Have you ever wondered why difficult, painful things happen in life? I mean, why did my parent or spouse have to die or leave me?
Why did I lose my job, and why is one of my kids rebelling against God? Well, today we're going to uncover where the toughest storms in life come from and how we can weather them. You don't want to miss it. Well, thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.
Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry featuring the daily Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey, and we're in the middle of our new series, You Were Made for More. And today guest teacher Ryan Ingram tackles one of the most perplexing questions we all ask, why do bad things happen? Now, this is a really complicated subject to grasp, so keep listening after this message as Chip and Ryan share some additional thoughts for us to consider.
You're not going to want to miss it. Well, there's a lot of content to cover today, so let's get going. Here's Ryan with part two of his message, Into the Storm. He picks up in Jonah chapter one verse 17. Says now the Lord provided a huge fish, and this is where we most famously know Jonah and the whale, to swallow Jonah.
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. The Lord provided, Lord sent. But what I think is interesting about this, like who would have thought that would be God's like provision? Well, you're not going to head the right direction. You're not even going to ask the ship to go the other way.
Well, I'm going to get you inside a big old fish, and he's going to swim you in the right direction. God's provision wasn't what Jonah expected. And I wonder for many of us how God's provision and how he's showing up in your life and how he's working isn't what you expected. It isn't necessarily what you wanted.
It definitely is what you needed. But because he didn't show up in the way you wanted, you feel disillusioned by God. You feel like God, I prayed for this and you showed up here, but I can't even get my eyes on this because I'm so focused on you showing up in the way that I want you to. God uses storms in our life to shift us back to the more we're made for. God uses storms. Now, it doesn't mean that he causes storms, and yet God will not waste your pain. In his sovereignty, he will say, in the midst of a broken, fallen, tragic world still, I can turn and use that painful moment and bring about good results. Not that that moment was good, not that that act against you was good, not that evil thing, that trial, that storm, that sickness, not that any way that is good, but you have such a good God, he can take that evil and that harm.
And he says over the course, I will work it for good. I will take ashes and turn it into beauty because I'm that kind of God. Romans 8 ends this way. If God is for us, who can be against us?
For I am convinced that neither life nor death nor angels nor principalities, height, depth, nothing in all created will ever separate us from the love of God, that nothing that comes into your life can separate you from the love of God. See, God uses storms in our life to shift us back to the more we're made for. The question I want to wrestle with for a little bit is, okay, where did the storms of our life come from? Are they all hurled by God?
I mean, did he, he hurled this one. And I think it's incredibly important that we are able to discern, okay, where are the storms? Where are these coming from? This is really a theology of suffering. There's four primary areas where we experience the storms or suffering in our life. The first is the storm of a fallen world. Genesis 3, Genesis 1 and 2, God created the world and everything in it. And you know what he said at the end of each creative act. And it was, help me out anybody. Good.
It was good because he's good. And then in Genesis 3, humanity decide to do our own thing, rebel against him. Sin entered the world. It's like a cancer, not only of our soul and of humanity, but of the entire world created fractures that have just so brought about a world that is not his heart or desire or his intent. Much the way kind of rust is to metal or rot to a tree, sin has created this devastation on God's creation. We live in a fallen, broken world where we experience natural disasters, where we have evil rulers, where we see all over things that happen. And first and foremost, we go, this is not his design and his original intent. The second area where we see an experienced storm is the storm of spiritual opposition.
First Peter 5, 8 through 9 says, but be alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Now in the ancient day, like I said, everyone, they immediately, every physical reality had a spiritual cause. Every natural action had a supernatural cause behind it. In our day, we completely disconnected altogether. So we've gone the other way. There is no spiritual or supernatural anything, and we dismiss it completely.
And yet there is a spiritual realm just as real as our earthly realm or physical or visible realm. And scriptures tells us as followers of Jesus, we have an enemy that's prowling around like a roaring lion. He wants to devour you. He wants to take you out. He wants you to be ineffective.
He does not want you to live until the more you're made for. You ever noticed that when you finally decided to get really serious about your faith, that like everything started to fall apart, right? You're like, why did work ramp up so intense?
What happened here? All of a sudden you're starting to make, you know, I really want to honor God in my relationships. And then that sin that has been besetting you, it rises up so quickly. And you're like, oh my gosh, or, or you have this attitude, heart thing that's going on. You're like, where did that come from? Maybe in your marriage, you're really going like, man, I want to really work and have a godly marriage. And then all of a sudden you're finding you're in disagreement and argument.
You're like, wait a second. We're all we're going to do is start praying together. The storm of spiritual opposition. And often we don't identify it until we look back and see, oh, there was more there. Whether there's disagreements or disunity, the enemy wants to provide distraction. I think one of the ways the enemy keeps us blinded is busy-ness. He just keeps us too busy.
That's why you ever heard this? If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy. It's an old saying, or derail you in some sin. Storm of fallen worlds, storm of spiritual opposition.
Then the storm of bad decisions. Galatians 6 tells us that we reap what we sow. The one who sows to please the flesh reaps destruction. The one who sows to please the spirit from the spirit reaps life. So often we blame God. God, how could you? And yet it was our own bad decision. You were speeding and that's why you got a ticket, right?
You're eating terrible. And that's why, okay, I won't go down too many, but we just make bad decisions. And we suffered the consequences. And because it's a fallen world, we suffer the consequences of other people's bad decisions.
Certainly was the sailor's experience. And for many, you've either experienced the consequences of your bad decisions, of a broken relationship, of a broken friendship, or the consequences of someone else's bad decisions. And God says, I will not waste your pain.
I want to bring healing and wholeness and you back to myself. And then the final and the, I think the hardest to discern is the storm of God's discipline. When my kids were little, if they were running out into the street, I would discipline them to cause momentary pain here to keep them from long-term devastating pain and destruction. And you have a perfect Heavenly Father that when you're headed in the wrong direction, when you're making some of those bad decisions, He certainly will allow those consequences to come into your life, to be a wake-up call so that you will turn to Him and experience life because He loves you.
In fact, it's the most loving thing He could do. See, God uses the storms in our life. In many of the cases, He doesn't cause them, but He works in them and through them to shift us back to the more we're made for. I think sometimes we're looking at the storm you're walking through and go, well, which one is it?
Fallen world, spiritual opposition? Can it be a combination? Certainly.
Certainly there are times where almost all of these are at play or a few of them. How important is it to know exactly which one? Well, I think the question that the sailors asked is so important that we should ask of God.
You remember what they asked? What should we do? What should we do? God, I'm in the middle of a storm. I'm not really sure why or what's going on, but I'm confident that you will not waste this storm, that you're using it and it's not going to shipwreck me and it's not going to take me off course, but you actually want to shift me and on course to what you're doing.
So what should I do? And you just begin to lean into him and he will show you. God will use every painful event in our life. He does not cause every painful event and yet he will use it for us to become more and more like his son. I think the question is where is God in the middle of the storm? I don't know what you're walking through, what you're wrestling with and how deep the pain and heartache, but I think that's what we really wrestle with is God, where are you? In the gospels, there's an account of Jesus in the middle of the storm and it's fascinating the parallels. In Mark chapter four, it begins this way and we discovered the God in the middle of the storm. Said that day when evening came, he said to the disciples, let us go over to the other side.
Hey, we're headed, we're going to go to the other side. Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along just as he was. He had spent a very long, exhausting day of ministry in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, wasn't hurled, but there's a furious squall on the Sea of Galilee and waves broke over the boat so that was nearly swamped.
Now here's some of the parallels. Jesus was in the stern sleeping on the cushion and the disciples woke him up and said to him, teacher, don't you care? If we drown, and isn't that the question in the middle of the storms of life, in the middle of the pain, in the middle of the heartache, in the middle of the diagnosis?
Teach her, Jesus, don't you care? Like, how can you sleep in the middle of this? The storm is raging. Jesus was asleep for a different reason.
It wasn't apathy. See, Jonah worshiped the God who made the land and the sea. Jesus is God who made the land and the sea.
Jonah needed to be hurled into the ocean or to calm the sea. Jesus just speaks and is stilled. He gets up and he speaks and he says, peace, and immediately it's calm. And the disciples' response was the same even as the sailors and they were terrified going, who is this? That even the wind and the waves obey him. See, Jesus' sleep wasn't a sleep of apathy but was ultimate peace.
Why? Because he fundamentally has all authority. And he told his disciples on the front end, we're going to go to the other side. And so he didn't say, there's not gonna be storms along the way. But what he did say, we are going to the other side. And as long as I'm in the boat with you, regardless of the weather outside you, regardless of how big the waves get, regardless of how strong the wind blows, you are good because my presence is enough in the boats.
I'm with you. See, he was asleep of peace, not apathy. Because he was in full control even though the outside felt uncontrollable. And what would it be if we began to take our cues from Jesus instead of the storm?
If we began to look to him and how he's responding, realizing he can just utter a word and it stills. God, if you're at peace, if you're not shaken in the wind and the waves, I can be at peace and unshaken. Where is God in the middle of the storm? He's with you. He's in the boat. He's not indifferent. He cares.
He's just not shook. He said, we're going to the other side. I'm gonna bring you through this. Nothing in all created things, nothing that comes into your life, physical or spiritual, will ever separate you from my love. And that's all that matters.
And that's enough. No, it's more than enough in any storm of life. God, I just pray for my friends as the storms knock and rage around us.
God, I pray for those that are just walking through just such painful, life-altering storms that the trajectory of their life is going to look different. That you're with them. Would you meet them? That you're not shook by it? Would you walk closely with them?
Would you encourage them? That you're with them and nothing will separate them from your love. God, I pray for those that are walking through the storms of their own making. This moment would be a moment of repentance, a moment of saying, God, I'm sorry. I'm turning to you. I'm stopping that. Just that like wake up call.
I've been blaming you, but it's really my fault. God, right now I just pray for those that have been doubting. Those that felt like if they even spoke that they might fall completely away from you.
Would you right now reveal yourself, speak to them, surround them, meet them so personally. Thank you that you do not waste, but you work in the midst of our pain that we're confident that you will take all things and turn them into good for those who are called according to your purpose. Jesus. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Ryan Ingram has been our guest teacher for this program into the storm, which is from our series, You Were Made for More, facing the Jonah in All of Us. He and Chip will be back in studio shortly to share their application for this message. So what do you know about the story of Jonah?
Maybe you remember something about a big fish, a violent storm, and an evil city named Nineveh. Well, in this new 10-part series, Chip and his son Ryan share that there's actually a lot more to this familiar Bible adventure. They'll unpack what Jonah's life teaches us about handling adversity, God's love for all people, and how we can shift our lives to the more we were created for.
If you've missed any part of this series or want to share it with a friend, let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. Before I come back with some very specific application about today's message, I just want to remind you that you're listening to this because some very caring and loving individuals have sacrificially given to the ministry so that we can pay for the airtime, so we can create the programs, and so we can minister to you. And you know, in those early times as you listen to the program, we are delighted to just make it available and we are thrilled of the team that God's put together. But I'd like to talk to some of you that have become regular listeners and you've never considered, I wonder how this gets paid for.
Would you consider making a gift today? The Bible is very clear that when we receive spiritual ministry to us, we have a responsibility to help financially fund those who teach and minister to us. And what I want you to know is we use all the resources to go right back into the ministry. We want to help Christians live like Christians. And so if you've been benefiting from the ministry and you've never given or you've given now and then and realized maybe God wants you to be a part of the team, would you consider today partnering with us? You can do it any way God leads you, but would you take that next step and be a part of getting Living on the Edge and what God's doing through it to the lives of many more people? Well, if partnering with Living on the Edge is an idea that makes sense to you, we'd love to have you join us.
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Well, with that, here's Chip with today's application. Well, I'm back here again in studio with Ryan. And first let me say thanks again for letting us share this at Living on the Edge. And the second half of this message is as difficult as the first half that you taught on last broadcast. And I noticed at the end of this message, you got a little choked up. Something obviously triggered that emotional response. Would you be open to maybe sharing with our listeners sort of what was going on in your heart at the time and why does this matter so much?
Yeah, absolutely. You know, in that moment, as I was speaking, I was actually just overwhelmed remembering the faithfulness of God in my life. That long season of doubt deconstructing or dark night of the soul was so scary and disorienting because the logical conclusions meant leaving everything that I once held dear and near to me. Honestly, I was afraid if I really asked the questions rattling around in my soul, if I uttered my doubt that I'd find that the God that I worshiped wasn't big enough for those questions.
What I discovered, however, is that I have a God big enough for any and every question. That doubt isn't antithetical to faith, but it's actually integral part of our journey of faith. You know, years later, I read a book by John Ortberg that put words to my experience called Faith and Doubt. And he says, what if the most important word is the one in the middle and we often think about doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God? The reason this is so personal to me is my heart is right now breaking for those who are deconstructing their faith and feel like there's no other option but to walk away from Jesus.
I understand how painful and disorienting that is. And I want to say if that's where you're at, you have a God who's big enough to handle any question you have. And I want to encourage you that Living on the Edge is an incredible resource filled with God's wisdom on these deep questions in life.
That's absolutely right, Ryan. Well, if you're someone who's wanting to put the Christian faith to the test, then let me encourage you to get your hands on Chip's popular book, Why I Believe. Through this resource, Chip provides straightforward answers to questions like is the Bible really God's Word? What happens after we die?
And which is true, creation or evolution? It's an easy read that will really challenge what you think you know. So order your copy of Why I Believe today or get one for a friend. Just go to Special Offers at LivingOnTheEdge.org or the Chip Ingram app. Well, join us next time as we continue our new series, You Were Made For More. Until then, this is Dave Drouie, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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