Points covered: Do not lose hope. Hope in Christ Jesus. God is in control. God is working in us. God has a victory ahead of us
Do you have a situation where things are not working out for you? Maybe it has been months and months and nothing is changing. It maybe a negative medical condition, tough finances, children not settled, and future seems dim, a court case, failure etc. At such times it is tempting to expect the worst and it is easy to get discouraged.
When all seems lost!
This morning we are going to see how to be an over comer. We are also going to see what God is actually doing when we feel defeated and lost.
Every person has challenges and setbacks and we all have things that come against us. No matter what comes against us God never created us to be a defeated person, he created us to be over comers. So when we are going through difficulties, when we are going through a crisis situation know that God is working out a better outcome and stick to God by faith.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
That is a wonderful verse of Scripture, but I think that sometimes we don’t really understand what it is saying. Some people seem to think that it is telling us that God has promised those who love Him that everything that will happen to them will be good. But that is not true. That is not what God is promising at all. What God is saying is even if you have difficult times in your life it will turn around for your own good if you are God’s child.
Illustration: Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David Flood and his wife went from Sweden to the heart of Africa – Congo. They met up with another Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, & soon the 4 of them felt led by the Lord to move out of the central mission station in Congo and take the gospel to one of the more remote areas of Congo.
At the village of N’dolera they were refused by the chief, who would not let them enter his village for fear of alienating the local gods. So the two couples decided to go a little away from the village and built their own huts. They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chicken & eggs twice a week.
Mrs. Flood decided that if this boy was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead him to Jesus. And in fact, over a period of time she succeeded. But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of their little group after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering & left for the relative security of the central mission station.
Then, in the middle of this primitive wilderness, Mrs. Flood found herself pregnant. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery, however, was difficult, & Mrs. Flood was already weak from malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another 17 days.
David Flood was discouraged, he felt defeated and the whole world ending upon him. He dug a grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, & then took 17-day-old baby daughter, Aina back to the central mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he said, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, & I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he left, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.
It’s true, sometimes tragic things can happen even in the lives of those who seek to walk close to Him. Yes, bad things can happen to good people.
And that is just where this passage of scripture comes in – “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
The purpose of our affliction is mentioned in the very next verse. Romans 8:29-30 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
It means that God is working through everything that happens in the lives of those who love Him to help us become more like Jesus. And no matter what the problem or heartache may be God will turn it around for you and in the process make you in the image of his Son.
God’s perspective when all seems lost!
What is God’s perspective when we feel everything is over?
1. God is in control.
When all seems lost God is in control. When we feel defeated and when we have no control over our situation, understand God is in control. God is even in control over our enemies. Look at the life of Job. The enemy had to ask permission before he could touch job. God will not let anything touch you without his will because he is in absolute control over your life.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.
Remember we have a heritage. We have rights and privileges because we are His children. You have God’s favor, his mercy, his protection, his guidance, his blessings. When we think it is all over, God says because of his favor I will turn this around to be good for my child.
Illustration: Bear cub was playing in the jungle as a lion spotted him. The bear cub froze in fear and saw the lion slowly approaching him. As the lion came 15 feet near, the lion suddenly stopped, the lion got afraid and ran away. The bear was proud that he could scare the Lion. I am very powerful but when he turned back he saw his mamma right behind him. The lion was not afraid of the cub but was afraid of who was backing him up. Don’t be afraid friend, God is backing you up. He is watching over you 24/7.
2. God is directing and shaping us.
When all seems lost God is directing and shaping us. When difficult things happen, understand God has allowed that to direct us and to shape us.
Picture a large rock in the middle of a barren field. Sitting there by itself, it is ordinary, overlooked, & without much use. But in the hands of a master sculptor, it can become a masterpiece. Our life is a lot like that rock.
Even though you can’t see it right now, God has been busy creating something breathtaking in you. Through everything you’ve endured, through that confusing situation you’re facing right now, God is molding you.
The problem is that we can’t see what He’s doing while it’s happening. All we see are the chips flying. The chisel’s blow isn’t evidence that God has left us or is angry with us, but rather that God is right in front of us: eyeing our progress, smoothing the rough edges, patiently bringing the image of Jesus out in us.
James 1:2-4 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
“Trials of many kinds” – That’s specifically what we’re talking about – events allowed by God. That’s what God uses to shape us into the image of Jesus. In fact, James says, those things “complete” us.
3. God is correcting us.
When all seems lost, God is correcting us. God can also use problems to correct us. There are other times when we are wrong. We have strayed into sin, we have made wrong choices and we need God’s correction. Even when we make mistakes, even when we sin and cause trouble to ourselves I believe God will still bring us out if we repent in his presence.
Jonah disobeyed God. He went the opposite direction. Finally he was thrown into the sea. He should have been killed in the middle of the sea. God is so good, even before he could repent God sent a great fish and kept him alive in the sea. Jonah repented in the belly of the fish and God brought him out of that situation and led him back to the direction God wanted him to take.
Do you remember the parable of the prodigal son who took his share, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living? After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, & he began to be in need. So he went & hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. His wrong choices, his sin brought him to this condition. Finally, the problem got so much for him and he felt so defeated that he decided to correct his attitude & his actions and go back to his father’s house. He went back as a slave or a servant but the father accepted him back as a son.
Do you realize that when we deliberately stray from what we know is right, God has promised to correct us? Hebrews 12:5-6 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
We have all made mistakes, we have all made choices like Jonah, but that does not change God. He is still drawing you closer to him and if you can repent his mercy he will bring us out.
Some of you may tell Shine you do not know the mistakes I have made, you do not know my situation, my life has gone too far I cannot get back to God. I may not know those but I know God and he is bigger than any situation you face.
4. God is protecting us.
When all seems lost, God is protecting us. Sometimes God uses failures and problems to protect us.
Joseph was obviously his father’s favorite son. And as a result of this favoritism, his brothers were filled with hatred and bitterness towards him. Then one day in their hatred they sold him as a slave to a caravan traveling to Egypt. It all happened so quickly. One moment he was the favorite son, getting anything he wanted and the next he was in chains and being sold into slavery.
Life couldn’t seem to be any worse for Joseph. He felt defeated, lonely, unloved, rejected but God had a purpose & a plan for what he was going through. God took him out of slavery and made him a ruler in Egypt, second only in power to Pharaoh. Years later, during the time of severe famine, Joseph saw his brothers once again when they came to Egypt to beg for the privilege of buying food. They had no idea that this Egyptian ruler standing before them was Joseph. But finally when Joseph revealed himself to them his brothers were petrified with fear & begged Joseph not to kill them.
See what Joseph said back to his brothers. Genesis 45:7-8 7 God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.
Joseph felt defeated and a failure until this very day, away from his family, but it was God’s protection upon Joseph’s life. Remember through Joseph’s trouble God even protected his family. Genesis 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
5. God has a victory ahead of us.
When all seems lost, God has a victory ahead of us. Sometimes when we face trials and feel defeated, God prepares us for either a ministry or victory in our lives.
Elijah did great exploits for the God. Based on his prophesy, there was no rain in the land for 3 years. He was fed by a raven and the brook in Kerith Ravine. Later he was fed supernaturally by the widow at Zarepheth. Then we find Elijah in the limelight, on Mount Carmel brining down fire from heaven upon the altar. God gave Elijah victory and 850 false prophets of Baal and Asherah were killed that day. Then Elijah prayed and God sent rain.
When you come to 1 Kings 19, this victorious Elijah is running for his life afraid of a women named Jezebel, the king’s wife. He wanted to die and God sent his angled and touched him. Then the Lord appeared to Elijah and used him to anointed to more kings and one prophet before he was lifted up to heaven.
You see, when all seems lost, God has a victory ahead of us and will use us. So learn to trust God – even when we feel all is over God is in control. God is directing us, shaping us, correcting us, protecting us, and leading us to victory.
Illustration: Remember the real story of Aina in Congo? Eight months later both of the Ericksons were stricken with an illness and died within days of each other. The baby was turned over to some American missionaries, who eventually took her with them back to America.
Aina Flood married a minister and settled in Seattle, Washington. One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. As she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There, in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross and on the cross were the words “Svea Flood.”
The story of the picture was about missionaries who had come to Congo long ago, the birth of a baby, the death of the young mother, the one little African boy who had been led to Christ, and how all the missionaries left, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up & finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village.
The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ and the children led their parents to Christ, even the chief had become a Christian. There were 600 Christian believers in that one village alone, all because of the sacrifice of David & Svea Flood.
But that is not the end of the story. After some time Aina got a sponsored vacation to Sweden. There she sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered 4 more children and dissipated his life with alcohol. When she finally met her father “Papa I am Aina Flood?” she said. He turned toward her & began to cry. “Aina,” he said. “I never meant to give you away.” “It’s all right, Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.” The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. “God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall.
Aina said “Papa, I have a story to tell you. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. Today there are 600 African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life ….”
“Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.” The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.
This boy later became the leader of an African church with more than 1,10000 members, all because one family went through trials.
Conclusion: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Lead a victorious life. God does not want us to live in defeat. When our situations are against us keep up the attitude of victory by faith knowing that in all things God is working for our good. Amen.