Sermon March 10, 2007 : Why do I have to suffer?

Posted in Sermons
  • Presenter: Steve Johnson
  • Date: March 10, 2007
  • Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA

It’s very fitting that we talk about living in outside of the areas of comfort, because the thing I want to talk about tonight is actually directly related to that idea: living outside the areas of comfort. And in fact, I even want to take it to a further extreme and living in the areas of discomfort, living in the areas of pain, living in the areas of suffering; to take it that far.

And I want you to think tonight about this idea. Does it ever seem like to you that the world is not supposed to be like this? Do you ever feel like you are in a situation and you say, God it’s not supposed to be like this? This is too hard, it’s not supposed to be this hard. Or, I’m your child, why do I have to go through this? Or maybe just in general, you look at the world and you think: This is not the way God intended it. Well, it’s that very idea, that very sense that the world is not supposed to be like this that I want to address tonight. And I want to talk a little bit about not why the world is like this necessarily, but how should we respond to a world that so many times broadsides us, knocks us flat on our back and then kicks us when we are on the ground. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever experienced something like that?

And just to very quickly say a word about the widow that Elijah was ministering to, it’s in first Kings Chapter 17. You don’t need to turn there but basically this widow agrees to feed Elijah instead of her son, and God pulls through, he brings flour and oil in abundance a never-ending supply of flour and oil. And she thinks, all right, I’m blessed and then, her son dies. She thinks, my son and I are going to die, but because of the prophet we’re going to live and right when she’s all excited about what God’s doing in her life, she still loses her son. It’s like a punch in the stomach. Her air gets knocked out of her. I was sure he was going to live, and then he dies.

And she says to Elijah, what have you against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son? And there’s even reason to believe that another way to interpret that is, Did you come to remind God of my sin and kill my son? Why did you come here and bring God’s eye upon me and have my son die?

But that’s where the really big miracle happens. It’s in that deep pain, in that great zone of discomfort and hardship. That’s where the biggest miracle that she sees comes from. And that’s what I want to talk about a little bit tonight. It’s that idea that at some times we think that we’re in the worst situation and it can actually be a good situation.

So, if you turn with me to Romans, Chapter 8, we’re going to see what Paul, as he speaks by the Holy Spirit has to say about this concept of suffering and how we respond to it and what God’s plan is in it.

So it’s Romans, Chapter 8, we’ll start in verse 18. This is what we read: “….. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved, but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express, and he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the spirit because the spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

You see, the very first thing that Paul says here, he says, I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…. He actually, just earlier in Chapter 8, he’s talked about the suffering that Christ went through, the suffering that he endured on the cross so that we could be brought to glory and ultimately said that he could be brought to glory, which is an interesting idea in itself.

But he’s talking about Christ suffering and how we are actually supposed to live in the sufferings of Christ, that we are actually united with Christ in his sufferings. But he makes an encouraging point: the sufferings we face now are nothing compared to what we’re going to see.

And I think that’s the first perspective that we, as Christians, need to learn is that we what we experience here on this earth is nothing compared to what God has in store for us, the good outweighs the bad, if you will. And I’m not saying that the bad is no longer bad, because there’s more good or anything like that. But that we have a hope that’s greater than the situation that we currently experience.

And if you think about some of the sufferings that you’re enduring, or the sufferings that you have endured in the past, some of them are really hard to deal with. I think about, the first thing that comes into my mind is: my sister was diagnosed with skin cancer and we didn’t really know what the extent of if was. We didn’t know how bad it was going to be and just a few years earlier, my grandmother actually died of cancer.

That was a tough moment for us and we thought: why God, why her, why now, why a mother of a beautiful three-year old girl, why did she had to get cancer? Why my sister? You know, I don’t want to lose my sister, it’s very selfish but a very real thought, why my sister? That should happen to somebody else, not me. And so, just you know that the story turns out actually pretty well, they were able to get those small bits of cancer on her arm out, and so far they have no signs of any recurring problems, and that’s a great thing. And we were relieved to hear that, and we praised God that he protected her from something that could be much worse.

But I know in many of your situations the ending wasn’t so happy. You know, your relative did pass away, or your loved one was gone, or maybe it’s something completely different from losing a loved one. Maybe it’s losing a relationship or maybe it’s always struggling in the same area of your life, over, and over, and over again. Or maybe it’s even milder than that, maybe it’s the thing where every time you finally get your finances in order, something else happens.

Now, I can relate to that. We finally get all the bills paid off and then the car breaks down and it’s 800 dollars. And I’m thinking, God, why now? And then, we finally get that paid off and then something else breaks or something else comes up, or someone has a need. And it really tests you. You know, can I give to this person in need in this moment or how in the world am I going to get through this situation? And your trust is to waiver, but then you remember, ok, this isn’t the end, not only this isn’t the end of the world, by this isn’t the end of eternity. There’s something better out there that all this is going to be worth. It’s going to be worth it to suffer as a Son of God, as a co-sufferer with Christ, to get the reward that’s coming.

And that’s really the first thing that we, as Christians, should learn. It’s that it’s worth it. All the hardship, especially when it’s for the gospel, or for Jesus, when you suffer for the gospel it’s all worth it, because there’s something so much better coming.

But there is also another interesting idea that I want to pull out of this text and the rest of the night I really want to examine that idea. And so, we’re going to go through this and talk about this for a little bit.

But first in verse 19 Paul says, “…..The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed…”

The creation is actually waiting, all the created things, that means us, that means animals, that means the earth itself. Somehow this wood maybe is waiting for us to be revealed as sons of God. I don’t know exactly how that works or what that looks like, but on some God level, it just makes sense that even the earth itself, even the creation itself is not quite right with itself and with God.

And he goes on to say (verse 22): “….the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present time…”

And we see this not last year, but the year before, in a years time span we saw an incredible number of natural disasters, and we saw earthquakes, tsunamis in Asia, Pakistan, India, that killed tens of thousands of people. We saw the hurricane Katrina and then actually another hurricane came right after that. We’ve seen all types of disasters where it’s almost like the earth, if you think about, the way the earth is structured. You’ve got these big plates, these tectonic plates and when they rub against each other they kind of really exemplify that idea of earth is groaning. You know, there’s this rumbling deep in the earth as if it suffers under the way things are, under the pressure of life, so to speak, with again, those tectonic plates and earthquakes and volcanoes, you really see that picture, this pressure that’s on the earth and it grumbles and drawls and groans.

And it happens in so many ways, you know, it’s everything from the climber they get to cut out in a snow storm on a mountain, to us when we have our whole day planned and then the thunderstorm runs our outdoor picnic. You know, it happens in so many ways and again, it’s kind of like this idea that something just shouldn’t be this way.

But it’s fine to me if we kind of go back a little bit, I’m re-tracing here, if we go back and see that “…..the creation was subjected to frustration not by choice but by the will of the one who subjected it……”

And we almost expect God or Paul to say there, it was subjected to frustration not by choice, but because of our sin. But it doesn’t say that, it says it was God’s will, the one who subjected it. It was his will and then we say, why would God do that? But he gives the answer:

“….. in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God…”

There’s some idea out there that God had, that if I subject creation to frustration then there’ll be greater joy in its liberation than if I never did it. Or that he has some purpose in bringing hardship into the world and creation itself that allows for this greater joy to come as they’re reunited with humanity in the glory of God’s redemption.

And if God’s going to do that for the earth, how much more is he going to do it for us? If God is willing to create this pressure and hardship and destruction for his creation, so that they can experience the glory of his redemption, how much more is he going to do that for us?

And I think that’s another part of what we experience in this world, as we experience hardship, as we experience suffering, as we experience the time in and time out feeling like we just get knocked down and then kicked while we’re on the ground, and we don’t know why. But there’s something greater coming. And that’s what he continues to talk about in verse 22:

“….We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit….”

We’ve received our salvation, we’ve experienced the gifts of the spirit, we’ve experienced the power of the spirit, we’ve seen miracles, we’ve seen lives transformed, we’ve seen people’s physical conditions changed through healing, through renewing in the mind, both a renewing of how we think, but also those mind illnesses that people experience of depression. And we see joy coming. We’ve experienced the first fruits of the spirit but even we, who’ve done that, we “…..groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies….”

We don’t yet have the full glory that God intends for us and we just have to wait and groan and yearn for it. But I think that’s really the other side of the equation here, the other reason that we, and the other perspective we should have in suffering. It’s not only that we realize that what’s coming is greater than what we experience now, but we also realize that the hardship that we experience now, actually makes us yearn for even more.

Does anyone in here really want to go to heaven? Does anyone in here think, man, you’re not thinking about taking my life, but when it’s time, when God says, all right, come up here, I’m there. You know, do you want to be there with God? Would you want to be there as badly if life were perfect here? Does that make sense? Would you want to be God so much if this was just ok? You know, I’ve got it pretty good here. Yeah, I don’t have streets of gold like in heaven, but you know, I have enough money for everything I want, my relationships are going good, nothing bad ever happens. I haven’t been sick in who knows how long, and none of my friends or family have been sick. And I never had a bad relationship, if you’re dating, you know, you’ve never had a bad day in your relationship. Your marriage is perfect, you never argue, nothing bad ever happens, would you get down on your knees and say, come, Lord, come. Come quickly! Why? Why would you do that?

God knows that we would yearn for his return if we had it just a little too easy. And hear me out, I’m not saying that God’s out to get you and I’m not saying that we should seek out suffering. We all know there’s enough of it without seeking it out, right? But what I am saying is that when we are in suffering, let’s remember God’s purpose in it. Let’s remember that it’s nothing compared to what’s coming and if it weren’t for this I might not want what’s coming so badly.

And I think that’s a perspective that we don’t have a lot in the church today. We don’t have this concept that suffering serves a purpose in my life. Maybe you’re thinking, this is ludicrous, this is off the wall, I don’t know if I can buy this. You know, this idea that suffering actually produces in me a hope for my salvation. But you know what? If you turn back a few pages, or one page in my Bible, to Romans, chapter 5, he really spells it out for us, in verse 1of chapter 5, he says:

“…. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into his grace, in which we now stand and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God….”

So, there’s this hope in the glory of God because of our salvation. He says, not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us. We would almost be tempted to think that it’s our hope that allows us to make sense of our sufferings. And in a sense, it’s our sufferings that allows us to make sense of our hope. It’s the suffering that produces perseverance and character and hope. It’s not hope that produces perseverance.

Does that make sense? This idea that I think we come with this idea that because we have such strong faith then we can persevere, and the Holy Spirit is saying to us through this text that it’s because you suffer that you learn to persevere and that’s what gives you the hope. And of course, it is a cycle, the hope then does allow you to persevere with more strength and it does help you, enable to build a stronger character. But that character, if we look at this passage, that character has to come first.

And we see it in another place as well, in Hebrews, chapter 12. The author of Hebrews says, “… we have not yet….” I better turn there so that I don’t misquote. Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 4:

“… in our struggle against sin you’ve not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood…”

It’s talking about persecution there very specifically, you haven’t yet shed blood because of the sins of others who are persecuting you for the sake of Jesus Christ.

“……You have never resisted to the point of shedding your blood and you have forgotten the word of encouragement that addresses to you as sons,…..” and he talks about how my son should not regard lightly of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines us he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his sons.

And somehow this suffering, this hardship can be used by God as discipline. Now, discipline doesn’t just mean to punish, an athlete needs discipline, a great musician has discipline, a great executive of company has discipline. It means to be trained. So, God trains us even through sufferings, are you sure Stephen? Well, next verse:

“…. Endure hardship as discipline….”

When you experience hardship you’re experiencing the discipline of God, because God is treating you as sons, for what son is not disciplined by his father. If you’re not disciplined, and everyone is disciplined, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have human fathers who discipline us and we respect them for it. Again, not so much just bearing punishment, but actually we’ve all had fathers who have trained us, who have taught us, who have encouraged us to discipline, and we respect them for it.

How much more should we submit to the father of our spirits, and live? And one of the greatest verses follows, verse 11, “… no discipline seems present at this time, but painful.”

Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. So, you see, it’s a very common thing in the scripture. James talks about it, Peter talks about it, Paul talks about it, the author of Hebrews talks about it, Jesus even talks about it. This idea that when we endure hardship that it creates in us a hope for the future, it creates in us perseverance, character, righteousness.

But I want to go back to Romans and see how this is played out in the rest of this passage. So, if we come with this idea that, first of all, our present sufferings are nothing compared to our future glory, so it’s something much better is coming. And then we have this understanding that the suffering actually produces in us a hope, a yearning, a desire to be with the Lord, to see things made right. This world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, but it’s going to be the way it’s supposed to be at some point in the future. God is going to restore and redeem everything.

So, then what is the last thing that he talks about? In verse 26 of chapter 8, he says: “… in the same way the spirit helps us in our weakness…”

How does he do that? We do not know, we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. You may notice that this passage talks about creation groaning, it talks about us groaning, it talks about the spirit groaning. Those groans are not all that different, just different parties that are groaning. The spirit groans too because God is saying ‘hey, guys, I know it’s not supposed to be like this, but you have something so much better coming and just…. Yearn for it, groan for it, seek after it because it’s coming and it’s going to be worth it, it’s going to be great.

It says that we don’t know we ought to pray for but the spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And I just want to take a second to talk about this, this verse because I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it, and I don’t want to take away anything from what anyone else has said, but I want to make a point about it.

First of all, people say, you know, when I don’t know what to pray for, God gives me wisdom on what to pray for. That’s so true. The spirit of God does give us wisdom when we don’t know what to pray for. But I don’t think that that’s what we’re talking about right here. And people say, when I don’t know what to pray for I pray about the spirit and the gift of tongues. That’s so true. God uses the Holy Spirit to enable certain people who have the gifts of tongues to pray in tongues and in Corinthians 14 it talks about how we can pray with our mind, but we can also pray with our spirit and it’s referring to the gifts of tongues. And that’s a great thing.

But you know, I don’t think that that’s what’s going on right here, and I’ll show you why. It says not that the spirit allows us to pray but that he prays for us, he intercedes for us. He’s not giving us a thought of what we should pray for so that we pray correctly, and he’s not even speaking through us in the gift of tongues. He’s praying, we’re not praying. We don’t know what to pray for. He’s praying.

And the other thing is that it says that he prays with groans that words cannot express. Just very quickly, the word that is translated ‘words cannot express’, it actually just means ‘non words’, he groans in non words, that’s basically what it means there. The spirit groans in non words. He’s not even praying in words. But what I think is going on here is that the spirit, as he connects with God, because it says that he is in accordance with God’s will later in that verse, as the spirit of God connects with God and also connects with our spirits, that he groans for us, on our behalf because we’re praying the wrong thing. And so he prays the right thing for us.

And you might ask what is the wrong thing that we’re praying? Well if we look at this passage, probably the first thing that comes to my mind that we’re probably praying the wrong thing for, is that we’re probably praying the wrong thing in relation to our sufferings. If we look at this in the context of the passage, it’s about our sufferings, you know, things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be and we’re probably praying with an improper perspective about our sufferings.

We might be praying, ‘Lord, get me out of this suffering’, and the Holy Spirit is saying, Oh, you’ve got to stay in there so that you learn perseverance and character and hope. And we say, ‘Lord, why am I experiencing another hardship?’; and he’s saying, ‘Because you have to grow, you haven’t learned your lesson yet. You’ve got to stay in there a little longer.’

We say, ‘Lord, take my friend out of this situation’, and he’s saying, ‘I can’t do it yet, because he’s still has to take something out of it’. He’s groaning on our behalf because we’re praying the wrong prayer. Now, there are plenty of other times when we probably pray the wrong thing and this idea that God will pray on our behalf is very true. But right here, what we’re talking about is in relation to suffering.

Now, ideally, I guess, we should at least have a better understanding that we should pray or that we should know what to pray for. Now, we can still to get our suffering, don’t get me wrong, because God does not intend for us to stay there forever. We can still pray to get out of a difficult situation because God does not intend for us to live in a difficult situation for the rest of our lives. God intends for you to see healing. God intends for you to see restoration in your relationships, in your home. God intends for you to have financially… to get out of that whole you’re in. He intends to see those good things happen in your life, but maybe we’re trying a little too early to get out.

And as we strive to get out of a difficult situation we sometimes miss the point of what we can get from it. We miss the lesson that’s in it and I remember telling my wife Sonia, about that time that you know, we paid it off, the car, and actually she has a car and I have car. We paid it off the truck and then the car broke down and that repair was about four times what the truck was and I was just trying to figure out how to pay for the truck. And then this one comes. And then, I just paid that off and then something else came, and I thought: ‘Honey, if we don’t learn a lesson quick, we’re never going to have any money. Whatever God’s trying to teach us, we got to learn it quick because otherwise our car is going to keep breaking down and something in the house is going to keep breaking and I’m going to lose something I have to buy again. So, whatever it is, let’s figure it out.’

And it was probably me, because I’m very stubborn. But I think, you know, maybe if I were just to learn the lesson, then this particular string of suffering or particular string of hardships might stop. I don’t know, but I think the point there is valid; that sometimes we are just so concerned with getting out of a hard situation that we don’t realize that God has a purpose for that hard situation, that he has a reason for that hard situation.

And that’s what this passage is all about. Paul is saying, you know what? We’re going to unite ourselves with Christ and his sufferings if our Master suffered, we’re going to suffer. But here’s the good news: it’s going to be so much better at the end and because of the suffering you’re actually going to grow more than you ever thought. I don’t know if you’ve ever gone through a really tough season and then when you came out of it you realized, oh, my goodness, I’m a different person. I’m not the same person I was six months ago or a year ago and I grew more in this last six months than I’ve grown in any other six month period that I can remember, that it was the toughest six month period I’ve ever experienced in my life. Have you ever experienced something like that? Have you ever seen that when life is always kicking you when you’re down, that you get stronger, you can take the blows a little easier the next time.

Part of it is just a natural way that God has created us that in a sense what doesn’t kill us make us stronger. But part of it is that spiritual reality that for the children of God, he uses difficult situations to form you into the image of his Son Jesus Christ, and he uses the hard times that come to chip away the things that don’t need to be there anymore. And he uses it to increase your hope for the glory that’s coming. And that’s the message that Paul has.

And just to top it off, a verse that we’re all very familiar with in the very next section, verse 28, he says, “….. and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who’ve been called according to his purpose…”

That really tops it all. It says, and you know it’s true, you know God is going to work this out for your good. And sometimes we try to think, well what’s the good of this situation where these people died. I don’t know, but I guarantee you that God’s going to work it to good. And I guarantee you that the people who go through that difficult situation are going to come out stronger on the other side if they are sons of God and if they are submitting to the spirit of God in that situation.

And so there is also a little warning in there, if, if you’re a son of God, if you submit to the spirit of God in that situation, because really we can go through very difficult situations and just refuse to learn our lesson, and refuse to recognize what God’s doing, and refuse to accept that hardship as discipline. We just simply refuse and I think what God does, he keeps you there, and keeps you there, and keeps you there until he wears you down, until something kind of breaks. And then we do, we each have to be broken to experience that which God has for us in those difficult situations.

So I do say again, I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who’ve been called according to his purpose.

So the next time you’re in suffering keep that perspective, keep that perspective that things are going to be better in the end and it’s worth it. And keep that perspective that God is going to use this to build me up, I’m going to grow through this, I’m going to experience God’s blessing. He’s going to turn it all to good somehow and I don’t have to know how, and that’s the final thing.

You don’t have to know how. You just have to believe. You just have to trust that God’s going to do it. If you look at the different situations in your life, you still may know why you had to go through those, you still may now know what lesson you learned and you still may not know what result of that did God turn to good. But that’s ok, he doesn’t promise that we will. But still it’s that perspective that we need to have, that we need to pray, ‘Lord, when you’re ready for me to get out of this suffering, when you’re ready for me for this hardship to end, by your grace let it end, Lord. Until then, keep me here because I probably need it. I know I need it.’

And that’s the perspective that we should have. If you would bow your heads, I want to pray for us in regards to this that we would have that perspective and live by it.

Father, I do pray, Lord, that we would be changed in our thinking, Lord, and that as we change in our thinking that we could submit to this hardship, Lord, as your discipline. Lord, that we would understand that when we face difficult situations that first of all, Father, that there is no reason that we have to be out of it right now because some idea that you don’t want us to be there, that sometimes you actually want us to be there and experience it for our own good.

And, Lord, there is no reason that we can’t allow that situation to point us towards the glory that awaits us, Lord. The redemption of our bodies, the redemption of the earth, the redemption of the creation, a time when we will no longer experience these hardships, when we’ll no longer see people die from natural disasters, will no longer see relationships broken apart. Father, we’ll no longer see mothers and children separated, evil of others tearing apart the lives of the weak, of those who are not protected, because, Father, there is going to come a time when everything will be as it should be, where the world will be the way the world is supposed to be, the way you intended it to be.

Father, I pray that each of us here with that perspective can approach the hardships in life with a grounded hope, Lord, with a grounded understanding that you can use it for our good. Father, teach us how to pray and Father, when we pray the wrong thing please by your spirit pray for the right thing.

Let us always seek to be where you want us to be, on the path that you want us to be on. I do pray a blessing on each person here, Father, that you would keep the suffering, keep the hardship to a time frame, Lord, your time frame, that if anyone is experiencing any of the difficulties we talked about or any other difficulty in their life, Lord, that they would grow from it but that they would also be redeemed, Lord, they would also be renewed, that they would be restored from that hardship, that you will create in their life an abundance where there was nothing. As the book of Joel says, where there was just dust and no plants, and no trees or flowers, Lord, that the vines would grow again and the wine would be held in abundance, that the weed would grow up, that the trees would grow up, there would be an abundance of fruit, an abundance of food.

Lord, in the same way where relationships have been broken, Lord, bring beautiful relationships to replace them or renew those relationships better than they ever were before. Father, when loved ones are gone, Father, we pray that there would be an increased togetherness as a family because of that, that there would be a greater sense of cherishing those that we have still with us.

Lord, I pray that even when we have sinned and brought hardship on ourselves that you would bring to us a sense of a need for change in our life, and Father also, that you would just bring the fullness of life where there was once only a glimmer or just a shadow of what life can be.

Father, if any of us needs to be reprimanded, Lord, and even, and this optional because I can’t pray this for you, but if you’re actually willing to pray, Lord, I accept the hardship that can come so that I can growth in my life. I accept the hard road that lays ahead of me in order for me to overcome the sin, in order for me to overcome this consistent improper attitude in my life.

Lord, I welcome your discipline. Lord, I welcome you carving away the parts that you don’t like, even if that knife, that carving knife is going to hurt. Father, like clay before a potter I accept you taking away those parts of my life that don’t look like the in product you have in mind for my life.

Father, if I have features that don’t match the features of your Son, Jesus Christ, take them away, even though it will hurt. So I encourage you to be willing to pray that prayer because I can’t pray it for you and many of you in this room have prayed that prayer, Lord, whatever it takes, whatever it takes, this in my life has to change. I have to be altered. I have to be given man handle a little bit, for your glory, no matter how much it hurts, Lord, I take it.

Father, we pray these things in your precious son Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.


Sermon delivered by Steve Johnson taped March 10, 2007 at Congregation Lion of Judah Listen | View (100K) | View (400K)

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