“We are perplexed, but we are not driven to despair.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 NLT
Why not? Because God knows what we don’t and sees what we can’t.
Hebrews 11 says, “Faith is the assurance of something you cannot see.”
There are questions. There are times we feel perplexed. Yet we have faith that a story is being written we don’t quite get.
Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle without the picture on the box?
It’s easy to give up. Listen… Faith is working on a puzzle when you don’t have the picture on the box. You don’t see how they’re going to all come together, but you keep at it.
This is Abraham. God says, “I want you to move.” “Where am I supposed to move to?” “I’m not going to tell you. Just move.”
This is Joseph being told through this dream he’s going to be a great leader and then sold into slavery. This is Mary being told that she would conceive a child, but she was a virgin.
This is the story where God says, “Here are the pieces.” A lot of them don’t make sense to us. We’re trying to figure it out. Then a long time goes by. We just don’t see anything coming together.
The puzzle is coming together. Romans 8:28 says, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”
Keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together even if you don’t have a picture.
“We are hunted down, but we are never abandoned by God.”
2 Corinthians 4:9 NLT
Opposition cannot stop us. Romans 8 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” “If I really believe God was for me, then I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to stop now. If I really believe God is with me, then I’ll persevere.
But how do I know God’s with me?”
Romans 8:32 NLT “Since God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?”
If this one big thing is true, then doesn’t it mean that all these little things are taken care of? (He makes this argument from greater to lesser) Nothing was more valuable to God than His Son.
He gave His only Son for you.
Doesn’t it also follow that He’s going to take care of everything else?
I’m not looking at my circumstances as evidence the God is with me, but I’m looking to the cross.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37 NLT
Victory has already been won. You’re looking at your current situation and determining God’s love for you in the moment. You’re not fighting for victory; you’re fighting from victory. (It’s already happened)
Opposition cannot stop us. “We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:9 NLT
That phrase knocked down is this idea of an immediate concern. It’s a sudden emergency. Everything is good…then it’s a late-night phone call, an unexpected diagnosis, a devastating accident. In those moments, we’re knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We get back up.
So how can this really be true?
It’s because, ultimately, our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in heaven.
Paul says, “One day in heaven I’ll look back and all the troubles I went through will seem like nothing.” But Paul doesn’t know what’s going on in my life.
He doesn’t get it…be careful there. I’d put his troubles up against your troubles.
He was put in prison unjustly many times, beaten with whips and rods, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked three times, often homeless, hungry, and thirsty. He knew what it was to be cold and naked. He had physical problems he asked God three times to take away from him, and God’s like, “Mmmm…no. My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness. You’re a jar of clay, and my power is going to be demonstrated through this going on in your life.”
Paul says, “One day in heaven, I’ll look back and it’ll be no big deal.”
C.S. Lewis explains it this way. He says, “In heaven, the door we’ve been knocking on our entire lives will finally be open.”
So, you find yourself knocking on the door. “God, would You heal? Would You help? Would You restore?” And in heaven the door we’ve been knocking on opens up.
We get knocked down, but we’re not knocked out. Pressure can’t crush us. Uncertainty can’t discourage us. Opposition cannot stop us. Have you ever thought about giving up on God, and why? Was the real answer because you were convinced God had given up on you? (We can’t blame Him) We’re cracked and broken jars of clay. Why would He want anything to do with us? That’s probably where some of you are.
You’re not going to give Him a chance to reject you. You’ll just reject Him first.
How many times have you promised God, “Never again”?
How many years have we done things our own way?
How many people around you have you hurt?
How many jars of clay around you have you broken? I don’t think God would want anything to do with me.
There’s a story in the Old Testament where God wants to communicate His love and faithfulness. He tells Hosea to go to the red-light district, find a prostitute named Gomer, buy her from her pimp and bring her back home, marry her, and make her his wife.
Hosea does what God asks. It seems to be working out. He seems to love her. Then one day he comes home and Gomer has left. He runs back and finds her in the arms of another man. Hosea is broken.
God, what am I supposed to do?
God says, “I want you to bring her home again, and love her again.”
Why? Hosea 3:1 “So that the people will know how much I love them.”
So listen to me. You may have given up on God, but God has not given up on you.