RECOVERING FROM LIFE’S DISASTERS
ECCL. 8:14 (NCV) “Sometimes something useless happens on earth.
Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to
What he’s saying here is that we don’t always get what we deserve. There are two mistakes that you can make regarding disaster. One is to think all the good things that happen to me prove I’m good, and that all the bad things that happen to me prove I’m bad. That’s wrong. That’s just wrong. In Luke 13, Jesus is talking about two tragedies that happened in His day. He said you know there were a bunch of innocent people up there worshipping at the temple and they came in and were brutally slaughtered. And he said there was a tower that fell on eighteen people and killed them. And He posed the question, “Who sinned, that caused this tragedy?” Was it a result of their sin? And then He answered His own question. He said, absolutely not, absolutely not!
You see, not everything that happens is God’s will. When I hear people hearing about the Tornados in Oklahoma and they say, “Well, it must have been God’s will”, I have a spiritual term for that. “Baloney!”. It makes me want to puke. Because it’s just not true! Don’t blame God. God’s grieving too. God’s will is not always done.
Does that make sense? God’s will is not always done in this world folks. That’s why like for instance 2 Peter 3:9 says “It is God’s will that all should repent and none should perish”. Question, do all repent? No. Do some perish? Yes. Why? God will never force His will on your will. That’s why we’re to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Why? Because God’s will isn’t always done on earth. How’s it done in heaven? It’s done perfectly. And so we’re to pray, “God, just like your will is done perfectly in heaven, we want that to be done on earth”. If it was being done, we wouldn’t have to pray for it.
Now my purpose this morning is not to explain suffering, because that would take me a whole series of what God says about the many, many reasons and causes, but to instead talk to you about how to handle it.
HOW TO RESPOND TO TRAGEDY
1. RELEASE MY GRIEF.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matt. 5:4
God wants to comfort you in a tragedy.
“Pour out your heart to God, for he is our refuge.” Ps: 62:8
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18
2. RECEIVE FROM OTHERS.
“Carry each other’s burdens …” Gal 6:2 “By helping each other with your troubles, you obey the law of Christ.” (NCV)
“Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings.” Heb 12:15 (LB)
It is a big mistake to isolate yourselves from others when you’re going through a crisis. Now usually that’s what we want to do, we want to get all by ourselves; nobody understands our problem. But you need other people in a tragedy. You need their perspective, you need their support, you need their encouragement, and you just need their presence.
3. REFUSE TO BE BITTER.
“Some people have no happiness at all: they live and die with bitter hearts. Job 21:25 (GN)
“Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you… it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Heb 12:15 (LB)
Now you’re going to have to decide when you go through those tragedies, those disasters, “Am I going to allow this to make me a bitter person, or better person?” And he says here, you can have a choice, “you can either choose happiness in life or you can choose bitterness.” It’s your choice, but you can’t have both. And if you choose bitterness in your life, realize you’re not hurting anybody else with it, you’re hurting yourself.
Refuse to be bitter, because it causes problems in your own life. It never changes anything. Blaming others never changes anything. It only makes you feel worse
• Accept what cannot be changed.
“…Reach out to God…then face the world again, firm and courageous…” Job 11:13, 16
Faith is facing the facts and not getting discouraged. Can you write that down? Faith is facing the facts of life, and not being discouraged by them. That’s what real faith is. It’s not pretending everything’s great. Everything’s not great. There are bad things in the world. And bad things do happen to good people, but faith is facing the facts without getting discouraged. You see there’s very little in life that you can control. In fact, I’ve discovered that the most important things in life you can’t control.
• Focus on what’s left, not what’s lost..
“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you.” 1 Th. 5:18 (LB)
What’s God’s will for me in a crisis? It’s that I be thankful, no matter what. For the problem? Of course not; God doesn’t expect you to be thankful for a tragedy. But you should be thankful for what’s left, not what’s lost. And you choose to focus on God’s goodness, because gratitude and depression cannot exist in the same body.
You want to get over depression, start making a list of all the good things in your life. You cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time. And the fact is, there are people in this world who would love to have your problems. They’d love to have your problems. They’re worried about am I going to get a meal in the next month, not how am I going to make it. Like that old expression I complained I had no shoes until I met a man who had no legs. You focus on what’s left, not what’s lost.
4. REMEMBER WHAT’S IMPORTANT.
Disasters have a way of clarifying values. They have a way of pointing out what matters and what really doesn’t matter. They define your values
“Jesus said… Life is not measured by how much one owns.” LK 12:15 (NCV)
What is he saying here? Don’t confuse your net worth with your self worth. Don’t confuse your possessions with your purpose in life. Don’t confuse what you’re living on with what you’re living for. A man’s life does not consist of what he possesses.
“We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Tim. 6:7 (NIV)
You’re never going to see a hearse with a U-Haul behind it. Here is the point, if you want real security, you must build your life on something that can never be taken from you.
Can you lose a home? Yes. Can you lose a career? Yes. Can you lose a marriage? Yes. Can you lose your health? Yes. Can you lose your youthful beauty? Yes. Can you lose your relationship with God? No.
If you want real security, then you build your life on something that can’t be taken from you. Because God says, “ I will never leave you or forsake you.”
5. RELY ON CHRIST.
“I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. Phil 4:13 (NCV)
• Lean on Christ for Stability!
“Those who trust in the Lord are steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.” Ps. 125:1 (LB)
“You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you..” Is. 26:3 (NCV)
“Such a person will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he Is settled in his mind that God will take care of him.” Ps. 112:6-7 (LB)
• Listen to Christ for direction!
“I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. I”I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Jer 29:11 (NCV)
• Look to Christ for salvation!
“God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the mountains fall into the sea.” Ps. 46:2 (NCV)
“We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it… we saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us… And he did help us and saved us… and we expect him to do it again and again.” 2 Cor 1:10 (TLB)