In earlier posts I presented the sermon I gave on the Sunday after 9/11/01. On 9/11/11, the tenth anniversary of the terrible events of 9/11/01, I gave a sermon that I’d like to share with you. This is part 3 of that sermon. I hope this post helps you in some way:
e. Nancy Yambem Example
If we look to God and follow his plan for us, God can, and usually does, have some sort of good come out of an ordeal. Nancy Yambem is an example of some good coming out of tragedy. In the heartbreak of 9/11, her faith was tested and became stronger as she realized she had to depend on the Lord to get her thru the unimaginable pain of losing her husband on that terrible day. Her faith was made so strong that she was able to forgive those who killed her husband. Such forgiving comes from God, and the good news is that relieves us of a lot of baggage.
In addition, Nancy now leads a bereavement group here at the church, and she has helped people to come to terms with their loss. I recommend her group if you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one. Of course to live according to God’s plan, we need to be plugged into God through prayer, worship, and Bible reading so we can discern his plan for us.
V. Christ Is Our Hope
In addition to trusting God in the midst of a trial, we also should look beyond our present circumstances to a much better future. That better future may, or may not, be in this life. But we do know that as followers of Jesus we are assured of eternal life in heaven, and for that we rejoice. We obviously aren’t exempt from trials in this life, but we have Jesus – who himself endured suffering on this earth – to help us thru difficult times. We have the confidence that he loves us and that he is greater than any of the challenges or disappointments that we face. The Cross is proof of his love for us, and the Resurrection is proof of his power over evil. In addition, we have hope in Jesus because he promised us in Matt 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” NIV
The Good News is that anybody can be a part of his family – just come to him in faith. So why not put your trust in Christ today, and he will help you get through this life and give you eternal life in the hereafter.
1. We Groan
With all the bad news and uncertainty, I can’t help but sometimes feel depressed and pessimistic about the future. Along those lines, Second Corinthians 5:4a says, For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden… (NRSV)
Why do we groan? Because this world has problems, injustice, wars, strife, illness, natural disasters, and grieving, as we all know. One of the big questions of life is, “Why is this world like that?” It’s because we live in an imperfect world, subject to the laws of nature that can sometimes cause destruction, and human sin, which causes suffering. We long for peace, security, contentment, and comfort, but they are elusive, because this is earth, not the Garden of Eden or heaven. When we all get to heaven, there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, but for now, we have to endure trials from time to time.
2. Wrong Solutions
In our trials, we often look for worldly answers, or we try to escape it all through diversions. We expect politicians or the government to be our saviors when they can’t even agree on how to fix the mess we’re in. Humans don’t have the answers, but God does. That’s why we need to look to him, both individually and as a nation. We have to realize that life is too difficult to handle on our own, and there are issues of life that cannot be fixed with human efforts.
3. Trust in God
Only Jesus offers us true peace and comfort, plus the assurance of a secure future in heaven with him. Only Jesus gives hope to those without hope. As I said before, God may not change our circumstances but he will help us through whatever problem or trial we are facing. We don’t have to face our problems alone.
So why not turn to him today? I know that when I feel pessimistic and down, I stop and realize that I have hope. I have hope because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, whose power uplifts. So let the wise words of Proverbs 3:5-6 be our guide:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. NIV