“WHEN DISASTER STRIKES”
INTRO: It is one thing to witness disaster on TV or hear about it from somewhere in another part of the world, but there is a whole different dimension to disaster when it strikes so close to home or hits your life.
So often in the midst of a crisis we want answers, yet even answers can’t change what has happened … so we need something MORE than just answers. Has anyone left us a blueprint in how to face a tragedy? How do we deal with tragedy as godly people who believe in a good God? There is a man named Job that faced a terrible personal tragedy, a man who lost his children in a terrible accident, a man who also had few answers, so what sustained him?
PROP. SENT: The example of Job shows us a path through tragedy, while it doesn’t give us all the answers, it does point us to the one who can sustain us. When we can’t find solutions to our questions, we can find a savior for our catastrophe.
1. While Job was still receiving news of the loss of all his worldly goods he receives news that his 7 sons and 3 daughters had been killed in a sudden storm.
a. Though he had suffered the loss of worldly things there is nothing recorded to show that he grieved over the loss of his worldly goods.
b. But when he gets news of his children’s sudden accidental death he begins to mourn and grieve.
2. Job’s godly life had not prevented this disaster, indeed Matt. 5:45 is so true, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
ILLUS: My brother Gary in 1972 was killed by
terrorists that bombed the plane he was flying on, my sister in law Wanda was 6
months pregnant at the time, none of us could have expected this tragedy, they
both were living for the Lord, involved in children’s ministry in an Assembly of
God church and faithfully serving the Lord, all we could do is ask WHY? And hold on
to our faith and trust in God! –
1. Job could never have expected tragedy of this magnitude.
2. No test of faith this large had ever come into his life before.
3. While Job had not reacted to the other losses he does react to the loss of his children’s lives.
A. Sorrow 1:20a
1. Can a Christian trust in God and yet mourn in sorrow? YES!
a. Job reacts by tearing his robe and shaving his head, the standard expressions for great grief in his day in his culture.
b. Job allows himself to grieve, this is NOT a sign of lack of faith nor is it in any way a man who has lost his confidence in God; it is rather a man whose reactions are normal for the great tragedy that has suddenly struck his life.
2. Job does not pretend to be “in control” for everyone else, in fact, the shaved head and torn clothes were meant to show others that he was in great pain.
a. Why did they do this with such a public display?
b. So that their friends and loved ones would know of their anguish and come alongside them to weep and mourn with them!
3. In fact, often the friends who came would also tear their clothes and shave their heads to join the mourning sufferer – notice 2:12 where Job’s 3 friends come; while they could hardly recognize their friend Job they “began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for 7 days and 7 nights. No one said a word to him because they saw how great his suffering was.”
a. When words are inadequate, presence can speak volumes!
b. They didn’t solve the questions, they joined in the sorrow!
4. God does not expect His children to be unmoved emotionally, nor to act strong without grief, in fact, He created us to grieve in loss.
a. Jesus wept by sobbing over his friend Lazarus’ death.
b. Jesus never stopped Martha and Mary from great grief.
B. Security 1:20b
1. What could possibly give a sense of security in the face of death?
a. For someone with no belief in God there is nothing but sorrow and loss!
b. For someone like Job however that had a trust and belief in God there were other possibilities.
2. God adds a context to death that cannot be found anywhere else:
ILLUS: Someday you will read in the papers that D.
L. Moody of
3. Job had something to grab onto, he could fall down and worship God – without God there would be no hope whatsoever.
a. It is tragic when someone has no faith in God; they have no meaning for death – or life.
b. Job was able to find an anchor for his soul even in the midst of the greatest sorrow.
4. There is a major difference between Christians facing death and non-believers:
a. I have never seen a man be sorry he was a Christian on his death bed, but have met many atheists who were so sorrowful that they had no faith in God as they were dying.
b. While Job lost his family he kept his faith.
5. Job’s worship was not celebration, it was an expression of confidence in a God he knew though he was facing questions he didn’t have answers for.
6. Worship is not some mindless activity of blind faith, it is confidence or trust in a God that you have a real relationship with.
1. Job now recognizes his temporal existence in the light of an eternal God.
a. Job is simply acknowledging God’s supremacy over humans.
b. The man that makes himself god had better be ready to control the universe! – However he who will acknowledge God’s supremacy can be prepared to be held up by stronger arms than his own.
2. Job was not in denial of his loss or pain, he was however declaring his trust in God.
a. Too many people PLAY God rather than PRAY to God.
b. Job was not ashamed to acknowledge God’s supremacy over himself.
c. Today people are afraid to admit they are spiritual or have faith in God.
3. Job wasn’t concerned about what others might think, it was only important that he know where his confidence lay, In God.
1. In all his loss, all his pain, all his unanswered questions, Job still had his savior and Lord!
a. While someone without faith in God would have only found a black void, Job found comfort in the savior.
b. There is no indication that Job would yield to skeptics or critics about his faith in God, he was unashamed … and also stronger for his faith in God.
ILLUS: You have laughed God out of your schools, out of your books, and out of your life, but you cannot laugh him out of your death. Dagobert Runes - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 2431-2433.
2. Though Job’s faith is expressed his suffering continued after this, but never does he lose his anchor, his faith in God sustains him.
3. What do you have to anchor your heart and soul when disaster strikes, is your confidence in Christ, Job had his confidence in God … what do you have?
CONCLUSION: How do you handle a terrible disaster? Getting through a disaster begins long before one ever hits. The best way to handle unforeseen crisis is be strong before one ever comes. A sponge when squeezed can only give off whatever it had absorbed just before it was squeezed. If Christ lives in you now it will be His presence that is released in you when life and circumstances squeezes you.