Why God, Why pt I

I didn’t know where it was coming from or who it was, but I suddenly heard an eerie voice speaking to me. The man just started to address me with a litany of emotion-less accusations. I can’t quote him verbatim but here’s an idea of part of what he told me. “You are a pathetic example of someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus, Mike. You are the most proud, sarcastic, mean-spirited, inpatient, self-centered egotistical person I am aware of. That so called “ministry” you do is disgraceful. The “good deeds” are performed to make you feel good. You also cleverly persuade unsuspecting people to complement you in your guest book to feed your insatiable ego.

Your “ministry” is illegitimate. You duped naïve people into calling you to become their pastor. Jesus is dishonored in that pulpit because you treat him with contempt when you “preach”, especially as you have been doing for the past couple of years. Mike, you know you health is deteriorating. It is only a matter of time. God is giving you a final warning to get your house in order and leave the “ministry” before it is too late. Pay attention to your body. It’s wearing out. You know I am speaking truth. You have fallen away from the faith. Listen to what God says is awaiting you.

”For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt, Hebrews 6:4-6 (ESV).

Mike, it is not too late for you. Your “good works” have been a sham. God is warning you to stop them before it is too late. Listen to His final warning.

”For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire,” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (ESV).

You will be saved, Mike. This is your la …” At that point I interrupted the voice and heard myself say: “shut up, Satan!” It was followed by a split-second of deafening silence. And then I woke up.

The reason I’ve shared this unusual dream with you folks is because of the recent death of a remarkable woman named Nancy. The Lord brought her into my life several years ago. Nancy had just been diagnosed with cancer and her sister invited her to one of my Bible studies based on the best-selling book: “Trusting God,” by Jerry Bridges. The Lord had used that study to bless Nancy greatly. As she learned about the absolute Sovereignty of God [i.e. God is God] in all areas of her life, she was able to see reality. He was Nancy’s Creator and she was a very special creature who had been created in His image and likeness. However, because of the horrendous sin committed in the beginning of human history against their Creator by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, each of them immediately died spiritually and eventually physically as well. Since then, Nancy, as is every human being such as you and me, entered this world as a fallen spiritually dead human being. A creature alienated from God and destined to die and then experience the excruciating consequences of being eternally separated from the love of her Creator forever. BUT,

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16 (ESV)

Nancy had already believed in Jesus. She was a Christian. Through this Bible study she learned the reality of what Jesus told His beloved disciples on the night He was betrayed what each of them and all of His future followers would experience.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33 (KJV)

Nancy also learned that following Jesus wasn’t going to be easy. On the contrary, it was going to be painful. She would have to take up her cross and follow Jesus just as He had told His disciples each of them would a long time ago.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” Matthew 16:24 (ESV)

Nancy experienced a lot of suffering throughout her life, especially during her final illness. In spite of constant pleading with Jesus to heal her and make her well, she suffered greatly from cancer until Jesus commanded His angles to bring her home to Himself. Christians who were blessed greatly through the way she endured her last sufferings in this world were able to visualize Jesus welcoming her into the next by saying, “Well done Nancy, My good and faithful servant.” She had been married to Dick for 51 1/2 years. He misses her greatly and understandably wants to rejoin her. Dick has given me permission to share the following he found amongst her papers. Dick named it NANCY’S PRAYER in which she said: This is a prayer that I wrote for myself:

“GOD, I know you are in charge and I accept my crosses. I know that you will not give more than I can handle. Whatever you do to me I believe it is for my ultimate good.”

And to her concise prayer I have to offer a hearty AMEN! The Bible has revealed the following indisputable fact:

“… affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, 7 but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward,” Job 5:6-7 (ESV)

None of us are strangers to affliction, but some have much more of it than others, especially folks such as Nancy who experienced very little or no let up during her courageous battle with cancer. Followers of Christ enduring seemingly never ending physical and/or emotional torment, and their loved ones turn to God pleading for answers and ask Him, “Why God, why.” These are the folks in particular I believe the Lord wants me to share today’s message with. They are the Christians that Satan will viciously attack the most in an attempt to get them depressed and give up their faith. That’s the reason I shared the dream I had earlier. I wanted to give you an idea of how diabolically convincing and relentless he is in attempting to confuse us and wear us out. A case in point is Nancy’s grieving husband Dick. He’s given me permission to share the following email I recently received from him, to give you folks an idea of where he is at in the grief process. Dick wrote:

“I don’t know why I’m sending this to you.

Searching still, anything.

Trying to get an understanding.

I don’t understand why things had to happen the way they did.

What and how GOD works, I don’t understand.  Why HE does what (forget it) (I don’t know).

Thanks For Everything


The Lord’s brother James addressed the issue we’re considering and told those first followers of Jesus what they should do about it.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” James 1:2-4 (ESV)

“. …Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,” James 4:7-8 (ESV)

That’s exactly what I have been struggling to do throughout each day and apparently even while I’m asleep. My crosses are light in comparison to the ones of those special Christians such as Nancy and their loved ones. These are the followers of Jesus who will be ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked by Satan. They will be powerfully tempted to become angry with God and give up their faith. Beautiful Christians such as Nancy and a remarkable woman named Joni Eareckson Tada whom I have spoken about in previous sermons, wrote an excellent book in 1997 named ‘When God Weeps.’ Joni has been a quadriplegic since an accident when she was 17 years old. The following are excerpts of what she wrote concerning another long time sufferer.

“Karla is a woman in her late thirties. Who is desperate to understand a few reasons why. Severe diabetes is the root of it all. Both legs amputated. A heart attack. A kidney transplant. Constant battles with collapsed veins. Severe edema and legally blind. When we first met at one of our Joni And Friends Family Retreats, I remarked, Karla, I’m amazed you were able to make it,” to which she replied with a grin, “I thought I’d better come before I lost any more body parts.” “Look at me,” she said, dropping her gaze to her lap. Through her shorts, I could see the contour of the large plastic cups around her stumps. Karla wasn’t wearing cosmetic legs, but the bare steel bar kind, with a hinge at the knee. She held up her hand to show something new: a fat white gauze wrapped around the end of a knuckle. Her finger had been amputated. “I’m falling apart.” “I’m a Christian. I’ve suffered. Don’t you think I’ve paid my dues?” she asked with pleading eyes. “I’m not depressed or anything, I just  … don’t see the point. I want to go home now. Heaven, I mean.” Do you really want an answer?” I asked, sincerely.”

Joni was in a unique position to give Karla an answer. For instance, she had been invited to volunteer at the Red Cross center after the Oklahoma City office building bombing that suddenly left 168 people dead and missing and caused tremendous grief amongst their loved ones and countless others. The woman in charge of the counseling services greeted Joni with: “Honey, I wish we had more people like you in wheelchairs volunteering during a crisis. When victims come in here for help and see someone like you, handling your own personal crisis, it gives them hope. You are a powerful example to them, a promise that they too will survive a tragedy.” Joni went on to show Karla that she was a powerful example to other long time sufferers of the Spirit of Christ living in her and enabling her to persevere. If Karla could endure, so too can they. Joni used the following passages of scripture to enlighten Karla. I’ve been hoping and praying they will enlighten each of you folks, too.

“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised,” Hebrews 6:12 (NIV)

“Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church,” Colossians 1:24 (NIV)

Joni continues: “Nothing is lacking when it comes to what Christ did on the cross. It is finished, just as he said. But something is lacking when it comes to showcasing the salvation story to others. Jesus isn’t around in the flesh, but you and I are. When we suffer and handle it with grace, we’re like walking billboards advertising the positive way God works in the life of someone who suffers. It’s for the benefit of believers. But it’s more than a matter of example or even inspiration,” I stammered, groping for words. “It’s you [Karla].” Because we are one in the body of Christ, we are linked together. Your victories become mine.”

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it,” 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NIV)

(And I might add, just as you and I do with and for each other. When one of us is hurting the rest of us hurt right along with him or her, and we try to help in any way possible. And whenever one of us in this local body of Christ are rejoicing over a particular blessing, so too are you and I.)

Joni continues: “Sure, I’m a quadriplegic, but I don’t consider my problems as severe as hers. Karla, with all her angioplasties, manhandles more serious dilemma than I. She shows me how to handle a bothersome ulcer on my foot that won’t heal. Backaches for which aspirins do zilch. If a woman who has to borrow a kidney can do it with God’s help, then so can I.”

The following is a note Joni received from Karla after the retreat:

“Dear Joni,

After speaking with you, I feel I can “run the race” and “fight the good fight” again. My reasons for not wanting any more medical procedures were based on fear. I now realize that my decisions not only concern me, but affect my family, friends, and others who watch. I am alive because of God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness to me. So when the need for the next angioplasty or whatever arises, I’m ready to go for it.

Love, Karla

P.S. I just learned I have uterine cancer.”

If folks such as Dick and Guy and Carroll, Linda and Doris, and Fanny and Bob, (who is a councilor at one of Joni And Friends Family Retreats in New Hampshire,) DRAW NEAR TO GOD, He WILL DRAW NEAR TO THEM. He will give each of them whatever they need to endure their trial in a Christ-honoring manner and the rest of us will continue to be blessed by their example with an abundance of encouragement and hope whenever we are in the midst of our own divinely ordained painful trial.

It’s been my prayerful desire that God will make this message a blessing and equip each of us with the ability to biblically answer a fellow Christian who asks us the question: “WHY GOD, WHY?”

But there are other reasons why we must suffer. Lord willing, next week…

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April 3, 2011 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized Tagged with:

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