How to Hang on When the Bottom Falls Out

Ps 42:1-5

1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, "Where is your God?"

4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. (NKJ)

This message was preached September 7, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com

It seems that there are many breaking points that we encounter in life. We have no choice but to deal with disappointments. When we were younger we learned to cope with these, although sometimes we did not do so well.

What amazes me now is that ten years after the fact many of those things do not seem to loom nearly as high as they once did. God gives us the grace as we need it. With each more difficulty He once again strengthens us. The psalmist knew this ever so well. That is why I love the Psalms. They relate to our suffering and our struggles. God's people have always been ordinary people that God has worked through in extraordinary ways.

But as the writer of Hebrews tells us that no trial for the present seems pleasant. (Heb. 12:11)

The question is how do we get through that trial? How do we come out the other side still in one piece mentally and spiritually?

How do we hang on when the bottom falls out?

  1. We remember where our strength comes from.
    1. Ps 121:1-8

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (NIV)

  1. We remember that we will never be forsaken.
    1. We are children of God.
    2. He will correct us but never forsake us.
    3. He loved us enough to send His Son to die in our place, shall He withhold any good thing from us.
      1. Rom 8:32 Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? (NLT)
    4. Rom 8:28-39

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters.

30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.

31 {Nothing Can Separate Us from God's Love--} What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

32 Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?

33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with himself.

34 Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?

36 (Even the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.

39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)

  1. We remember that He can use these trials to make us more like Jesus.
    1. He uses these terrible things in our lives to bring us to perfection.
      1. James 1:2-4 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)
  2. We come back to Him and trust Him and call upon His aid.
    1. Ps 73:14-28

14 All I get is trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

15 If I had really spoken this way, I would have been a traitor to your people.

16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!

17 Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked.

18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.

19 In an instant they are destroyed, swept away by terrors.

20 Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake. When you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this life.

21 Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen.

22 I was so foolish and ignorant-- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

23 Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand.

24 You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.

26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

27 But those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.

28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. (NLT)

Know that whatever you are going through is only temporary.

Know that God will not forsake you.

Know that He still loves and cares about you.

Know that He will use even the darkest days to change you to be like His Son.

Draw closer, cling tighter, & He will get you through.