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Looking Beyond Our Disappointments - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2024 12:00 am

Looking Beyond Our Disappointments - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 23, 2024 12:00 am

Focus on your God-given goals and triumph over temporary disappointments.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, January 23rd. Heartache can make God seem far away, but Scripture reminds us that He's always near. From the 11th chapter of the book of John, here's part two of Looking Beyond Our Disappointments. The one thing I love about the Scripture among many things is it doesn't gloss over anything. It deals with hard core emotions that you and I have to deal with in life. Nothing's glossed over, nobody's perfect, everybody makes mistakes, everybody fails, everybody goes through difficulties, hardship, pain, suffering, trial, disappointments in life. God doesn't gloss over all that, but rather He gives us the principles by which we face these experiences in life and we know how to respond in a way to move forward into God's purpose and plan for our life. Well, let me just give you a little idea of what's happening in this passage because this passage deals with disappointment.

For example, here's what happened. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, whom Jesus loved dearly, the Bible says, and they loved him, he's sick. And so Mary and Martha send this messenger to Jesus, probably took him a couple of days to get there, maybe somewhere thereabouts, and they found Jesus and told him Lazarus is sick.

And what I want you to notice is the message that they sent. Here's what they didn't say. They didn't say, please tell Jesus Lazarus is sick, come quickly. They didn't even say, tell Jesus Lazarus is sick, please speak a word of healing. They didn't say any of that.

Here's what they said. They said, look at this, in verse three now. So the sisters sent word to him saying, Lord, behold, that means this is urgent. He whom you love is sick.

Look at that. He whom you love is sick. They didn't say, please come, please heal him. They just, they were just sending a message.

The one you love is sick. Now, why do they say that? Because they knew, listen to what the scripture says. Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. They knew that Jesus loved them.

And so they didn't sense that they had to tell him anything else. But Jesus, the one you love is sick. They didn't say Lazarus who loves you, but the one you love is sick. Their expectation was as soon as he heard that, he would either come and heal Lazarus by touching him or raising him up or whatever it might be, or at least he would speak a word to the messenger and say, you go tell them their brother is healed. And when he walks in with that message, Lazarus would be healed.

All they said was, you just tell him that he's sick. Well, that's what happened. Four days later, Jesus shows up. Lazarus is dead in the tomb. Rocks already stone rolled against the tomb.

He shows up. And so what happens is because there was such animosity toward Jesus, such hatred toward him. In fact, even after Lazarus was raised in the grave, the Bible says the Pharisees and Sadducees were plotting not only to kill Jesus, but to kill Lazarus, too, because his the fact that he was alive was living proof that this Jesus was not an unusual man, but a most unusual one who came to be the Messiah.

And so they hated him. And so when Jesus came upon the scene in Bethany, he waited outside the city, outside the town, because he didn't want to cause any turmoil. And so they sent a message. Martha goes out to meet him.

What's the first thing she says? Lord, if you'd been here, my brother would not have died. There was then a disappointment in that. Absolutely there was.

To try to cover that up would be a false. You and I would have been disappointed. Lord, I mean, Martha could have said, Lord, how many meals have I cooked you? You've always been a guest. I've always been there for you when you needed me.

And now when we needed you, you didn't show up. I don't think she said all that. But you know what? Being human, she thought it. She had to think it. I mean, this was not God.

She was human. And you read that 10th chapter of Luke and the message we preached on some time ago. And so they were disappointed, didn't show up. In fact, it was so bad the messenger didn't even come back and say, Jesus said, I'm not coming.

It was just a cold, empty delay. And so they were disappointed now. So let's get it down there where it is. Reality. That's what reality is all about. We all get disappointed.

So the issue is how do we respond? How do we respond to disappointments in life? Because no matter who you are, you're going to experience them. And more than likely, you may experience one this coming week.

You could experience one before you get home today. Disappointments are out there. So I want to give you several principles in this passage that if you'll jot them down, I am absolutely sure and confident they will help you. They've been tested and tried by millions over the years. And I can tell you personally, every single one of them works.

No matter what you're going through, they will work. And the first one is simply this. When you think about all the principles in this passage, I just want to draw out these that have to do with disappointment.

The first one is this. God has a purpose for allowing the disappointments of our life. He has a purpose for allowing the disappointments of our life.

He's God. He could prevent them if he wanted to. He could change any circumstance of our life to prevent any kind of disappointment if he wanted to. And you and I can look around this and say, well, how could he have prevented that? Because he's God.

So think about this. God always has a purpose in allowing us to go through difficulties in life. He always has a purpose that is for our good. This is why I titled this message, Looking Beyond Our Disappointments, because when they come, we don't want to get stalled in the midst of them.

We don't want to get derailed in the midst of them. We want to ask ourselves the question, God, what is it that you have in mind in this disappointment in my life? What is it out there that you want me to learn? What is it about you?

You want me to know? What is it about the way you work that I am to learn? So God always has a good purpose in allowing us to go through these disappointments in life, and his purpose will always be for our good. That's the second principle I think here, and certainly it was true in Mary and Martha's life. Second principle is this, and that is that God is more interested in our spiritual growth than relieving us from disappointments.

He's far more interested in our spiritual growth than relieving us from disappointments. Now here's a good lesson, I think, about this whole issue of faith, because Martha and Mary are getting ready to experience a monumental leap in their faith. Monumental leap in their faith. You say, well, didn't they already have faith?

They'd listen to Jesus. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. Martha sat at the feet of Jesus, and they'd listen, and they'd watch them. They'd heard, and they'd fed him, and he'd been there many times, and sharing experiences about the Father and things they were going through. Wasn't she already a lady of faith?

Yes, she was. Now listen very carefully. Listen, say amen. There is a difference between having fundamental faith and active, vibrant, practical, working, life-changing, impacting faith.

There's a difference. Now watch this. When Martha arrives on the scene, here's what happens. Verse 20, Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha said to him, Lord, if you'd have been here, my brother would not have died.

Now watch this next few phrases. Even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you. Tremendous faith in Jesus and his relationship to the Father, believing who he was. Jesus said to her, your brother will rise again. Martha said to him, I know that he will rise again the resurrection on the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection of the life, and he who believes in me will live even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? She said, yes, Lord, I have believed that you're the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, even he who comes in the world.

Now, when it comes, now watch this carefully. When it comes to fundamental faith, she was loaded with it. She had it. She believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that he came from the Father, that he was the Messiah, and that whatever he asked God, God would do. So she was grounded in the faith. And so here's Martha. Martha had fantastic faith. She believed all the things that Jesus had taught her, and she said, I believe that even now, whatever you ask of God, God's going to give you. Now watch that, because we said she's human just like any other woman would be.

So what was happening? Jesus was about to give her an awesome lesson in faith, and she needed a faith that was active, vibrant, alive, listen, rested, tried in the fire, and sustained in the most difficult trying experience of life. And here, her brother has been in the grave, stone rolled up over the grave for four days, he's been dead. Now, what does he want to teach her?

He wants the teacher to trust him. Now watch this. Trust me, Martha, no matter what you see, no matter what you know, no matter what you've heard, I want you to trust me. Jesus says, roll the stone away. Now here's this woman, she's got the faith. She said, I believe even now.

So when he says roll away the stone, she says, wait a minute, he's been dead four days, and you know what a horrible smell it's going to be, four days he's been dead. Now wait a minute. We said, for example, I know that you're the Son of God, you're the Messiah, anything you ask of the Father he'll do it. Here's what I want you to see.

All of us. When we get in the depths of some situations and circumstances, here's what happens. This battle goes on in our minds. Faith versus reason.

Reason said, four days, he smells, his body is deteriorating, and he's dead. Faith says, whatever you say Jesus is going to be. And there was a hesitation on her part to roll back the stone, even though she just said, I know even now that whatever you ask of God, God's going to give you. Now I'm saying all that to say this, this woman was human. Every single one of us is human.

We will face situations and circumstances and disappointments in life where our faith is going to be tested and tried. If it weren't tested and tried, we wouldn't grow. What is it that causes us to grow?

Ease, comfort and pleasure? Absolutely not. What causes us to grow is difficulty, hardship, pain, disappointments, trials in life, those helpless times when we don't know what to do and how to handle anything but the trust in God. It was an awesome lesson of faith for her. And I believe that those times of disappointment in our life are God's opportunities to stretch our faith.

It's one thing to say what we believe, when everything is going our way. Do I still believe it? Is my faith vibrant and alive and active and practical? And listen, when it stand the test of fire and floods, if he won't stand the test of fire and floods, desertion, abandonment, the threat of death and everything else, then that faith is weak.

And so what happens? He knew this was an awesome opportunity to do for Martha, someone whom he loved dearly, the greatest thing he could give her is to absolutely explode her faith and watch what happened. So sometimes, oftentimes, most of the time, I believe that God is in the process of teaching us something. And so what we have to remember is this, that he's far more interested in stretching our faith and building our faith, growing us up spiritually than he is relieving us of any kind of disappointment in life.

Then I want you to think about something else. And that is, that our disappointments are not an indication that God doesn't love us. And how oftentimes I've heard this, well, you know what, if God really loved me, why did he let this happen?

If God loved me, why did he let this happen? Disappointment has nothing to do with the love of God. There is no indication that God does not love us because he allows us to go through disappointments.

We just said he's got a tremendous purpose in mind and oftentimes fantastic purpose in mind. Oftentimes, he's in the process of growing us up spiritually, has nothing to do with love. Now watch what the Scripture says. Scripture says, for example, when they sent the message, it said, Behold, he whom you love is sick. So certainly they knew that Jesus loved Lazarus and that he loved them. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So they had this wonderful loving relationship, got in the relationship with each other. And so there was no question about that. Now, what I want you to notice is this. Jesus' response to them was silence.

That's hard. It's like you're praying in some great difficulty and your prayers are getting to the ceiling and they just bounce around and hitting the wall and coming back and you're thinking, God, where are you? Remember this, whenever you feel that way, he's where he's already been. God doesn't move. Thank God he does.

He doesn't move. His love has not changed. Disappointments do not mean that God doesn't love us sometimes. Those disappointments, in fact, if we will respond right, he will turn every single one of them into something fantastically good in our life. We will profit from the disappointments. But if we get in this mode, well, God, if you love me, you wouldn't let this happen. And yes, I am disappointed and I'm hurt. And Lord, why don't you do this and why don't you do that? That's not the issue.

Because think about this. If you love somebody, you always want what's best for them. If you love someone, you will always try to provide what is best for them. Does God love us?

Yes. Does he always want what's best for us? Always. Not sometimes, not most of the time, always he wants what's best. Does he provide his best for us? Always. Do we always experience the best?

No. Why? Because we're not willing to surrender to what his best is. Because here's what I want you to remember. God's choice of our best isn't always our choice. We think we have needs that God knows we don't have.

We don't think we have needs that God knows we do have. And so oftentimes in our disappointments, because we lose or because there's loss or because there's separation, because something happens out there that absolutely places us in a position of being so disappointed, we cry out, God, how could you love me and allow this? And all the time, God is loving us.

Now, here's the problem. When I'm hurting and there's pain and the pain is so intense, I mean, sometimes it's difficult to feel his love and the pain at the same time. That's when you have to go not by feeling, but by fact. The fact is, the truth is, God loves me just as much in my tears, in my hurt, in my crying, in my pain, in my in my sense of emptiness at the moment. He loves me just as much now as when everything is going my way.

You can't go by feeling. God's love for you, listen to this, cannot change. It absolutely cannot change because he is a loving God and it is his nature to love. And listen, if you want to know how much he loves you, look at the cross.

What else could he do? Young man came up to me and said, You know, I'm just having a problem with my whole idea about being saved. I know that he saved me and and I here's what I've done. And so we went through all that and I know that he was saved. And so he said, I just don't know what else to do.

So I asked him a question. What else could God do to persuade you that he has saved you other than sending his only begotten Son to the cross to die in your behalf, take your sin, your debt in full on the cross and pay your sin debt in full. What else could he do to save you besides that? He hesitated. Big smile broke out on his face.

He said, nothing. Because the cross is the ultimate expression of love. And so now disappointments has nothing to do with he loves us or not.

Well, let's move on to something else. For example, faith that God is in control will enable us to endure every single disappointment in life. Now, here is a major key faith that God is in control. If God is not in control of your life, you are a victim. You're a victim of circumstances. If he's not in control of our lives, we're like people in a little one man raft out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a storm.

And you know what? We don't know what's going to happen. If God is not in control of your life, you don't have any assurance of anything. Absolutely nothing whatsoever. No assurance of anything if God's not in control.

Very important that you not remember this. When we face disappointments, one thing, listen, the bottom line, the foundational truth is God is in control of your life. If you trusted him as your personal savior, he's in control. He's exercising control. Once you settle that issue, you will be able to look beyond any disappointment in life and know that God's up to something good.

When you surrender your conviction that God is in control, you give up the basis of your absolute peace and joy and contentment and faith in difficult times in life. And you're out there swimming on your own. And my friend, you'll be sorry.

It just doesn't work that way. She knew. She said, even now, even now I know no matter what I'm seeing, no matter what I hear, no matter what I see, even now I know that you're in control. Whatever you ask is going to happen. Well, let's move on. Something else I want you to notice, and that's this, that peace will prevail in the midst of our disappointments when we learn to wait upon the Lord. Does that mean no pain?

No. Listen, you can have pain and sorrow and hurt and disappointment and be grieved in your spirit. But underlying that, there's this indescribable layer of peace that absolutely cannot be moved because of your simple faith and trust in God. I don't like it, God. I'm hurting.

I'm disappointed. Lord, you know what's going on. And yet in spite of all that, I know that you're in control and I know that you only want what's best for me. And I know you're only going to do what's best for me.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-23 02:30:26 / 2024-01-23 02:38:24 / 8

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