What do we do when our worst, out of control fears come true?
JOB’S WORST FEARS CAME TRUE.
JOB 1:1: In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.
Unbeknownst to Job, behind the scenes, God and Satan are locked in a battle of truth, justice and the Kingdom of God way. Job becomes a pawn in the battle.
In a quick and brutal sweep of calamities, allowed by God, but engineered by Satan, Job is left penniless, homeless, helpless, childless—and healthless (Job 13-19).
On Day Two, it got personal. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes (Job 2:4-8).
Uncontrolled fears have overwhelmed Job: What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me (Job 3:25).
For Job, like for many of us, there was no date, there was no warning, there was no understanding why it happened. All he knew was that one day things were fine and the next day they were horrible. One day he was healthy and moments later he was sick unto death—and he never knew why.
Mrs. Job is often criticized for encouraging Mr. Job to curse God and die. Let’s not be so hard on her. Like Job, she, too, had just awaken into her worst nightmares. Mrs. Job had great wealth, too—and she also lost everything:…her children, her wealth and security, her reputation, and her husband’s health. She lost it all. Her worst fears came true.
The same thing has happened to some of us.
Julie—give some examples here. Identify with them and them with you.
Man you love leaves you for another woman, etc.
Let’s consider some of the nightmarish fears that actually came true for Job.
Unfortunately, these same fears will come true for many of us.
▓SLIDE #: Job tells us that he feared physical pain.
We do not know the disease he suffered, but we know it was so painful, he couldn’t even sleep at night. It was gory. It was tormenting. Perhaps it was leprosy.
▓SLIDE #: Rochelle Terry is in our midst today. She would much rather be home with her parents and her high school friends in Ulan Bator, Outer Mongolia with her family.
But, alas, she is not.
Several months ago one of her legs began experiencing excruciating pain—so much so that she cannot walk, put any weight on it, or even touch it. The nerves are malfunctioning and sending continual agonizing pain signals to her brain.
Now in PT—begins with touching it with a wash cloth—and she cries out in agony—trying to build up endurance so she can stand the pain and begin using her leg before it is completely atrophied and usless.
RSD is incurable, but it can be managed, if proper PT is administered in time.
We all fear to some level or other a failing body or long-time experience with pain. She never saw it coming. But, it did.
Some of you have suffered physical pain in unspeakable ways. I am sorry for what have experienced.
▓SLIDE #: Job tells us that he experienced tremendous emotional pain.
Grief overwhelmed him.
Sometimes the emotional pain is so great we can’t even begin to process it.
Our daughter Bronwyn was raped one night when she was coming home from a meeting. She was getting ready to leave for Germany to be a foreign exchange student. The man at the Rotary club who sponsored her wanted to be sure she was safe while walking to her car at night, so he sent an exchange student from South America to escort her to the car to be sure she was safe.
Instead, he raped her. Bronwyn was so horrified, she never told anyone. She never dated for four years.
She took up fencing in college. She loved to fence men and stab them below the belt. We thought that was a little unusual. Now we know that the pain in her subconscious mind was manifesting against men for what she had experienced.
We never learned of her emotional pain. But one day, Bronwyn fell in love and became engaged to be married. One night, she finally told her fiancée why she was afraid of men. After months of counseling, Bronwyn began to find emotional healing. Emotional pain can be very real. I have found in life, that when I don’t know why I am suffering, the suffering is harder.
Some of you have suffered emotional pain in unspeakable ways. I am sorry for the have experienced.
▓SLIDE #: Job admits that he dreaded the thought of long-term mental anguish.
He couldn’t even comprehend how he and his wife would survive. He was wondering what terrible calamity or crisis would come next.
Personal fear stories
Some of you have suffered mental anguish in unspeakable ways. I am sorry for the pain you have gone through.
▓SLIDE #: Spiritual pain was probably Job’s deepest fear come true.
He felt that the God he knew and loved and served and worshiped had forsaken him.
His wife, his beloved partner, told him to curse God and die.
He wondered over and over again why God would let this happen to him.
God would not speak to him no matter how much he prayed and begged.
It was as if God abandoned him. He was all on his own without God.
Fred and Joy Morse: pastor having sexual affair in his office while wife served as his volunteer secretary just outside his office door.
He probably never saw it coming. Adultery is feared by every man or woman who speaks for God. But, one day he fell—and one day he was discovered.
“How can God ever forgive me? What I have done is so despicable that there is no way God could ever forgive me. He surely has left me forever.”
Some of you have suffered spiritual pain in unspeakable ways. Perhaps you feel that God deserted you in your most desperate moment. Perhaps you feel that He has led or left you in some difficulty that was all His doing—and you are having to suffer solutions on your own. I am sorry for what you have gone through.
▓SLIDE #: Now, Let’s Move To The PRACTICAL Side. “WHAT SHALL WE DO WHEN THE THINGS WE FEARED THE MOST RUMBLE TO THE CORE OF OUR SOULS?”
▓SLIDE #: 1. WE CAN EXPERIENCE THE LOVING HEART OF gOD THE FATHER THROUGH Jesus Christ.
God the Father understands and has experienced fears and the horror of those fears coming true.
Was Jesus ever afraid?
Matthew 26:36-38” Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Matthew 26:39: Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Was His fear finally realized?
Matthew 27:46: About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
He took the sin of the world.
Led to resurrection for Jesus and for all of us as well.
It reminds me of the little doe being chased by wolves hiding behind the legs of the hunter. That is the image of God as my father that I have in my soul whenever my worst fears are being realized.
God’s “perfect love” is able to cast out fear.
SLIDE: 1 John 4:18-19; There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… 19 We love because he first loved us.
Missionaries: “The love of Christ constrains us…” Handle their fears because of their love for people.
Watts Teenage Mission trips just after riots: Dangerous. Perfect love casts out fear.
Sang in black church: “First white people to come into our church.
The servant of Elijah
2 Kings 6:15-17
SLIDE: 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
through the Bible, prayer and meditation.
“Recognizing the thing in hand.”
Psalm 91 meditation
▓SLIDE #: 2. WE CAN EXPERIENCE PEACE BECAUSE OUR SUFFERING IS FOR SOMETHING.
SLIDE: Job 23:10: 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold
SLIDE: Hebrews 12:10-11: Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Let’s put pain in perspective.
Consider the following: scientists have found ways of measuring the intensity of the pain we feel. They can measure the fact that a migraine hurts more than a skinned knee.
And they have determined that two of the most painful things human beings can experience are giving birth and passing a kidney stone. From a purely physical point of view, these two events both hurt equally, and hardly anything hurts more.
But from a human point of view, the two are so different. The pain of passing a kidney stone is simply pointless suffering, the result of a natural malfunction somewhere in our body. But the pain of birth is creative pain. It is pain that has meaning, pain that gives life, that leads to something.
That is why the person who passes a kidney stone will usually say, “I’d give anything not to have to go through that again.”
But the woman who has given birth to a child, like the runner or mountain climber who has driven his body to reach a goal, can transcend her pain and contemplate repeating the experience. “Honey, I think I am ready to have another one.
We don’t want to suffer for nothing. If we are going to suffer we want to suffer for something.
No one wants to suffer for nothing (kidney stone). We handle it better if we are suffering for something (having a baby). We handle it best if we understand how we are suffering for Someone (God Himself).
▓SLIDE #: 3. WE CAN EXPERIENCE CONTENTMENT BECAUSE GOD PROMISES TO POUR IN THE POWER WHEN WE NEED IT.
SLIDE: Philippians 4:11-12: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
SLIDE: Philippians 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
SLIDE: 2 Corinthians 12:7-9: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I do want to share—with Rochele’s permission— the following last paragraph from her message. I hope it blesses you as much as it does me.
I really didn’t know that God could turn this no walking and no friends thing into something so big in my life. I sit down and read my Bible and pray and I’m really seeking Christ. I’m finding things out on my own. I’m not just asking about things then reading a little bit about it later. I’m learning things and I’m forming my beliefs and its alive in me. I know I don’t know very much, and things I think are right might be twisted, but I know I’m not alone. I think its kinda like this therapy thing.
I have to learn how to do all this stuff but I can’t do it on my own yet. I think its so cool how I can relate all this crap with my leg to the amazing things God is doing. Its like God took my weakness and He said, “Hey, watch this! Want to see what I can do with this?” It’s like He came and said “Rochele, I can do something great here—no matter what you choose. I’ll still do something great, I just want to know if you want to come for the ride.” I could have stayed bitter, but I’ve done that before. I needed to make this real this time.
Daddy, I got this joy. It’s like I can feel Him working in me—its amazing.
Oh and I think I know what RSD really stands for now: Resting Soundly in Dad. He is my Heavenly Father, and He gave me rest in Him.
One word: “Wow.”
Thanks for all your love and support and help for Rochele and our family during this time.