Carrying on from last week; Troubles and trials and where is God? Well we all ask that question and we all come up with less than satisfying answers.
To say it is a sin problem, a Genesis three problem is putting it simply but leaves us less than satisfied. To say it is just part of the human condition leaves us decrying that same human condition.
But as our doubts come about it matters where we look for answers. God gave us intelligence to use and find answers and solutions to the problems in our lives. But some problems are not that easy to sort when we look to ourselves or even to others with wiser minds than our own.
So back to my story; It was 1995 and my life was a mess, I had a business that was struggling, a friend whose son Timothy had brain cancer and a dozen other things that seemed to hang over my head saying: “Jon, this God thing just is not working for you...”
I thought well the answer is to lose myself in my work and that was easy as I had my own business and all I had to do was work more and longer. After all I had poured my heart out in prayers. I had thought well I’m living my life like I should. Come on God, show up and answer my prayers the way I want you to.
Well it seemed to no avail. Timothy got worse and worse. The brain cancer took his life. My friend Levi also came down with liver and pancreas cancer and was gone in just a couple of months from the time they found it.
Business got worse and my patience ran thin and I bailed on the whole God thing. After all it just wasn’t working. And in the midst of all this I had a sense that I was to put everything aside and go into ministry. Not a chance of that happening. My dad had been a pastor and I had already seen the empty lives he had had to deal with and there was no way I would go through that stuff. So I filled my life with more business and busyness to cover for my pain and calling. I found myself working harder for less than ever, less joy and happiness than I could imagine.
I can sincerely say that there is nothing like running from God to make one miserable and even more to drive the people around you crazy. Nine months of no church, no God stuff and I found life even worse. Why Ruth didn’t just pack the children and leave I‘m beyond amazed. I think it was one little thing called grace.
Then finally, I came back to that place of right relationship with God. WOW! I wish I could say that my life turned around, that my friends were resurrected from the dead, my business suddenly made millions in profits and life got perfect. But you see, that is not how it works, it never has and until Christ returns (see sermon from Ascension Sunday) it is not going to be a perfect, problem free answer.
But there is this amazing little verse in Romans 8:28 that says: “All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Next week, what that can look like,
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship