Have Hope in God in Suffering, Avoid Bad Decisions

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Hope in God

All our actions have a price. All the decisions we make have their consequences. This is inevitable. When we choose evil instead of good, it always brings defeat. If not in the eyes of the world, then in the eyes of God. Many wrong and bad decisions bring suffering. How to discover trust and hope in God if we fall into sin?

 Let’s look at this. As an example from the Bible, we will take the life of King David.

Psalm 38:4-5 “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.”

Make no mistake about SAINTS and SINNERS – everyone has suffered in life but not everyone lost hope in God.

Some who promote “Easy-Believism” or “The Gospel of success” to win-converts to the Lord paints a picture of the Christian life as a fairy tale. You accept the Lord and live happily ever after.

But that is not true. SAINTS, like the SINNERS in this life, have their share of suffering.

  • We may not suffer for the same reasons they suffer, but we suffer.
  • Many times for the SAINTS and the SINNERS, the sufferings come from bad decisions they have made in the past.

Listen to one funny story. A woman woke in the middle of the night to find her husband missing from their bed. In the stillness of the house, she could hear a muffled sound downstairs. She went downstairs and looked all around, still not finding her husband she continued to try to find him.

Woman went down into the basement and listened again. She could hear a moaning sound, and she continued to look and found him crouched in the corner facing the wall, sobbing. She rushed to him and knelt beside him and said: “What’s wrong with you?”

He said, “You remember when I was dating you, I was twenty-one and you were only sixteen?” She said, “Yes, I remember that.”

“Remember one night when I was dating you and your father caught us doing something we should not have been doing?” She said, “Oh yes! I remember that well!”

“And remember,” he said, “I had two choices: I could either marry you or spend the next 20 years in prison because you were a juvenile?” She said, “Yes, I remember that also, but why are you crying.”

He said, “The reason I am crying is if I had not married you, I would have gotten out today!”

In this life, SAINTS and SINNERS suffer, and sometimes for the same reasons.

David made some bad decisions, and in Psalm 38, he is suffering from those bad decisions.

This Psalm is similar to Psalms 51 in that it is referred to as one of the Penitential Psalms. The word “Penitential” is where we get the word “Penitentiary,” which is a place of sorrow.

In this Psalm, David is going through a place of sorrow. He doesn’t know how long he will be in this place, all he knows at this time is that he is there.

Any time we choose to sin, it is like buying something and not knowing the price. And that is always dumb!

Here’s a story for you that happened in the twentieth century. Dr. Jack Hyles, who has gone to be with the Lord, was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. He was telling a group of preachers at a ministerial meeting that his church downtown needed some more room. They bought a building, and he sent a crew out to tear the building down. But they made a mistake and tore the wrong building down. He said sadly, “We also bought that building but we do not know yet how much we have got to pay for it!”

That is how sin is. A person can choose to sin, but only the future will tell what outrageous price they may have to pay for it.

In the past, this great man of God had made some bad decisions, and he was suffering because of those decisions.

Bad Decisions

What did King David do? He had committed adultery with Bathsheba (more info) and murdered her husband. As a result of him making those bad decisions, some bad things began to happen in his life that would not have happened had he not made those bad decisions. The whole chain of consequences:

  • His baby died.
  • Amnon raped Tamar.
  • Absalom killed Amnon.
  • Absalom led an insurrection.
  • Absalom was killed by Joab.

Had he known the tremendous price he would have to pay for those decisions, he would have never made the bad decisions. David made his decisions, but he was paying a tremendous price. Let’s look at:

I. HIS CONDITION

In Psalm 38 he is crying his heart out before God: His family is suffering. He is suffering from mental anguish, physical agony, social pressure, emotional distress, and spiritual guilt.

He does what we often do when we are being put through the ringer, – HE CRIES OUT TO GOD.

Look at verses 1-3, we read, “O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine, arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.” (Psalm 38:1-3)

David is saying:

Like Peter – “Lord save Me.”

Like the Leper – “If Thou wilt, thou canst make me whole.”

Like the Publican – “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Like blind Bartimaeus – “Jesus Thou Son of David, Have mercy on me.”

As he cries out to God, he is suffering greatly. Notice-

A. HE CONFESSES BEFORE GOD

Look at verses 4-9, we read, “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.”

Notice, he is confessing his sins, but look at verse 4, he said, “…mine iniquities are gone over my head…”

  • In other words, “When I chose to sin, I bit off more than I could chew.”
  • He is saying, “I jumped into some deep water, and I cannot swim out of this mess I have gotten myself into.”
  • He is saying, “When I bought into sin, I did not know what I was doing.”

Here’s another funny story for you. A blonde went into an electronics store and pointed to a TV and asked the price of it. The worker said, “Sorry, we don’t sell to blondes.”

The girl was shocked by such discrimination! She went home, and the next day she came back as a brunette. She asked the worker, “How much is that TV?” He said, “Sorry, we don’t sell to blondes.”

She went home. The next day, she came back as a redhead, and she asked the worker, “How much is this TV? He said, “Sorry we don’t sell to blondes.”

She said, “I have come back here as a brunette and a redhead, how did you know I was a blonde?” He said, “I know because that is not a TV, that is a microwave.”

Funny, but at the same time, it hurts that many folks would not have committed the sins they committed, had they not been blinded by sin. David is saying to God, “I would have never committed those sins had I known what price I would have to pay.”

Here’s a real-life story for you. Dr. E.J. Daniels, who has gone to be with the Lord, was in a revival. A man came to him and said, “Dr. Daniels, I work at the penitentiary, and this Friday they are going to electrocute a man on death row.” He said, “I do not know how you feel about it, but I thought it might somehow help your ministry if you were to see the execution.”

Dr. Daniels said, “Thanks, but I’d rather not see that!” But as he thought about it during the week, he felt it was something he should witness. He said they took him into a little room with a glass, and only a dozen people were sitting there in absolute silence because they all knew the horrible thing they were going to witness. As the time drew near, they could hear this young man being led forcefully down the hall. He said that all of a sudden, the door was swung open and prison guards were pushing him through the door, and he was clinging to everything he could cling to with no avail.

He said that as he saw the spectators watching, his eyes scanned the crowd looking every one of them in the eyes, trying to find someone who would have compassion and help him. He saw the horror on his face and heard the screams of his voice, and Dr. Daniels said that he could not take any more. With tears in his eyes, he stood up, forgetting about those who were in the room with him, and cried out. “My God son, what a price you are paying for your crime!”

David had made his choice to sin, and what a tremendous price he was paying. He is now broken and crying, he couldn’t sleep or eat. And now he is confessing his sins before God. He is:

  • Like Achan in (Josh. 7:21) – “I have sinned.”
  • Like Saul in (1 Sam. 15:24) – “I have sinned.”Like Judas in (Matt. 27:4) – “I have sinned.”
  • Like the Prodigal in (Luke 15:18) – “I have sinned.”
  • Like Pharaoh in (Exo. 9:27) – “I have sinned.”
  • Like himself in (Psa. 51.4) – “I have sinned.”

But not only does HE CONFESS BEFORE GOD, but also – he collapses before God!

B. HE COLLAPSES BEFORE GOD

Look at verse 10, we read, “My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.”

He told us a great deal about how this has affected him EMOTIONALLY, but notice that it also has affected him PHYSICALLY.

  • His heart is beating fast. He says, “My heart panteth”.
  • His weakness sets in. He says, “My strength faileth me”.
  • His sight is affected. He says, “As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.”

We all are going to be surprised when we get to heaven and see how much sin affected us EMOTIONALLY and PHYSICALLY.

Some research has already linked cancer with a life of worrying. That is, when we do not trust the Lord, we pay a price EMOTIONALLY and PHYSICALLY.

Many folks have died a premature death, and would not be in the graveyard today, BUT SIN PUT THEM THERE! There are many folks today having to go for psychiatric care because SIN PUT THEM THERE.

Notice, David told us a great deal about the EMOTIONAL problems that sin had brought to him. But now he is talking about PHYSICAL PROBLEMS. It has:

  • Affected his heart.
  • Affected his strength.
  • Affected his eyes.

When folks are in a mess EMOTIONALLY and PHYSICALLY, what do they normally do? They complain before God!

C. HE COMPLAINS BEFORE GOD

Notice what he cries to God about. Look at verses 11-12, Psalm 38, we read, “My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.”

  • Friends and family avoid him, he’s lonely. Look at verse 11, he says, “My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.”
  • Enemies move on to him. They lay traps for him. Look at verse 12, we read, “They also that seek after my life lay snares for me…”
  • They speak evil of him. Look at verse 12, we read, “…And they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things…”
  • They imagine bad things about him. Look at verse 12, we read, “…And imagine deceits all the day long.”

David’s enemies have no life of their own it seems, they have nothing better to do with their life than to sit around all day, trying to imagine how they can inflict more pain and misery on him.

In this terrible condition, we see this man of God take control of his life.

In verses 1-12 he is like an airplane out of CONTROL, he is in tail-spin diving into the earth, and it seems there is no hope. Then we come to verse 13, and we see he can gain control of his life just in the nick of time.

II. HIS CONTROL

Look at verse 13, we read, “But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth, not his mouth.”

He told us in verses 1-12 how his friends and family had turned against him. He told us how they sat around trying to imagine how they could do things to make his life even more miserable. But once he got control of his life, notice, he says he became like a “Deaf” and “Dumb” man. There are some real advantages of not being able to hear.

People can say all kinds of bad things about us, and we can sit there and smile in their face because we can not hear a thing they say.

God helped David to reach the place where:

  • He did not listen to what they said.
  • He did not respond to what they were saying.

People could solve many of the problems in their life if they did not care what OTHERS thought of them.

WE HAVE TO TAKE THAT APPROACH AS CHRISTIANS. WHY? Because God’s Word says, in Romans 12:8, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

It is not always possible, that is why God’s Word says, “If it be possible…”

There are people:

  • Who will walk up and kick us when we are down because they do not want us to get back up.
  • Who have no life of their own, and they are envious of us, and will try to imagine WHAT THEY CAN SAY or WHAT THEY CAN DO to hurt us even more than we are already hurting.

With friends like this, who needs enemies? The best thing you can do with this crowd is to PUT THEM OUT OF YOUR LIVES!

Put them on that list of enemies that you pray for, the enemies that despitefully use you and persecute you. Speak to them, be nice to them, BUT LEAVE THEM ALONE!

We should do all that we can to live peaceably with all men, but there are some we have to wash our hands-off, and LEAVE THEM ALONE WITH THEIR EVIL THOUGHTS, AND LET GOD TAKE CARE OF THEM.

III. HIS DECISION

Look at verse 15, the same Psalm 38. We read, “For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.”

We can not live our life without HOPE. Every day we face things, and the one thing that keeps us going is that WE HAVE HOPE that it is going to get better. We have hope in God.

Here is an excerpt from the book “Marriage Partnership”. Joyce Wright tells about her husband, Norm. She said, “Sometimes Norm can be so positive and enthusiastic about whatever he’s doing, that it’s disconcerting to me. I wonder if he’s walking in the same world I am. Once we were fishing in a mountain lake. We hadn’t caught a thing. Norm had rowed the boat to five or six different spots, looking for the fish to bite. Finally, after about three hours, he got this big grin on his face and said, `Now we can start fishing. We know where the fish aren’t!’ He has a wonderful enthusiasm for life that permeates everything he does.” (Joyce Wright, about her husband, Norm Wright, in Marriage Partnership, Vol. 7, no. 3.)

We have to have a good outlook when it comes to our enemies. For example, sometimes we have to look at some of them and say to ourselves, “I was doing good before I ever met them, and I will be doing good if I live my life as if I never met them.”

In Suffering have Hope in God

David HAD placed his hope that things were going to get better, in them. But he had reached the place that HIS HOPE WAS NOW IN THE LORD! His had hope in God.

Listen, I want to say something that may shock you. There is nobody in our life that we can not live without.

A beautiful example: An interview was done with former President Ronald Reagan. They asked him how he would cope with the situation if Nancy was to die before him. He thought for a few seconds and said, “I do not know how to answer that, because I can not imagine life without Nancy.”

Listen, many folks have lost their lifetime mates, and by the grace of God they got through it! It was the most difficult time of their life. BUT GOD HELPED THEM!

I want to say it again, there is nobody in our life that we, by the grace of God, could not live without. In saying that, let me say this, NONE OF US CAN GET ALONG WITHOUT GOD!

A lot of folks are trying, but they are making a mess of their life. Some can’t live without their pills, some can’t live without their alcohol, some can’t live without their sports or entertainment to get their mind off of the misery of their life.

Listen, the only TRUE HOPE that any of us has is in God. Our family and friends will let us down, BUT GOD WILL NEVER LET US DOWN! All we should have hope in God.

David in his trouble said, “For in thee, O LORD, do I hope…” And we have hope in God and trust only Him!

Conclusion:

God had taught David some valuable lessons in his sufferings. God will teach us these same lessons if we are willing to become Christ-like.

Another sweet story: A mother was preparing pancakes for her two sons, Kevin (5) and Ryan (3). The boys began to argue as to who would get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a spiritual lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, `Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’”

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

God will teach us some valuable lessons from our sufferings if we will let Him.

  1. HIS CONDITION
  2. HIS CONTROL
  3. HIS DECISION

May the Lord bless you and yours this day and forever. And never lose your hope in God.

Related articles: My Faith in God is Fading – Bible never lose Hope and Faith quotes