Sometimes we need to be reminded more than taught.
APRIL 13, 2023
Sometimes we need to be reminded more than taught. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
God’s grace changes everything, how we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase, and worship. This is Key Life with practical Bible teaching to get you home with radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you’ve been listening, we’re talking about control the mother of all addictions, as a part of a book that I wrote, Laughter and Lament. Whenever I publish a book, I spend some time on this broadcast to teach the Bible in a little bit different way. I didn’t make up these ideas, all of them are Biblical and I’m basically a Bible teacher. So, I spend some time reminding you, probably more than teach you because God’s people do need to be reminded more than they needed to be taught. Let me share some things, reminders with you about laughter, lament, freedom, and control that I’ve found helpful. The first reminder is that bad stuff happens, sometimes, really bad stuff happens. Jesus said.
That God makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he sends his rain on the just and the unjust.
That’s Matthew 5:45. My friend John Debrine, who’s in heaven now, used to say that every time a pagan gets cancer, a Christian gets cancer, so the world can see the difference. He would say every time a pagan goes through a divorce, a Christian goes through a divorce, so that the world can see the difference. He would say that every time the Christian walks in a dark place, it’s the same as a pagan walks through a dark place, so that the world will know the difference. And that’s exactly what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5:45. In other words, life really is hard and nobody can live as an outsider of the human race. When Job’s life came apart, he told his wife who had told him to curse God and die. Man, if I’d been Job, I would’ve asked for a divorce. You know, you just can’t live with somebody like that. No, I wouldn’t, but I would ask for a Biblical separation and she could live in Denver and I could live in Orlando or whatever. Don’t send me letters, I’m just kidding. And Job said.
You speak as one of the foolish women, how they would speak. Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?
That’s Job 2:9 through 10. Later Job said.
If God would kill him, he would still trust God.
That’s Job 13:15. And that by the way, was the last positive spiritual thing job says in the entire book. Preachers were always, and I’ve done it on occasion, lifted up Job as an illustration of a godly man and how you deal with pain. He was not godly, he cussed and spit and kicked and questioned God and said, why me? Over and over again, because Job, by the way, and God has a proclivity to do this, was quite human. Throughout Scripture god lets us see human people, dealing with human problems, in human ways and sin too. And that’s why there was a cross. Job was after all human and sinful and just couldn’t sing that he had joy down in his heart cause he didn’t have any joy down in his, he was not happy. Like you and me, Job questioned God, had doubts and did his cussing and spitting. However, if you read Job 38 through 41, you’ll see that an amazing thing happens. Job decided to question God and God says, I don’t think so. I will question you and you will answer me. And God does just that with a series of questions that are humbling for anybody and for Job, really humbling. He starts, this is in Job 38:4.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth? Tell me if you have understanding.
After that, there is one question after another with each question, I suspect Job was looking for a place to hide. That section of Scripture ends and it’s wonderful the way it ends by Job saying, and this is Job 42:3 he says. And this is a loose translation, by the way. Job says, oops, shut my mouth.
I have uttered what I didn’t understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
At that point what happened? Now, I’m going to show you. At that very point, Job gave up control. As an aside, it was after he gave up control, that God poured his favor out on Job. Now, it’s not an absolute promise and I, you know, I don’t want you to think that I’m being silly here, that if you give up control, God will then give you what you tried to control cause the Bible doesn’t say that. But there is kind of a principle of giving up control. And when you give up control, there is freedom. And you find yourself saying to yourself, it is what it is, and he is who he is, and I am his servant, and he loves me deeply and profoundly. If you’ve been listening as we’ve gone through some of the themes of this book, you’ll remember that I’ve talked about the implications of lament with darkness as a part of it. Suffice to say here that darkness is real and it’s universal. It’s not just death and war and taxes. It’s Alzheimer’s and sexual abuse and sexual trafficking and economic loss, political, social and personal betrayal, crime, greed, racism, bullying, and it goes on and on and on. But it’s also personal loss, personal sin, personal involvement in the darkness. It feels hopeless, and in a way it really is hopeless. Our tears of lament once we’ve looked at those demons in the eye, are appropriate. We live in a fallen and bad world and we’re part of it. No Christian should be surprised that bad stuff happens, and it happens a lot. Jesus said after telling his disciples about what was going to happen and it wasn’t good. In the gospel of John, he is beginning to let them in on a secret that totally blew them away. He was going to Jerusalem, he was going to suffer, and he was going to die, and that messed with their theological paradigm. If your good, good things happen. If your bad, bad things happen. You are the goodest person we know. No bad things should, but he was saying that, and then he says something that is quite profound, this is John 16:33, he said.
I have said these things to you that in me, you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation.
But I don’t, let me at least mention this and we’ll talk more about it tomorrow cause I don’t want to leave you in the graveyard. I don’t want to leave you in a hard place. I want you to know that the Bible is basically very good news. Good stuff happens too. If the bad news was the whole story, the hopelessness would drive us insane or to the nearest bridge, but there’s a lot more. Not only does bad stuff happen, good stuff happens too. It’s easy to be so beaten down by the bad that you miss the good or to be so enamored by the good that you deny the bad. I have a counselor friend who was once approached by a woman who complained about her place of employment. She said she didn’t understand how a good God would force her to work in a place like that. He asked her if it was all bad and she replied yes, all of it, really bad. And then my friend said, do you get a paycheck? How about, you get a vacation? Do you get health insurance? Are there people at your company you like being around? Have you ever gotten a raise? After the counselor went through a fairly long list, the woman said, okay, okay, I repent, but I still would rather work somewhere else. Yeah, bad stuff does happen, but good stuff happens too, so don’t forget that. Be listening for the laughter of your children. When you sit down to a meal and it’s satisfying and so good you can hardly stand it. Notice and thank the one who gave it to you. You think about that. Amen.
What? Is it, is it Thursday already? Why, yes, it is. That means an end to this week’s exploration of Steve’s book Laughter and Lament. Remember, if you missed any episodes, stop by keylife.org where you can listen to them, for free. That’s also where you can pick up your own copy of Steve’s book. But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, the week’s not over yet. Tomorrow is the world famous Friday Q&A, when Steve and Pete will tackle questions including, can I lose my salvation? Classic question, right? Be sure to tune in for that answer. So, as you know, we’ve been talking about Steve’s new book, Laugher and Lament, but you may not have bought your copy yet. Totally cool, and actually it’s for you that we created the new Laughter and Lament booklet. It features several excerpts 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, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can give by charging a gift on your credit card or by including a gift in your envelope. Or now you can give safely and securely through text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.