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God, I've Lost Everything! Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2022 1:00 am

God, I've Lost Everything! Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 3, 2022 1:00 am

Sometimes, incredible turmoil breaks loose even upon godly people. Job’s great faith was sorely tested when he lost his children and his health. In this message, we reflect on three lessons for anyone facing the anguish of loss. When all has been taken from us, will we bless God or curse Him? 

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-217-9337.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. There are far worse things to lose than one's possessions. Even Job's great faith wilted when he lost his health and his children.

How would you handle the loss of everything? Would you curse God and die, as Job's wife urged? From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, the Bible says that Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing in the death of his children. But if God did not cause the calamity, who did?

Dave, I don't know that I've ever been asked that question the way in which you framed it, but this is my response. Job knew that God was the one who took his children. That's why he said the Lord gave and the Lord took away. But Job did not charge God with doing wrong. In other words, Job had the faith to believe that God had a right to his children. What a man, and yet during the book of Job we discover times of doubt and anger. But in the end, he is blessed. I've written a book entitled God Why Me, Lessons from the Life of Job. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. You can go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Of course, I'll be giving you that contact info at the end of this message also. But for now, let us listen to Job's experience. What about those who long for death? They seek for it like hidden treasures. Verse 22, who rejoice greatly, they exult when they find the grave. They want to die and they delight when it comes.

Verse 23, why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? For my groaning comes at the sight of my food. I've lost my appetite, I can't even eat. For my cries pour out like water. For what I fear has come upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet.

I am not at rest and turmoil comes. God, why? Suddenly, Job is up against a God he doesn't know. And the Job that we would have interviewed at the beginning, oh yes, you just serve God and he will bless you. Why, he is so loving that he multiplies his blessings upon those who fear him. And just look at my lovely family and see my crops and my herds and my ten children who are the envy of everybody in town.

And it's because I serve God. Now it's a different story. The kids are dead. He's lost everything that he owns. His own health is gone. He's in pain and grief. And his wife has not been the support that she should be. And now he begins to curse his day.

Could I say, by the way, that Job is in the same position as some people in retirement homes today? They say to themselves, I can't serve anymore. Well, Job couldn't serve anymore. There was nothing that he could give to God.

Now he didn't even have any wealth to give to God. In fact, there are people today who can no longer serve, but they in turn must be served. And there they are day after day wondering why it is that they do not have death come to them when perhaps just across the street there is a child who dies at the age of two or three or an infant. And we look at it and we ask with Job, why is light given to him who suffers into the bitter of soul? What's the purpose in it all?

Now I want you to know something. Job did something very wise here in this chapter. He spilled his grief verbally to God and to his friends.

I don't believe that Job here was sinning at all because he spoke his feelings and he spoke what was known and God knew how he was feeling. Why not tell God how you are feeling? The Psalmist did it. That's why we like the Psalms when we're going through times of grief. It's because the Psalmist comes before the Lord and he simply says, God, this is the way in which I feel. And he allows all of the hurt and the bitterness and the disappointment to spill out. And why not? Because God is the beautiful, wonderful counselor.

And you know something? God already knows that it is in the heart and he can take it. Tell them. This past week I heard of a woman who was praying and she was living with a man who was an alcoholic and she was praying out loud and he was close by and she said, oh God, you know that my husband is a drunk. And the man rebuked her and said, no, no, don't say that. Just tell him I'm sick.

Well, when you're talking to God, you can tell him what the truth is because he knows it anyway. Last time I gave you four lessons that I said I wanted you to remember for the rest of your life. I hope that you remember them for at least the last seven days. What I'd like to do now is to give you three more to add to that four and to give you a total of seven lessons. And these three can be added to the last four, which you wrote down so judiciously last week. Lessons number one, notice that godly people, godly people are sometimes the most sorely tested.

They are sometimes the most sorely tested. What does the Bible say about Job? He was an upright man, blameless, and he served God and turned away from evil.

And what does he do in verse five of chapter one, but he offers a sacrifice on behalf of himself and his children. It almost seems as if at the very time when Job was reaffirming his commitment to God, it is then that tragedy broke loose. I hope that you have lived long enough to realize that you cannot tell a person's spirituality by evaluating how many trials come into their lives.

There are people in this congregation this morning whom I know and many of you have shared with me and with other members of the pastoral staff the incredible turmoil and anguish that you are going through. And all of us know that even though you don't know it, when we look into your faces, we see Christ. And it's not because you are not following God. It is not because God is trying to even some kind of score. It is sometimes true that those who are righteous suffer the most.

One day Jesus was walking in Israel and they said to him regarding a man who was born blind, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus said, neither, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. There is a work of God that is taking place in the lives of those of you who are suffering disproportionately. I say that because many of us have not suffered nearly as much as you are suffering. Our day may be coming, but suffering when you look at it is haphazard.

You can't make sense out of the pattern. Godly people sometimes are the most sorely tested. Job was suffering not because he was unrighteous as a matter of fact, but because he was righteous and that's why he attracted the attention of God and the devil in the dialogues that we are now privy to. So first of all, Godly people often are most sorely tested. Secondly, I want you to notice that good and adversity, good and adversity come from the same hand. They come from the same hand.

Chapter 2 and what is it here? Verse 10, Job says to his wife, shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity? Why is it that we would only accept one and not the other and recognize that both come from God? One day when we came home from vacation, I was speaking to my family and I said, you know, God was so good to us. We drove so many thousands of miles.

We had no flat tires, no car trouble, no accidents. And just as the words came out of my mouth, it dawned on me, let's suppose we had had an accident or a flat tire or some tragedy. Would that now have meant that God wasn't good? If you have that theory that God has to always be giving you good things and I put good here in quotes in order for him to be good, then the time will come when you will believe that God is evil. Job said we accept good from his hand. We must also recognize that there is adversity that comes from his hand and both of them come from a good God.

They come from a hand with nail prints. And as Christians, we do not superficially evaluate what is good or evil because we know that God has a plan that is much bigger than we are able to see and sometimes that which is adversity becomes a blessing. Some of you have heard me tell this story before of that Chinese man, but I have to tell it here because I think he had a point. You remember the Chinese man who had only a son and a horse and one day they left the barn door open and the horse ran away and was gone and because he was their livelihood, some of the man's friends gathered together and they said, we want to comfort you regarding the adversity that has come to you. And the man said, well, how do you know that this is adversity?

A day later, that horse returned and brought 11 stray horses with him. And so all of his friends gathered together and they said, we want to rejoice with you regarding the good that has come to you. And he said, well, how do you know that this is good? Next day, his boy was trying to break one of these new horses and was thrown off and broke his leg and everybody gathered together and they said, we want to comfort you regarding the adversity that has come to you. And he said, well, how do you know that this is adversity?

And it so happened that the next day soldiers were coming through the land and they were looking for young men to go to battle and his son was exempt because he had a broken leg. So everybody gathered together and they said, we want to comfort you regarding the good that has come to you. And he said, how do you know that that is good?

Listen to me very, very carefully. Christians do not judge goodness and adversity with a shallow understanding of God's intentions. If you were to judge it that way, you'd look at Jesus Christ who died on the cross and you see all of the evil that was unleashed against him. And you see the hatred and the animosity and you see his death and you and I would call it adversity.

In fact, the Bible says that evil men crucified him. That is adversity. And yet what is it that you and I sing? In the cross of Christ I glory. God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.

Why? Because that which was so filled with evil became a stream of blessing to bless the world and to redeem us. And that's why we can say today that we can accept goodness from the hand of God and we can also accept adversity without implicating God and saying that on one day he's good and on the other day he is evil. There's a beautiful story in the Old Testament of how Joseph when he was revealing himself to his brothers just prior to that the brothers came and he did not want them to know if you recall the story that he was their brother. The Bible says that Joseph handled them roughly and they were fearful.

But because they were his brothers they had no idea what was going on inside of Joseph and the Bible says that eventually Joseph closed the door and went into a room by himself and wept and then went back and treated them roughly again. Some of you today feel as if you are being roughly treated by God. He did not prevent you from making choices that have led to a great deal of grief and to a great deal of hurt and pain. If only you could see the other side of that loving hand if you only you could see him who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities who was in all points tempted like as we are if only we could see the tender hand of the Savior who bleeds for us.

How different it would be. As believers we accept adversity from the hand of God and we also accept good and believe that God has the right to give us both. Finally when we struggle we can either bless God or we can curse him. We can either bless or curse. Now I want you to know that I deliberately in reading the first part of chapter 3 skipped over a verse and some of you may have seen that and said you know the pastor doesn't want to deal with that part of the text.

No that was deliberate. You'll notice it says afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Do you think here that Satan was right? Do you think that Job fell into the devil's trap and he cursed God just like Satan said Job would do once his health and children were taken from him?

No I do not believe that. You'll notice that Job did not curse God. He did not curse God. He did curse the day of his birth. He did go through all of that depression and all of that questioning. That is true but I want you to know that I read nothing in chapter 3 that would make me believe that Job was angry and cursing God. Questioning yes have we not all done it?

Is there a person here who has not asked the question why? Most assuredly there probably is not because all of us have tried to pry into God's private diary and to say tell me what's going on and make some sense out of this but Job does not curse God. At this point he retains his integrity and still is a worshiper even though he is now a confused depressed worshiper. We can either bless or we can curse. Some of you perhaps have cursed. I want you to know that even if that is true God can handle it. God can handle it but don't do that. Don't curse God. Tell him what's on your mind.

Share all of the concerns of your heart but do not curse him because he is worthy of respect even while you share your depression with him. A few years ago I told you a story that I'd like to tell again of a woman who was interviewed in a television program who told this story. She said I grew up an atheist. I never was in church. I never believed in God.

In fact she said I was angry. If there was a God I was angry with him and then she said my daughter was in a car accident that was so serious it appeared as if my daughter might be in a coma for months if not years and she said in order to handle it I went to the bar and I got a few drinks and I began to drive the car and it was raining outside and she said I pulled off on the side of the road and there in the car I cursed God for a half an hour and she said I was really able to curse in those days and after cursing him she was silent and she said it was as if she heard a voice that said this is the first time you've talked to me and I do love you and as a result of that she began to investigate the New Testament came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Some of you may be bitter at God if you are I understand that God understands it but I want you to know that rather than being bitter and cursing God wants us to be worshiping and blessing. The Lord gave the Lord has taken away blessed be the name of the Lord. God is going to be with Job as he walks through this trial God is with us as we walk through our trials and at the end of the day we're going to begin to see the hint of God's purposes but for now the sky is dark the purposes of God are mysterious and all that Job can do is wonder what possible sense he can make out of so much pain and heartache but before I close I want to remind you of something those of you who haven't talked to God for a while because you're angry talk to him talk to him because he does love you and let us pray. Father we want to thank you today for this marvelous book we thank you for Job's honesty we thank you that in his deep grief you meet him and yet we pray today for those who find no sense of their intense suffering may they receive hope hope that like you were with Job you'll be with them and for those who are far from you whose hearts are closed today because they are angry father and you know why they are angry oh lord with tender love open their hearts to you today and to the blessed savior whom you sent to us in Jesus name amen. My friend this is Pastor Lutzer I pray that these messages are a special blessing to you I hope that you call your friends and invite them to listen and even if you feel you don't need these lessons right now you certainly know someone who does that's why I've written a book entitled God Why Me now it's a very short book it's very accessible it's readable but I wrote it to encourage people on their life's journey despite the hurt and the unanswered questions that all of us face for a gift of any amount it can be yours here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 as I like to emphasize oftentimes God leads us to other people who have deep needs I believe that this book will be an encouragement it will be building faith in the lives of all who read it short accessible readable God Why Me once again let me give you that contact info rtwoffer.com by the way when you're there you can also click on the endurance partner button and find out what endurance partners do or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 did I say that too quickly 1-888-218-9337 It's time again for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life when considering marriage how important is age difference a listener named Cynthia asks I have a daughter who is 28 years old madly in love with an older man about 60 who lost his wife to cancer just about a year ago I keep telling her that the age difference here is important my daughter is a Christian and I doubt that this man is even though he's sympathetic to my daughter's faith I have two questions what should I tell her about the age difference and what shall I tell her about preparing for the reality that this might not work out because he's rich and good-looking she's not the only possibility in his life I really do think that your daughter here is in a trance she's living in a bubble of unreality you know sometimes it is said that neurotics build castles in the air and psychotics live in them and perhaps it's the other way around but I don't think that your daughter is facing reality first of all I think I did the math and it's something like 32 years age difference and that'll become even more important as time moves on also the fact that he is nice you say that you're not even sure if he is a Christian and a man like that yes he does have other possibilities the bottom line I suspect that this relationship will not go anywhere and actually it's best that it won't I think that your daughter is best served by preparing her for the fact that it might not work out helping her to realize that there are two barriers that exist toward this marriage his age and his distant relationship to the Christian faith God wants us to be wise in our choices help your daughter to simply see that reality even though it is painful is often much better than living in a dream world when the bubble breaks thank you Dr. Lutzer for those words of counsel if you'd like to hear your question answered go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on ask pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life friends we all need them during life's hard times but sometimes well-meaning friends can do more harm than good next time on running to win we'll meet some men who tried to help a suffering job we'll learn a lot about human nature and its limits in understanding God's purposes don't miss Dr. Lutzer's next message when comfort is discomfort thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-10 00:01:47 / 2022-11-10 00:11:00 / 9

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