Homiletical Idea: Even when we hurt God is still faithful.
Purpose: I would like to give advice on helping people get through hard times.
Further Questions: What is the role of the church while someone is suffering? Did God want us to suffer?
Other Issues: God is sovereign. People want to feel important.
See Donald Cole's sermon at GCTS on Psalm 23, it has a good background of David's life.
A. Everyone will hurt in life.
B. Symptoms of grief are as follows: fear, denial, shock, and so forth.
1. Contemporary Funerals, and their consequences: see The New York Times article.
C. Even though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me. Psalm 23.4
. Dingo attack sheep in Australia, see National Geographic pg. 24 , April, 1997.
The valley of death is referring to the darkest hour in life.
II. How to get through a valley individually is by praying, being faithful, be obedinent, talk with someone about the issue; see Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts, and remember Jesus is with us.
A. Two false assumptions to grief are suffering always links to sin, and is exclusive for non-Christians.
i. We need to avoid the two extremes: there is a demon in everything, and there is no demon at all.
ii. "I have never thought that a Christian would be free of suffering. For our Lord suffered. And I have come to believe that He suffered, not to save us from suffering, but to teach us how to bear suffering. For he knew that there is no life without suffering." Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country
iii. "I thank God for inventing pain. I don't think He could have done a better job." Dr. Paul Brand
B. We are to pray, /cf. Psalm 46:10, Ecclesiastes 5.1-3, and I Peter 5.7.
i. Tell about my own spiritual desert.
ii. We should still communicate with God because he still listens.
C. We are to trust God.
i. God wanted Job to trust him, see Yancey.
D. We are to be obedient to God.
i. We can be obedient by worshiping God.
E. We can talk to someone about the situation.
F. We are to remember that Christ is our foundation (Psalm 23.6, and I Peter 2.6), and heaven is our home (John 16.33).
i. God may have a purpose for the hurt; it could be a form of discipline; it could be to mold us. Or God could have allowed nature to take its course. There are so many variables to what causes suffering and we need to accept that suffering does happen, and remember we have Christ
III. We can Help others get through a Valley.
A. There are false assumptions: we fully understand, and have all the answers.
B. We can listen (allow the person to grieve), serve, encourage, and pray.
i. Douglas Steere "There is no greater intimacy with another than that which is built through holding him or her in prayer.....Forbes Robinson's Letters to His Friends....He remarks in one letter that if he really would reach some need in his friend's life, he would always prefer a half-hour's silent petition for him to an hour's conversation with him" (see Daily Devotions by Foster).