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How Do I Find God While Suffering?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2022 10:00 pm

How Do I Find God While Suffering?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 29, 2022 10:00 pm

How do you appreciate God's gifts through loss and pain? Author Joe Rigney urges listeners to press into the pain while suffering to obtain a deeper connection to the Lord and realize their true gifts..

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All I have is Christ.

That song we will sing that song my church. All I have is Christ. If you do you mean that all is a big word you say that but what if I take your leg is still true that song you sing it church that is the you did you mean it, and so suffering is the way how we determine whether we really treasure God above everything. Or whether that's just words we say whatever we say about the subject has to be able to face the fact that every good thing that you have will one day be lost. We lost, how do you think about how you orient towards that reality. And so suffering does press on the places of our soul because it shows how precious the things of earth can be to us.

Welcome to family life where we want to help you pursue the relationship and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life. Places I've experience God the most is not on the Mount Valley true for you. I have felt like you pause, I was wondering what that Valley would be for you but I think that's when we meet in the most when I have felt in the mouth me I remember in college going in for my second knee surgery and after the first when I said I'm quitting football if this ever happens again. I'm on a scholarship. It's my life at the time and laying there in Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie Indiana mad at God, not understanding was going on. I look back now and realize I was on my deepest worship moments with God. It didn't feel like it at the time but I experienced them in a way I probably never had before and it was through suffering in on you pictures as well. I think when my sister passed away and she was in her 40s mean there is a part of me that couldn't understand that there is another part of me that needed God so desperately that I had to draw so close because I had nowhere else to go down where to talk a little bit about you to where you find God in your life and sufferings. One of those places a sort of the place you don't always expect the finding, but we get Joe Rigney back in the studio. Joe welcome back. This could be as they get, and you're much more than a pastor and in Minneapolis present Bethlehem college and seminary. Sort of like the plug that little bit I do. I love talking about school is a great privilege to be president Prof. there.

We seek to offer an education in serious joy which is related to what we just brought up there about life is hard yeah, your dad, dad, your husband, husband baseball coach baseball coach at all a lot of different hat yeah you to keep them straight. Sometimes I don't know anyway else it's tackled what you tackled, but in your book.

Strangely bright can you love God enjoyed this world you go after that tension between living for the supremacy of Christ in our life and loving things of this world and that's not a bad thing. It's attention that we can actually balance it only when we talk about this this whole topic of how do we love the world love the things of this earth in a way that honors God.

On the one hand you want to enjoy God in everything and everything in God. I talk about that is the integrated approach there there together. You know you want to choose love football.

For God sake you a baseball for God sake you have your food for God's sake, for the glory of God. And there's this comparative approach where you separate the gifts and the giver is kind of a gut check moment if you had to choose between all of the gifts or God himself.

Which one do you want, and we do this in worship when we sings all I have is Christ. That song love singing that song my church. All I have is Christ. If you do you mean that all is a big word or you know what David there's nothing I desire besides you account everything is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus.

Those kind of passages we want to sing those suffering is when God makes us put our money where our mouth is. You say that but what if I take your leg is still true that song you sang it church that use the you did you mean it. Suffering is the involuntary way, don't choose it, but it's the way that we test. Do you love God more than fill the blank. Some people just heard that that task had to car lights out is that guy absolutely does because because he loves us and he wants us to have more of him. There are things that he does in our souls in loss that he does not do anywhere else.

And all through the Bible whether you run from a story like Joseph all the evil that happened, Joseph, the brother selling him part of his wife lying about them getting thrown in prison at the end of his life, he says, you meant evil against me.

God meant it for good. God sent me here God had purposes in this Job same thing right.

Satan sure Satan is doing it and all these people Robin him and everything else but what was ultimately behind all of that God was why because God love Joe but he wanted to show him more of himself and so suffering is the way how we determine whether we really treasure God above everything. Or whether that's just words we say when I was writing this book is a funny story. I was first getting this project out of how much your listeners are familiar with the ministry of John Piper John to friend and mentor is the Chancellor for school and has been one of the main influence on my life and I was working on this book. By the time is a sermon out excited about is us telling about we enjoy God in everything, enjoy everything in God. And all this kind of stuff and he's he's listening to me very patiently in the looks of me says until you die. If you think about what he said is looked at man's event like that is a very Piper thing to say is true. Like that's actually true. Yes, all of these things are good and you're going to die and you're going to lose them you're going to lose them.

And so whatever we say about the subject has to be able to face the fact that every good thing that you have will one day be lost. We lost, how do you think about how you orient towards that reality. And so suffering does press on those deep places of our soul because it shows how precious the things of earth can be to us. I don't mean just like in idolatrous ways, like oh summary breaks in my house and steals my stuff and outlets that we should.

The Bible talks about rejoicing when your properties plundered because you have hope in God, that's a good thing talk about the ones like when the baby dies or the family breaks up and just the hard, whether from sin or just natural suffering any of those sort of situated brokenness in the wrongness of the world. When that lands on as we live in a broken curse word. When that comes crashing down upon us. The cancer returns and you have to go what is God wanting it is God is trying to take you deeper through the pain experience that found percent all the time both in my personal life, but then also I'm a younger pastor. I five Shepherd students and just the stuff that just comes just wave after wave after without feel sometimes as wave after wave after wave, and it simply ask her to laugh because you like that I am absolutely wrecked. Last week we had our pastors conference in the one of the pastors was speaking was our Kenny Stokes pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in his messages on my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. It was just, here's the passage in her story after story after story after story of the way that God just wrecks us in his grace is sufficient is just underneath there so yes, I've got all kinds of pain we all knew we all do you know is you set as a pastor, just as a fellow human walk in this planet we hear stories on both sides of suffering here always used to say trials make you better bidders. The choice is yours. And so we have a choice, and that some become better and closer to Christ and experience the goodness of God, even in the evilness of a suffering moment and others walk away. What determines how do you experience what you've been describing hard times when a good God still people don't experience that's right it does present us with a choice. We think about this is pastors are our pastoral team is part of our calling is to try to prepare people for the moment when they need it. I want to be trying to get out manufacture the big theology in the moment of suffering is not the time.

I want to lay deep roots in the Bible about God works all things together for good, and he's for you, he's not against you and this is ultimately for your joy. I want living is Christ dying is gain. I want that to be the flavor and that the ballast that they have, so that when the storm comes. They have it so part of it is sometimes people don't have their theology is so superficial it's so trivial it's all sunshine and roses and lollipops, and they have no category for deep suffering and God's purposes.

In it, and saw the pastor part of my goal is to preach the Bible teach the Bible in such a way that there is a depth of faith and grounding in the grace of God that is stabilizing God is my very present help in times of trouble. I will not fear the earth give way the water world from the mound be thrown to the heart of the sea.

I won't fear because he's my very present help. I want that before the storm comes. I remember hearing Tony Evans on the radio, probably 30 years ago. Talk about.

You don't see the cement guys pouring the foundation in the storm in Laredo. It's right. Yeah, he said they're pouring it on that day that Sonny and I remember going home thinking, honey, I was young and I thought I better start pouring my foundation when times are good, and I can go deep and lay those great foundations like the building your house on the sand are the rock and Mackey setting and so that made me think I need to be in the word every day and evening fellowship every day and so when we're faced with that trial. My sister's death.

I told Dave like I have enough foundation I got hates rocking in the storm is just pummeling me.

You have all kinds of questions going through your head like why what is the purpose I don't see any point to this and yet I know because I've been in the word God.

If you have a purpose. You love me and I can trust you right here right if we don't have that foundation poured. It gets rocky well so me.

One of the texts that we quote a lot as homework, progress right back in chapter 3, he says, though the fig tree should not blossom, or fruit. Be on the funds the produce of the olive fail in the fields yield no food, though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord.

I will take joy in the God of my salvation out.

Here's the homework you should at some point taken inventory go what your fig tree and fruit and all is in flux. Put your things in place of his could.

You probably don't have fig trees or flocks if you say no there's no herd in the stalls you said that's just Tuesday. I never have heard of the delay. I felt like I had to go through what would you say I mean it would be things like my kids Diana car wreck be though my wife to cancer right it would be that sort of thing. Though my father get dementia, Parkinson's, like he did. It's preparing the soul, for that moment and saying if that happens, what am I gonna do, and I was I would be like `I would take joy in the God of my salvation. That's what I want.

That's when we talk at Bethel and called his seminary about education in serious joy. That's what we mean because that joy is not light and true fuel and worthless it's it's it's substantive. It's a kind of thing that storms be don't use that that image from Matthew seven the storms being on it, but it's a rock as I want to build that into my life and its allies those around me because that's common for all of us. I'm guessing there's a listener right now there in it you know if we can even look at their life.

The storm is raging there walls of been beat down there listening and feeling like I don't think I can muster up rejoicing in this little I do what is love look like when the object of love is being taken. So you got someone who's dying of is it what it looks like his tears, it looks like grief.

It looks like weeping and wailing and saying why that's what it looks like one of the codes I came across.

My dad was. It hurts just as much as it's worth hurts as much as were the words pain.

The pain how much it hurt is a measure of the value that you place on whatever it is and psych while my dad was really valuable to me. That's why it hurts so bad as on the one hand, you don't run from the pain. That's part of lament implement you grief and I think this is where they can. The Bible is such an encouragement like you should grieve like Bible people grief which is like tear your close port you know ashes on your head and cry for seven days. That's what you do.

That's biblical grief you got the Psalms literature for how long, where are you. Why are you here like that's what faith does in those kind of circumstances so you don't have to just take your stoically shove it down and act like it doesn't hurt as much as it does that's just a lie.

I think this happens know what happens in our circles on the how widespread it is round and other churches really communities when God is taking something precious you can feel like I feel guilty because of how much it hurts you feel that guilt because if I if I really loved God I would grieve this when I was in no yeah if you really love God and you love his gifts and you're saying thank you for the gift when they're there when they get taken you're going to greet Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus.

He didn't go because he loved them food and go heal them and then when he shows up and they're like you know if you have been wearing. If you did that mean both of them, and they say the six think the same question.

If you'd been here, my brother wanted.what you think. They had been talking about for four days now. What had been the conversation in that room and it was just that question would be to bend your feet a bit here and there was Jesus to his troubled in spirit and he weeps he weeps with them five minutes before he brings Lazarus out. He didn't just cut a stroll in there with a smile and is vague.

I got this.

He says I know it hurts. Death is awful is awful. I hate about to conquer it on the resurrection life and so to the person who feels the loss right now is a God does have purposes here is not distant from this is in this and you're only going to find him if you press into the pain and go down and you meet Jesus who is the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief when you say that's the same for the person longing for something that may be, will never happen like a child. Yeah, absolutely. There's different kinds of suffering). The suffering of lost my dad died out.

I had him and I lost him and then you got the suffering of longing. I would have a husband or wife couple who wants to have children longing for those thing in God's not giving what I want to give it is that it hurt as much is it worth go to him with it and pray and let him be your ultimate comfort. He's the God of all comfort is one of his names and the is a great and is a God of all comfort and he comforts us in our affliction, so that we can comfort those in any affliction, with the comfort that we have received. It's interesting how you process that because it's so healthy because I think often we been taught or we think if I lament about the loss of a relationship or a thing or uncertain future.

Or I can't said I lament that I'm I can see how to get what I hope for a child of a marriage. Whatever that means. I value that thing or that person too much because I'm lamenting it in your sand that sexy healthy. It's okay. It's actually the process to making sure Christ is supreme in your life. That's right, it's brings the heart ache to God cast the burden on him. That's what it tells us to do with that pain that suffering the loss of the longing is to bring it to God and labor force for God's not threatened by his gifts, he's not threatened by his gifts, which means he's not threatened when you really want limited hurts that because you lost them repurchase you're not getting them. He's not threatened by that the danger comes, you can commit idolatry leasing about your wife.

What was the problem she experienced the same loss horrible lost 10 children gone all the stuff gone and Joe says the Lord gifts Lord takes away. Blessed be the name what he worships to tears and she says curse God.yeah and so is like so you can send engraved up.

I got to visit the modern world where people think pain and grief and loss is an excuse is not an excuse but it's rightly channeling all of that pain and bringing it to him and saying God. This is too much for me. I need your grace to be sufficient.

I need your grace to be sufficient. In my weakness and my affliction now and I would add, don't let man alone.

That's right even the biblical examples. There always with community and if the community rejects you, because your lamenting is sarong community at substation. He wrapping her arms and sin. I feel your pain.

Dude let me walk with you and point you back as long as it takes, but let's go on a journey together. We talked about losing your dad and just have this common bond of baseball to legally dead so you know when dad died in 20 7:13 or eight years of Alzheimer partisans awful, which is this a horrible way to died to watch someone you love with her heart as it was on me and it was harder on my mom. She lost her best friend, I guess is the book like I miss him most of the baseball field is my coach. You know like you I got was something that we bond my brothers and I will play baseball.

He coached us. I was like a bonding thing.

So now here I am with kids of my own and he's not present to be there and so it is a thing that like I feel the loss about March April May, most even though he died in November, so fine because some people think that's shallow you don't have a spa.

It was the place where the relationship was forged, informed, so it baseball was valuable because my dad's valuable and baseball is valuable to him because on valuable he loved me. I love him and this was one of the place is not the only but one of the places where the happen and the same things happen of me. My boys so we be playing baseball in heaven with your dad. So I have this I have this thing is I did talk about this in the book about how it's a mental imagination thing and and I need to explain it carefully because some people think it's kind of odd but it's like the thing I don't get to have right now which is dad cheering. While I'm coaching and so on display and I think that would be a really sweet thing of earth that would be really bright to be happy. Thanks. My father-in-law, my wife's dad. He does that.

It says is so glorious I'm so glad that he's he steps in there to be present, me, your whole books about that, but that's I mean I'm literally went back to a moment of her dad, who's the biggest Cleveland Browns fan in the world sitting in Cleveland Stadium.

Yeah I'm on the sideline with the Detroit Lions were plan a preseason game there and my son's plan for lien. So there it is there sweet it was like the sweetest moment ever. Who cares what would happen again. It was like this thing that we share and so you got that would baseball Sen. at his past. That's right. And so that I go will in heaven.

I imagine my dad watching the game in my son's plan on coaching. I imagine the joy don't get now there you know it can happen. You will be like you're right I don't but it's a deep longing and what the Bible does tell me as I has not seen ears not heard nor is the mind of man can see for God has prepared for those who love him. So I'm just trying to give God a workout.

I think this would be a glorious moment so Lord. It needs to be either that good or better and I am happy with better the goodness and greatness of God.

Whatever. Heaven, whatever their new heavens and new earth is like whatever working to be doing is going to far surpass our greatest joys here and our greatest longings here.

No one is going to be disappointed and so part of what I'm doing there is to say, this is a deep pain and therefore it's a deep longing, and therefore, I expect Lord you've promised you were going to meet it either. That way, or probably better that image that you just described, which you in the book with him so well written is such a great picture.

What matters does the things that we enjoy in this earth are the relationships that matter, so I would just say to the dad that I knows a mom. Listen to her.

The husband or wife. Don't miss an opportunity today to pour into the relationships that matter most to you. You know I am an older dad. Now my grandfather I could say like that their other house savings is huge. You let your sons are sitting over there there young boys becoming men in your window is closing. If I could go back and do it again I would seize more moments, so I would just say men don't miss that moment decent relations matter go after Marcus got a smile and in those moments that was David and Wilson talking with Joe Rigney on family life if you like a copy of Joe's books range sleep right you can grab it or you can give us a call at 1-800-358-6329. That's when eat hundred F peasant family L as in life, and then the word today what I told you that the foundation of your marriage isn't all on you to figure out well family last weekend to remember is three days for you and your spouse to get away together to hear from great speakers and connect over God's word.

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