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When Life Tumbles in, What Then?

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2024 12:00 am

When Life Tumbles in, What Then?

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 20, 2024 12:00 am

What can we do when our circumstances shake our faith?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, May 20th. Is it possible to respond to desperate feelings with calm assurance? The answer is yes. Join us today and learn what to do when life tumbles in. Well, have you ever felt like life just sort of tumbled in on you? How many of you ever felt that?

We all have, haven't we? Well, how did you respond when you felt that way? You probably felt confused, frustrated, anxious, maybe angry. You didn't know which way to turn, didn't know what to do. You probably felt maybe your prayers weren't getting answered. Why even pray any longer?

You didn't feel anything. You didn't feel God being very close. And so, you found yourself really struggling in your faith maybe, struggling with your circumstances and wondering, what in the world am I going to do next? What I want to talk about in this message is this simple title, When Life Tumbles In, What Then? Psalm forty-six. He says, God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore, because He is, We will not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, And though its waters roar and form, Though the mountains quake, lest swelling prod, There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved.

God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered. He raised His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Come behold the works of the Lord, Whose wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two.

He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Now for a person who's not a Christian, they could read this passage and it wouldn't say much to them. When they come to traumas and difficulties and hardships and real crises in their life, what do they do?

Well, they respond like the rest of the world responds. And so when you and I look at this passage and we ask ourselves the question, what is the answer to this? When life tumbles in on me, what then? Well, he says there are two things I'm to remember, and these two are sufficient. I want you to look at these two.

Look at the first one and then we'll talk about it. If you'll notice back in verse ten, he says, Cease striving or be still and know that I am God. And in that one sentence is an awesome message to us when we face those times that are trying, that are confusing, that leave us sort of unstable or sort of unfixed and out of sorts with our life, not knowing which way to turn.

And oftentimes, as we said, not even desiring to pray because we thank God, if you really and truly love me, why would you even allow these things to happen? He says, here's the answer. Cease striving and know that I am God. So let's think about this. The question, this is a natural, normal question. Somebody says, wait a minute, you're telling me that when I'm going through, what I'm facing in life, that I am to be still, that I am to cease striving. Is that your answer? That all sounds very simple and very plain until you're hurting and it's easy for us to tell other people this and I cannot tell you this unless I knew that it absolutely works.

It doesn't make any difference how difficult and painful it is. This one single verse is like an anchor to the soul of a human being who is being tossed and torn by the storm, whatever they're facing in life. So notice what he says. Cease striving and know that I am God. It's interesting that in this passage of Scripture, eleven times God is referred to in this passage.

Either the Word God or Lord or Most High, once for every verse God is mentioned because He is the key. In other words, He is the source and so when we say the answer is to be still. Now what does that mean, or to cease striving?

It certainly doesn't mean that we're to become idle. Now you think about this. When you're struggling with or when you're facing something and you find yourself struggling with it, what do you know at that moment?

Here's what I discovered. When I find myself striving with something, when I stop and think about what's going on, back off and say, okay God, what's going on? I know at that moment I am not trusting God. I know at that moment my focus is not right. I know at that moment that there's something inside of me that is struggling and it may be that at that moment it's not even an issue with me whether I'm struggling with God or not. It's just a struggle going on. There's a striving going on.

There's a wrestling on the inside that's taking place. When that's going on inside of me, I know at that moment what is not happening, and where my focus is not. As we said, being still or see striving doesn't mean you being idle, but it means something else very specifically. If I'm able to see striving, it is because I'm now able to see things from God's perspective. What's going on God? First of all, I know that He is allowing something to go on. Because if He's in control, this calamity is only here because He has chosen to allow it. If He chooses to allow it, then it comes with a purpose. It won't be my purpose, it'll be God's purpose. So one of the things I have to remember is God's in control. Secondly, that whatever He allows that may be causing me calamity and confusion, frustration, there's a purpose behind it.

Number three, if there's a purpose behind it, then I also know this. It has the potential for being good for me. It has the potential of being good for me. Now I didn't say it would always be good. It has the potential of being good.

And the potential, I say potential because it turns out good if I respond in the right way. So we know He's in control. If He allows it, He allows it with a purpose.

If He allows it with a purpose, then it has the potential of being something very, very good. But what is required of me if I'm going to see striving, if I'm going to be still? What's one thing that'd be essential? All right, faith, trust, right. In other words, first of all, I've got to trust God. God, you're in control. You know what you're doing.

You know what your reason is. And I know in my heart that somehow you're going to turn this for my good. If I don't have faith, and you see the problem, one thing I know when I'm striving, I'm not trusting. I cannot strive and trust at the same time. And so I know in my own heart when I have found myself striving, at that moment, I'm not trusting God. I am taking it upon myself, wrestling with the situation, trying to manipulate it, trying to change it, trying to do something in my own strength. Never the right way to handle it. Okay, faith is certainly one requirement.

What would be a second one? Submission, absolutely. That is, if I'm going to see striving, I've got to say, okay, God, I'm just going to submit to Your will whatever You choose to do. And that's probably one of the most difficult responses when we find ourselves in real difficulty and hardship and especially if there's pain.

And that is to be willing to submit. And the reason it's difficult is because I'm submitting to God and I, what's difficult is I don't know what the end result's going to be. If I could just see what the end result is and say, oh, I see what you're going to do now, God.

Fine, thank You very much. The problem is, you know, it's like the shades down. It's all dark beyond this point. And because we don't know what's going to happen out there, then it's very difficult for us to be submissive. And what we're saying is submissive to the will and purpose and plan of God in this, even though I can't see my way clear and I don't know what the end result's going to be. All right, so that's certainly two requirements.

What would be your third one? Patience. That's what I'm looking for. Patience, that is. And patience is my capacity to bear up, bear up under difficulty and my capacity to pause, that is, don't move ahead of God.

And so, certainly patience. If I'm going to be able to see striving, I've got to get my focus right. I've got to trust Him, submit to Him, but certainly I've got to have my focus right, otherwise I'm going to be in trouble.

What would be another requirement? Well, something that I mention every week, because this is absolutely essential, and that is spending time in meditation alone with God. In other words, if I'm going to get my focus right, if I'm going to see striving, I can't just be doing my normal get busy, manipulate my circumstances, try not to think about it.

That doesn't settle the issue. I need to spend time alone talking with Him, letting Him speak to my heart, letting Him pull the plug on my emotions, let Him pull the plug on my stress and on the tension in my life and just let God begin to feed my soul and to clothe me afresh and anew with His joy in spite of all the things that I'm feeling. And what does He say in the 119th Psalm? He says, Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. He'll show me which way to go in this time of confusion to keep us from taking a wrong sense of direction. And so, very practical when He says, cease striving, but to do that it requires something of me.

And certainly getting my focus right and spending time with Him is certainly one of those things. And the big problem God has with us is to get us to take our hands off of it. Now, what is it that makes it difficult for us to take our hands off of it?

What's one word? The word I'm looking for is fear and you mentioned that. Why don't I want to take my hands off?

Because I fear what will happen if I take my hands off and just let Him do it. And so, we have to deal with those emotions in our life that crop up, creep up on us and want to dominate our thinking. And He says, I've not given you the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. You can think right. That is, God gives us a sound mind, a mind with a capacity to think properly. And I'm going to think right if my focus is right.

If my focus isn't right, I'm not going to think right. If my focus is God, I'm trusting You. I'm relying upon You. I need You, Father. And there's nothing wrong with crying out to God and saying, Lord, I need You. I'm desperate.

I need Your help. So, the first step when these things tumbled in on us is, first of all, He says to cease striving. But that's not enough and that won't even work without the second part. Look at the second thing He says in this tenth verse. He says, cease striving and what? Know that I am God.

Know that I am God. Now, I think there are two things about God I need to know when life begins to tumble in on us. And the first one is what He says in this passage. We're getting more into these verses now. The first is, I need to know that He is a present help. Look at this first verse. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Not a late help, not going to be my help, but listen, a present help. When God identified Himself for Moses and He says, Here's who you tell them sent me. What did He say? He said, You tell them who sent you. I am. Not I was, not I will be, but I am. And the wonderful thing about God is, think about this, God always operates in the present tense. He doesn't operate in the past tense. He doesn't operate in the future tense. He operates in the present tense.

Why? Because everything is in the present tense with God. Look at this, if you will. He says in verse seven, He says, The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Look, if you will, in the eleventh verse. The Lord of hosts is with us. He is our present help.

He's with me now. Every day of our life, every moment since the moment you and I would say, we could say we have Almighty Sovereign God as our present help in every circumstance, no matter what we are facing. He's a present help. And so when calamity, difficulty, hardship comes, this is what I know for certain. My focus must instantly be upon Him who is my present help. And there's not anybody in the world who can help us like God. And oftentimes people will choose to call other people and look to them for help and look to them for counsel.

There's nothing wrong with that. But ultimately, and first of all, I must turn my focus upon Him. He says He is our present help in time of trouble. Now what kind of a helper is He? Well, look at this passage.

What kind of helper is He? He says in verse eight, Come behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolation of the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow, cuts the spear in two.

He burns the chariots with fire. That is, He says He is the sovereign ruler of the universe and if I want someone to help me, I want someone to help me who can manage everything. So think about this, that you and I have a present helper who is infinite in power. He has all the power to help us. He is absolute in faithfulness, which means He will never, never fail us when we need Him. And so therefore, when I begin to understand the fact of who this is, this is infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God who has chosen to be present with me in every single circumstance of life. I know that my helper is adequate. He is a present help. That is, He is always there and always sufficient and always adequate and always available to help no matter what's going on. So therefore, when I begin to understand who this is that I'm talking about and I understand who this is that I'm calling upon, He is my present helper. This is sovereign, almighty, infinite, omnipresent, omniscient, almighty God who loves me unconditionally. No matter what my circumstances are, all of a sudden, they begin to do what?

They begin to decrease in volume, decrease in height, decrease in weight, decrease in every single way. And now I'm beginning to do what? Be able to cease my striving about them.

Why? All of a sudden, I realize who's in control. He's my present helper. Omnipotent, omniscient, knows all about it. Omnipresent, always there. Unconditional loving, absolute in faithfulness, infinite in power.

Then why should I struggle and strive if He is my God? He is a present helper. He's something else. And that is He is a powerful protector. We said He's omnipotent, He's omniscient, He's omnipresent. There are three words here. God is in every single verse or at least eleven times He's here.

And it's interesting when you think about that. God is our refuge. He says, He speaks of the city of God. God is in the midst.

God will help her. The Lord God of Jacob, Isaac and Jacob, come before the works of the Lord. Cease striving, know that I'm God. All through this eleven verses, God, God, God, God, God, why? Because the emphasis here is in the midst of my heartache and trouble, God. He says God is our refuge.

Now, what does that mean? It means that you and I have a place to run, to hide when, quote, all hell breaks loose in our life. There is a place to run and hide. He is not only a present helper, but He is a powerful protector.

He's a refuge. He's a place to run to. Now let me ask you, why does the world run? Why does the unbeliever run?

Doesn't have God. Why do they run? They run to people. They run to things. They run to experiences, whether it's alcohol or drugs, whatever it might be. They've got to find something or get busy or can't handle anymore.

Why do they run? He says God is our refuge. Think about this. You and I have a place to run to that is absolutely sufficient and adequate to help us in those moments and to protect us from anything and everything Satan would throw at us. He is our refuge.

Look at this. He is our refuge. He's not only our refuge, but listen, He says God is our refuge and our what? Our strength. God is the power in our life.

You remember what Paul said in First Corinthians chapter twelve? He said, when I find myself the weakest, that's when I experience the greatest surge of God's almighty power in my life. If what I need is enablement and strength, He is present to give me that strength. He is our refuge. He is our strength. But also, he says He is our stronghold.

Look at this seventh verse. He says, the Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold. That is, He's our defense. I not only have a place to hide, but He's our defense. He's our stronghold.

He says the very same thing in verse eleven. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold. I have someone to protect me.

I have a place to hide. He is a present Helper. He is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent. And He is unconditionally loving.

He is every single thing you and I need. And so only when I begin to understand who He is can I understand that this is a reality when He says, See, striving, if I hide myself in God, if He is my protector and He is absolutely present, always available, absolutely sufficient and adequate for every single thing I need, then I can cease striving with my circumstances no matter what they are and do what? I can rest, be still, and know that I'm God. See, striving, you can get quiet on the inside. Listen, when life begins to tumble in, what is our response? Manipulate our circumstances, work at them, strive with them, blame someone else, fight against them, doubt God? Or am I willing to just be still and say, Okay, God, You are my ever-present Helper, my refuge, my strength, my stronghold, my rock, my shield. You're everything I need, and I am not going to struggle over this.

I'm going to trust You to walk me through it. Thank you for listening to When Life Tumbles In, What Then? If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-20 02:23:31 / 2024-05-20 02:32:13 / 9

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