Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, God fixes things.
MARCH 30, 2023
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, God fixes things. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free, and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster, and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.
We’ve been talking about, life is hard and then you laugh cause we’ve gone through some really dark stuff together. Life is hard and then you die cause we’re talking about lament and laughter. And now we’re talking about laughter. And I’ve been talking this week and last week about the reasons we laugh and the reasons God laughs. Now, I said at the beginning of the book and at the beginning of the broadcast, that I’ve never been to a Christian funeral where there wasn’t laughter. I mean that, never once. And I’ve been doing this longer than a lot of you have been alive. I’ve never been to a Christian funeral when there wasn’t laughter and almost all the times in every tragedy, and if you’ve been a pastor as long as I have, you’ve gone through a lot of tragedy with a lot of people. You’ve buried a lot of babies. You’ve cleaned up after a lot of suicide. You’ve stood before a lot of hospital beds. I’ve never, not never, but almost in every case, there is laughter. When I told you about my father’s death after he had found Christ, that knowing he was going to die. And he said to me, son, I can’t make the clock move fast enough. He knew he was going to die. There was laughter, laughter in strange places, but sometimes there’s laughter because God fixes something. I remember one time when my, when we were young and I was a pastor on Cape Cod. We, we, and this will sound crazy to you, but it’s true, my wife needed to go visit her mother in Georgia because her mother was going through a hard time and we simply didn’t have the money. And we managed to scrape together the money for an airplane ticket. And, except for $5. We, we couldn’t, and you say $5, why didn’t you go out on the street and beg? Well, I couldn’t do that, and we really couldn’t get the $5. And so, we just about decided she couldn’t go and we went to the post office. It was a little village on Cape Cod and they didn’t deliver mail, they had a post office and everybody had a box. And we all met there when we got our mail and I opened our box. And do you know what was sitting there? It wasn’t in an envelope. It wasn’t, it didn’t have a note attached, nobody knew we needed that $5. I opened that post office box and there was a $5 bill there. That was God, you know, those things happen and they happen to all of us. And let me, as an aside from what we’re talking about, say that God does do stuff and generally he gives you an opportunity of choosing that it was a coincidence or thinking of another reason or saying it was God. And if you see that it was God, your faith increases. And so, I knew that $5 had come directly from God because God does that sometimes. Sometimes he just moves in. Now, that doesn’t ameliorate the suffering. C.S. Lewis wrote one time about suffering.
The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed, but supposed that what we are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are holy good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more he will probably go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all of the pain up to that point would’ve been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice, the tortures occur if they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary, for not even a moderately good being would possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t. Either way,
we’re in for it.
But with all of that being said, there are times when the surgeon stops the surgery because the surgeon in a supernatural way, healed the patient without the need for surgery. I’ve told you a number of times about our daughter, on the day she was born, she was sick, and God intervened. I can’t tell you the times in my life. I generally pray for a lot of people every morning, my prayer list is pretty extensive. And almost every morning I tell God, thank you for this prayer list, for the connections it’s given me, for the way it’s drawn me to you, and also for the answered prayers you have shown me. And he has, over the years I’ve prayed for things and there were miraculous answers, and so you’ve got to understand that sometimes God intervenes, supernaturally. We Presbyterians believe that God ordains what is, so there’s no use our asking him to change. In other words, deal with it. Frankly, we could use some help from our friends, the charismatics and Pentecostals. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen God work in a supernatural way to change circumstances. Jesus talked about how a little faith would move mountains, Matthew 17:20. One time, maybe in all of history, it snowed in Miami. Have I told you that story? Jennifer is our younger daughter, and when she was little, we had moved from Boston to Miami where I was serving a church. And you talk about culture shock, you moved from Boston to Miami, man. That’s like moving to a third world country. And it was different for everybody and it was different and difficult for our daughters. And I remember the time that Jennifer came to me and said, daddy, I miss the the snow. And I said, I know, but we’ve got a lot of good sunshine here too. And she said, I’m going to pray that God sends snow. And I said, honey, you don’t, it doesn’t snow in Miami. And then I explained about the farmers and why it was and the tourists and why it was so important it didn’t snow. And she, and she’s still this way as an adult and a mother of her own daughters. She said, I don’t care. I’m going to ask God to cause it to snow. And she did. Every night when she prayed, she asked for snow. And not only did she do that, she got her Sunday school class, a group of other little girls to pray for snow every day. And do you know what happened? It snowed, it really did. Probably the only time in the history of Miami when it snowed, but it snowed. And you know what happened? God said, I know about the tourists, I know about the farmers and this is going to cause a lot of damage. But I like that little girl and her friends a lot, and so I’m going to send them some snow. And he did. Sometimes we forget, don’t we? That God is a supernatural God and sometimes he intervenes and the only way you’ll know whether he’s going to intervene and do something supernatural is to ask him. Did you know the Scripture says, this is II Corinthians 1:20.
All the promises of God find their yes in him.
And our daughter Jennifer, could quote that verse cause she knows how true that is.
All the promises of God find their yes in him.
And then there’s one other thing. Once we face the lament without trying to control everything, and we’re going to talk about this next week about the addiction of denial. Once one stops trying to control everything, there is a freedom to let go and to laugh and dance. And maybe for the first time, to laugh at a funny joke, to crack up in the face of a hilarious incident. Some things are just funny. As Larry the cable guy says, I don’t care who you are, that’s funny. Once the focus is off ourselves, once it’s not about us, once it’s really about God who is good all the time, you would be very surprised at how funny some jokes are. So, you want to laugh? Let it go. You want to laugh? Kiss the demons on the lips. You want to laugh? Run to Jesus and tell him that you’re so glad that you’re his. You think about that. Amen.
Sometimes there’s laughter because God fixes something. Well, I like the sound of that and what a great way to wrap up our week of teaching from laughter and lament. Next week we’ll have a very special guest teaching with Steve all week, but first tomorrow, we have another Friday Q&A with Steve and our good friend Pete Alwinson. One of the questions on deck for tomorrow. I just said a cuss word, am I going to hell? Well, that is a heck of a good question. Tune in tomorrow for that answer. Well, we’ve been talking about it for a while, Steve’s new book, Laughter and Lament, and if you haven’t gotten a copy yet, I have great news. We now have a Laughter and Lament booklet. It features several extensive excerpts directly from the book. Can we send you a copy of that, for free? Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. Or to mail your request, just go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the Laughter and Lament booklet. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving could not be easier, just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability and Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.