Finding Peace in the Midst of War
Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God! NLT
This message was preached March 23, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com
Sometimes we seem to be overwhelmed by life. It might be the continuing war coverage or it could be problems in our marriages or with our children. We might be overcome by the fears of sickness or disease. The Psalmist also had similar emotions that also brought him very low.
Today as war wages in Iraq many are the ideas of what is right and wrong. I wish at all wars would cease but I am more realistic than some. Until Jesus returns He said there would be wars and rumors of war. The condition of man's heart is such that it must often be held in check by power in the hands of good people.
"Lovely But How? Said E. Stanley Jones, evangelist, in delivering an impassioned speech in this city: 'The time has come for Christians of the world to unite and say, We have decided our allegiance. The State is not God. We obey only Christ and his teachings. If we do this, wars will be over.' BSac-V94:373-Jan 37-2. (1)
A popular English novelist, Miss I. A. R. Wylie, presented the following as the thesis of an article in Harper's Magazine (October, 1933): "If civilization is to survive, our old-time virtues must be brought up to date. It was these virtues, rather than our wickedness, which landed us into the slaughter of the War. If we had not been brave, faithful, patriotic, and unselfish we should never have fought at all. And our next display of high-powered old-time virtue may finish civilization altogether." BSac-91:362-Apr 34-130 (2)
Both of the above were given shortly before World War II.
I do identify with Abner though in 2 Sam 2:25-26 Abner shouted down to Joab, "Must we always solve our differences with swords? Don't you realize the only thing we will gain is bitterness toward each other? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?" NLT
So amidst the struggles of war and peace marchers I present this message today.
- Why am I discouraged?
- Every person who ever lived has become discouraged.
- Even Jesus displayed evidence of discouragement with the people and even His own disciples.
- He was never disappointed as we often are because of a lack of devotion on our own part.
- There are always problems to be handled and overcome.
- God uses those things in the life of the believer to strengthen him.
- 1 Peter 1:7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. NLT
- James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. NLT
- You have all heard of Murphy's Law which says, "If anything can go wrong, it will."
- Some people have thought that Murphy was an optimist.
- But you see here the writer is asking the question, why am behaving this way.
- Why so sad?
- Each of us knows the depth of sorrow through the loss of a loved one or a close friend.
- Sometimes we are just sad about ourselves.
- In the words of that famous philosopher, Lee Dutton, "I find it helps to absolutely focus on how sorry you feel for yourself. Get those other, minor concerns out of the way."
- Lee sent that to me this Monday before he went into the hospital and as I can understand was feeling quite ill.
- But David realizes that his deep sadness is not justified.
- Not because there were no reasons but because of who was with him.
- Like that old song, Count Your Blessings
- And our greatest blessings, if we are Christians, are spiritual.
- I will put my hope in God!
- For the Christian there is always hope.
- Not because we will soon overcome our circumstances.
- Not because by a little more effort we will be victorious.
- But because of who our God is.
- I will praise him again
- The solution for discouragement and despair is praise to God.
- Prov 18:14 The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed? NLT
- My Savior and my God!
- The help of my countenance and my God. NKJV
Eric Barker was a missionary from Great Britain who had spent over fifty years in Portugal preaching the gospel, often under adverse conditions. During World War II, the situation became so critical that he took the advice to send his wife and eight children to England for safety. His sister and her three children were also evacuated on the same ship. Barker remained behind to conclude some mission matters. The Sunday after Barker's loved ones had left, he stood before the congregation and said, "I've just received word that all my family have arrived safely home." He then proceeded with the service as usual. Later, the full meaning of his words became known to his people. He had been handed a wire just before the meeting, informing him that a submarine had torpedoed the ship, and everyone on board had drowned. Barker knew that all on board were believers, and the knowledge that his family was enjoying the bliss of heaven enabled him to live above his circumstances in spite of his overwhelming grief.
When a normal person picks up his daily paper whose banner heads scream war injustices, atrocities and greed in action, his blood boils; and yet, if he is a Christian he must look at these horrors in the light of revelation. A world alienated from God is gathering the fruits of its insanity and sin. Man hopes against hope that someday he will build a better world. The only revealed hope is in the coming of the Prince of Peace. BSac-V96 #383-Jul 39-259 (3)
1. 1Multiple, Bibliotheca Sacra, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary (Electronic edition by Galaxie Software)) 1999
2. 1Multiple, Bibliotheca Sacra, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary (Electronic edition by Galaxie Software)) 1999.
3. 1Multiple, Bibliotheca Sacra, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary (Electronic edition by Galaxie Software)) 1999.