. Because who you marry really determines your life. You don't know this about my story, but I almost married a Jezebel.

I mean, that was not her name, but I will tell you her name. But for four years I dated her and I thought I was going to marry her. But as I came to Christ, I began to realize she's serving a different God. And if I would have married her, I'm telling you right now, we're not sitting here today. I'm a divorced man, not in ministry. And I didn't make that decision. And I would just encourage you to say, and by the way, I hope you're not watching this going, I'm married to Jezebel.

That's what I was going to say. And it doesn't mean that God can't transform us and change us. And right now you shouldn't be looking at your spouse saying, that is you.

We're not saying that. All right. Let's read this story. OK. By the way, 1 Kings 17. Now, Elijah said to Ahab, as the Lord, the God of Israel lives whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years, except at my word. So what's really interesting is picture yourself being Elijah and God says, you've got to go give this message to the king.

And notice what he just said. There's not going to be rain for the next years. What the God that Ahab serves is the God of rain. And so God's telling you, if you're Elijah, you've got to go tell him there's going to be no rain.

You're going to challenge his very God. Now, some of you know later, we're not going to talk about this story, but there's a showdown later and a couple chapters later at Mount Carmel between the God of Elijah and the God of Ahab to find out who it is. But at this moment, all Elijah knows is I have to go tell the king who believes that his God is going to bring rain, that your God is not going to bring rain.

And they were not following God at that time. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, leave here, turn eastward and hide in the careth ravine east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there. So he did what the Lord had told him, and he went to the careth ravine east of the Jordan and he stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And so it's really interesting, I think, about this is, you know, he ends up in this careth valley, which you don't know this, but you know what careth means?

Cut off. It means Death Valley. So you think, OK, if I follow God and do what he calls me to do and obey him, it's all going to go good. No, we end up in Death Valley.

But in Death Valley, what happens is he provides food and water. He takes care of it. So it's almost like, oh, yeah, this is how it is when you obey God. You do everything he said. It may be tough at times, but God will meet you right there.

Right. That's how it goes. He's always going to take care of you and provide for you. And then you get the next verse. It says sometime later, the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land, which is like, oh, my goodness, here it is. If you obey God, your life will be blessed. Well, you know, Elijah is obeying God and yet he has no water. And you know what he said was going to happen. There's going to be no rain.

There's no rain. And it affects him as well. We're sort of again, it's this perspective that if I follow God, everything will go right. But here's the truth. Even when we follow God, sometimes there's pain, even when we obey God and do everything he's asking us to do. Things don't always go the way we hope or we want.

And here is Elijah doing the right thing. And life is really hard. And sometimes you and I struggle because we think, why am I struggling in my marriage? Why are we struggling in our job or our health when we're doing everything God has asked us to do? And life can sometimes be hard.

Why does that happen? Where is God in that moment? And what's really interesting is you find out in this story that God is right there. But in the moment, in the valley, often we don't believe that. I feel like we didn't. I remember when we were really struggling and maybe some of you have experienced this too. When we're really struggling in our marriage, I felt like God was even hearing me. Like, Lord, do you see us? Do you hear us?

We're praying for help. And I felt like I felt like it was kind of a call out to nothing. I knew he heard me, but we didn't see it. And I remember when I came to Christ, it was in my junior year in college. And what's really interesting in my life at the time is everything was going almost as I could have dreamed.

Like perfectly. Yeah, I'm playing college football. I actually had hair.

I didn't realize I sort of had a comb over going. But I'm playing college football on a scholarship. I had just led the nation in passing percentage my sophomore year. I'm a preseason All-American pick going into my junior year. And right before my junior year, I was empty. Even though I've done everything I thought I could do and accomplished success, I was empty. And I come to Christ. It's a whole other story. But now I'm a Christ follower.

And here's what I thought. This year football school will be the best year ever. God will bless you.

Because I've got God now and I'm following him. And here's a preseason All-American. I start that season. Guess how I end up? In a hospital bed. I rip up this knee, tear it. I can't finish the season. I'm laying in a hospital bed in Muncie, Indiana, because I went to the incredible Harvard of the Midwest, Ball State University.

I'm sure you all know that. But, you know, I was in Ball Memorial Hospital literally by myself after surgery, looking at the ceiling. And I'll never forget this.

Just looking up and going, so this is what you do? My life was better last year without you in my life than you in my life. Now, I don't even know if I can play football again. I don't know what the future is. Where are you? What are you doing? I felt abandoned by God, which I know many of us feel when we're in the valley. It's like, God, you're supposed to make my life better. My life is worse.

Here's what a lot of people do. They walk away. I thank God I didn't walk away. But at that moment, I didn't really understand. Is God here? Now I can look back 2020 and say he was right there. In fact, he was doing something in my life, even in that hospital room, that I couldn't see in the moment. But I can look back now and almost it's as if he was preparing me through this pain for something greater. And the same thing can be true in your marriage. I mean, the most difficult years of our marriage, when we felt, you know, like God had sort of abandoned us. He's not answering our prayers. We look back on now. And so those years were incredible years of building something strong in us that would help us last to now in our 40th year of marriage. I love the quote by A.W.

Tozer. He said, It's doubtful that God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply. And I know that can sound like, oh, that sounds terrible because I thought God loved us so much. And yet God does love us. He loves our marriages. He sees us. He knows the pain we're in. And yet that very pain can transform us. And here's the amazing thing about Elijah.

You know, as we thought about this message, we're going to end it right there and go to some life's truth, which we're going to get to in a minute. But we weren't going to read the rest of the story. But look what happens in the rest of the story, because he's in a valley.

The brook has dried up. He doesn't have water now. And so he's struggling to say, OK, God, where are you? And then watch what God does. Then the word of the Lord came to him.

Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food, which, by the way, I'll make a comment here. You know, often God meets us through people.

Don't miss that. You know, we're always thinking, God, often he places people. Here's a widow that Elijah doesn't know. And God uses a woman, a stranger literally to be the face of God to Elijah to provide for him. So he went to Zarephath where he came to the town gate.

A widow was there gathering sticks. He called her and asked, would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink? And by the way, here's another great principle. When you're when you're when you're struggling, ask for help. That's really hard sometimes. I mean, you don't want to ask for help. You sort of don't even want to tell anybody you're struggling. Some of you are struggling right now.

And that's OK. Ask for help. Here's Elijah, prophet of God. He asked a widow, a stranger for help. And it sounds like just a simple little thing, but that's where a miracle begins. As she was going to get it, he called and bring me, please, a piece of bread as surely as the Lord your God lives. She replied, I don't have any bread, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug.

I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it and die. Talk about losing hope. Yeah, I mean, notice she's she's given up. She knows this is the last bit of food that she had. And often you think I'm not going to ask somebody that's lost hope. And yet look what God does.

Pretty cool. Elijah said to her, don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first, make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land. And I and I think again, we just stop for a second. I think there's a really important truth right here. God is saying through this widow, actually to Elijah, are you going to trust what you see or are you going to trust what I say?

It's really good. And it's true in this story. I think it's true for you and me today. If we look at what we see, it's easy to lose hope, especially today. Oh, my goodness. There are no signs on the horizon that things are going to turn.

Right. And so if we only look at what we see, if the only thing you and I do, and I've done this way too many times to pick up my phone in the morning and read the New York Times or any news and read of spikes and things going on in the world, I start to lose hope. So if I look at what I see, we're in trouble. But if I look at what he says, in fact, we've learned instead of open up the news in the morning, open up the word of God and look at what God says, because right here there's a question looming.

Is Elijah, is this widow going to trust what God says? I will provide. I'm here.

I'm with you. Or are they going to look at what they see? And I think that's a principle we live with every single day. Am I going to look at what's happening in our marriage and think we're not going to make it? Or am I going to look at, wait, wait, wait, God's still here. God's got a plan for us. I know the signs don't look good, but there's a God that's with us that we can trust. It's kind of like we say, God, are you seeing my husband?

Are you seeing my wife? Like, I don't have a lot of hope or even what our kids are going through. The hopelessness or maybe depression our kids are going through. And it's easy to lose hope. And look at look at how this story ends. And again, I can't believe we almost skipped this part. I get to read this part. It says, so she went away. So this is the widow. She went away and did as Elijah had told her.

So guess what? She's trusting. Not what she sees, but what he said, what God says. She did it as Elijah told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family, for the jar of flour was not used up. And the jug of oil did not run dry in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

I mean, it's this really pretty remarkable, not pretty spectacular miracle that takes place in the middle of this thing. And I know you're thinking, oh, that that's the way God's going to always take care of me. It doesn't always work out that way. But here's the thing. They trusted God, even the middle of a valley, in the middle of a drought. And God shows up in a pretty spectacular way. That isn't the way it always goes. But here's the truth. God always works, even when we don't think he's working.

Well, that was us on the Love Like You Mean It virtual cruise 2021. That last part, will we trust what we see or what God says? Like, that's pretty big and it's not easy.

No, I mean, it's so easy. Like the woman, you know, when Elijah said this is what God's going to do, it's like, I don't see that. All I see is, you know, darkness.

I see a valley. And yet God comes through Elijah and says, there's a reality that you can't see that you're going to have to trust. It's the word of God. And I think that's key because what I end up doing when I get in those situations that feel like I'm out of control, I start conjuring up a plan. What are we going to do?

What am I going to do? And sometimes it's easy to not go instantly into God's word. And his word is so powerful. Yeah. And I would just add, we're going to talk about this as we finish this message, but you've got to be in his word.

Yeah. Because it's so easy to keep your eyes almost looking around rather than looking in his word. And his word is his truth.

And it reminds you he's actually right here, right now. It's hard to function without hope. Anytime you lose hope, whether it's in your marriage, in your job circumstances, relationships, the events of life, we feel helpless. Dave and Ann Wilson have been pointing us to the place where hope can be reignited, and that is God's word. We've been listening today to part one of a message from Dave and Ann Wilson, a message that was actually presented on the 2021 Love Like You Mean It virtual cruise.

So because of COVID, we were not able to go cruising last year with our Love Like You Mean It cruise. We did that virtually and Dave and Ann spoke on that cruise. Dave and Ann are going to be speaking again on the 2022 Love Like You Mean It cruise, which this time is not virtual.

It's in real life. We'll be gathering together, leaving from Port Canaveral on February 6th and sailing for eight days and seven nights. It's going to be a great cruise lineup with not only Dave and Ann, but Dr. Julie Slattery, Ron Deal. The Kendrick Brothers are going to be there. We're going to be previewing their newest movie that's coming out in theaters next year. A great lineup of speakers and artists for the 2022 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

And right now we're at about 70 percent capacity. And so this is kind of last call for those of you who are interested in joining us on the cruise. We have a special offer going now through October 4th where you can save some money and join us on the cruise. Go to our website, familylifetoday.com for more information about the cruise or if you have any questions, call us at 1-800-FL today. The cruise is such a great getaway for couples to relax, refresh your marriage and grow closer to one another and closer to Christ.

Again, find out more. Go to familylifetoday.com or call 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Now tomorrow we're going to hear part two of Dave and Ann Wilson's message about how to find strength in the storms in your marriage. And we'll hear from them about the benefits that come our way in the midst of suffering when we're in the valley. And I know it doesn't feel like it at the time, but there are benefits there.

God's word tells us that. So I hope you can be with us tomorrow. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We will see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-21 22:45:05 / 2023-08-21 22:55:54 / 11

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